Ben Cooper, senior national account manager for wholesale, Swizzels

Paul Hill talks to Ben Cooper, Swizzels senior national account manager for wholesale, hearing about the confectionery manufacturer’s plans for the wholesale channel

Fast fact

Drumstick Squashies Original 145g bag is the bestselling PMP in UK sugar confectionery*

*According to IRI Total Marketplace

How has Swizzels helped wholesalers grow sales in the past 12 months?

With the help of category data, we’ve educated wholesalers on the importance of sugar confectionery for the convenience sector to help increase their sales. Sugar confectionery over-indexes in convenience stores, accounting for 30% of total confectionery. This is 50% more than larger store formats.

Additionally, we have highlighted the strength of our pocket money lines within CTNs, an area we have expanded with the launch of our 10p Drumstick Chew Bar in bubblegum flavour, which appeals to younger buyers.

Our full 10p Chew Bar range is extremely popular – 44 million bars are sold per year – and are now vegetarian and vegan-friendly, to cater for this growing market.

What is the greatest challenge that the wholesale industry faces?

While NPD remains important for FMCG, driving new listings at the expense of core products can lead to excessive range creep. To combat this, our Super 6 ranges by product category ensure the focus on core lines is observed.

What trends and opportunities are emerging that customers can take advantage of?

Summer is a time when consumers switch from chocolate into sugar confectionery – as
2018 proved. With 76% of consumers stating they buy sweets for long car journeys or family outings, Swizzels is owning summer 2019 with the launch of its ‘Fun in the sun’ campaign.

The campaign will run between June and September, when wholesalers will have the opportunity to entice their retailers to enter a text-to-win prize draw for an all-inclusive holiday.

What is the company’s greatest achievement in the past year?

Following the huge success of the Squashies brand – the fastest-growing and third-largest sugar confectionery brand in the UK – it would have to be the launch of our ‘on the go’ 50p (three for £1) Squashies bags. This was our first on-pack price promotion, which delivered strong POR for retailers.

What would you like to see happen in wholesale in the next 12 months?

Sugar confectionery has a much bigger role to play at Halloween and Christmas within convenience stores. Mirroring the success seen within larger store formats, wholesalers need to encourage convenience stores to offer variety bags and tubs to capitalise on both the trick-or-treat and party occasions at Halloween, as well as family sharing and gifting occasions at Christmas.

Are you planning any activity that wholesalers should be aware of?

Our ‘Fun in the sun’ campaign will focus on our key £1 sharing bag ranges including Squashies, Choos and Loadsa variety bags.

This will also be supported by a ‘Snap your summer’ social media campaign. This will ensure Swizzels is at the front of shoppers’ minds throughout the summer.

What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales in the sugar confectionery category?

Ensure the correct shelf space is given to the sugar confectionery category and core products within it, and use the strong promotional calendar Swizzels offers to drive sales through off-shelf displays with clear pricing.

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Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via and 07960935659.


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