With shifting consumer shopping patterns and increasingly health-conscious shoppers, staying on top of the confectionery category can be a tricky business. SLR is here to help.
by Iain Hoey
The in-store customer magnet that is the confectionery aisle is undeniably evolving in the face of an increasing trend towards healthier living, with Kantar research indicating that 92% of consumers are actively trying to reduce their sugar intake. This may mean size reduction and recipe reformulation for many shelf staples, but the brands are all doing their utmost to make sure sales in the category stays strong.
“Confectionery is the number one snack and the most impulsive category available to convenience stores,” says Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International. “This scale and impulsivity means that confectionery is a critically important category in your store and if its potential is fully maximised, it can play a huge role in driving incremental sales.”
First and foremost, retailers should focus on getting the main confectionery display merchandised neatly with strong availability of core lines. Multi-facing and multi-siting key lines can help entice shoppers into making impulse purchases, especially when in prime locations such as at eye level placement, alongside savoury snacks, and using all available POS such as dumpbins and counter units.
New products are always frontrunners in the category and retailers should take advantage of available POS to drive awareness of the latest innovations. A popular confectionery trend is blending, which is the combining of brand favourites to create exciting new tastes and textures. Cadbury has returned consumer attention to its tablets range with the launch of two new Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo variants: Mint and Peanut Butter (RRP £1.49). Each flavour is added to the creamy, Oreo-filled centre and covered in Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate.
“Some consumers are looking for excitement. Tempting innovations that delight them are key to driving sales,” says Nash. “The most exciting new products in confectionery have been all about blowing apart category boundaries and bringing together different flavours, textures and brands, which drive new consumers to the category.”
According to him! research, more than two thirds of shoppers buy PMPs in convenience stores, seeing the on pack flash as an indication of good value, with half of shoppers saying they feel reassured that they are not being overcharged.
The Big Yellow Bag has recently given its recognisable hanging bags a fresh new look. The PMP £1 yellow packaging has a refreshed logo and film as well as new additions to its extensive range of more than 65 varieties, including chocolate eclairs, crystallised pear drops and chocolate dipped fudge.
Following the successful launch in 2015 of £1 PMP hanging bags, in summer 2016 Wrigley launched a new range of 49p PMP across its best-selling Skittles (55g) and Starburst (45g) singles formats. The PMP’s are designed to help retailers in the convenience channel drive confectionery sales by offering consumers top performing sugar confectionery brands at an attractive price.
A special occasion
With Christmas and Valentines having just passed, and with Red Nose Day this month and Easter just around the corner, excitement-driving events are seemingly always on the horizon, and so making sure popular seasonal offerings are well stocked is imperative for creating excitement in c-stores.
Following a successful 2016 Easter season, which saw Cadbury Creme Egg (RRP 58p) achieve a 5.1% uplift in sales of the gooey favourite, the chocolate egg continues to prove itself a confectionery must stock. Their popularity combined with their small size and seasonal availability make them the perfect fit for POS placement to encourage impulse buying.
And it’s not just all about chocolate when it comes to Easter confectionery, according to Claire Caley, Seasonal Brand Manager at Haribo UK, urging retailers to create a wide offering for the occasion. “Sweets also have an important role to play, adding much-needed variety into the seasonal aisle through pack sizes, flavours, textures and fun,” she says. “With sales of total Easter confectionery worth over £338m, the seasonal aisle is a key destination for shoppers.”
Promoting old classics as much as new flavours keeps confectionery sales ticking over, with Mars hoping to see a spike in conjunction to its Malteasers on pack Red Nose Day promotion. The brand is calling for the nation’s support to raise £1m this Red Nose Day (March 24) as it launches its new campaign, which encourages consumers to #bakeamillion for Comic Relief. Mars Chocolate’s range of Malteasers singles and pouches, and Malteasers Teasers single bars are all flashed with “You Bake, We Donate £1million”.
Data from IRI market research values the UK confectionery market at worth over £5.5bn. Whilst the supermarkets are openly shunning sugary snacks at POS in favour of healthier options such as fruit and nut mixes, c-stores continue their quiet rebellion against the media’s demonization of sugar. And as little-and-often shopping rises, many shoppers are increasing the frequency of their top-up shop, in turn creating more opportunities to target the impulse buyer.
In the face of reduced bar sizes and price hiking, new healthier, reduced sugar and sugar free options are springing up from many major brands, including sugar free Trebor Mighties, and Fruittella 30% Less Sugar. The latter, which is available in strawberry and summer fruits variants, saw positive response to during testing with consumers saying they taste just as great but make them feel a little bit better about indulging.
“Keeping up with latest knowledge and understanding on how the shopper shops and what the consumer is looking for is important if retailers are to make the very most of the opportunities the confectionery category can create,” Nash concludes. “There are also fundamental merchandising principles that retailers are advised to follow, such as stocking the bestsellers, keeping shelves fully stocked, and pricing products clearly. Success is about making confectionery easy to shop in your store.”