Stacks of NPD to keep shoppers sweet

Cadbury Darkmilk Giant Buttons and Cadbury Darkmilk with Crunchy Cocoa Pieces

The confectionery category continues to grow, as all the big players try to outdo each other with a raft of newly released products and supporting promotional activity. So where should retailers start?


The general trend may to be towards ever healthier eating, but UK shoppers still enjoy a little treat now and then with sales of confectionery increasing by 4.5% in the past 12 months. It’s a category that has remained as exciting and relevant as ever, thanks in large part to the efforts of the major manufacturers who have continued to innovate and drive a category that is nothing short of vital in all Scottish local retailing outlets.

But with so many options on the market, where should retailers be focusing their attentions, and their precious shelf space? Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International, says one area definitely worth dedicating some time and attention to is the tablet segment.

She explains: “Led by the best-selling Mondelez SKUs, the tablet segment is growing by a significant 6.3% [Nielsen, Feb 20], highlighting the shopper demand for this format.” This growth is in part down to innovative new reduced-sugar products that deliver all the great taste and quality of the treats shoppers love, but with less sugar.

“The nation’s number one chocolate brand has introduced a reduced sugar variant to its much-loved range,” says Nash. “Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% Less Sugar. Over a third of consumers are actively cutting down their sugar consumption. This latest innovation from Cadbury Dairy Milk will allow retailers to tap into this clear demand with a category-leading brand. Available in an 85g tablet and 35g single bar, Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% Less Sugar contains no artificial sweeteners.”

Embracing the dark side

Additionally, research has identified that – as shoppers go through different life-stages – their taste buds change; some consumers who don’t like the taste of dark chocolate are nevertheless increasingly looking for a richer tasting chocolate with a higher cocoa content.

“Cadbury Darkmilk, the richest and creamiest bar Cadbury has ever made, was launched to meet this consumer demand,” says Nash. “Made with 40% cocoa, this new tablet is like no other with both a unique taste and texture, providing a delicious hit of cocoa combined with a creamy and smooth taste.” The range launched with two variants – Cadbury Darkmilk Original and Cadbury Darkmilk Almond. Last year another variant joined the range – Cadbury Darkmilk Salted Caramel – plus a new single 35g bar that is also available in a PMP format.

Also worth keeping an eye on is the sharing format segment and last month’s launch of two new Cadbury Darkmilk products this year will help retailers cash in on this profitable area. Cadbury Darkmilk with Crunchy Cocoa Pieces combines rich and creamy Cadbury Darkmilk with crunchy cocoa nibs for added texture and an intense cocoa hit. Available in an 85g tablet, the new bar aims to tap into the key Darkmilk occasion where shoppers are looking to unwind in the evening.

Button it

Then, launching this month, is Cadbury Darkmilk Giant Buttons, combining the taste of Darkmilk with a proven sharing format.

Bournville also moved into sharing bags for the first time last year with the launch of Bournville Giant Buttons. The Bournville brand is worth £19.6m and has seen value growth of 42.4% year-on-year. This growth is set to be enhanced with the return of Cadbury Bournville Old Jamaica this year, the dark chocolate rum and raisin bar.

Sharing bags of confectionery are also an important part of a retailer’s range. Maynards Bassetts, one of the UK’s favourite confectionery brands since 1842, has tweaked its Wine Gums recipe to offer a new 30% Less Sugar variant. The new less-sugar Maynards Bassetts Wine Gums – just like the rest of the core range – is made with natural colours. With approximately 19g less sugar per 100g, the new recipe allows consumers to enjoy a less-sugar treat from the classic Wine Gums brand.

The brand also announced its first ever sour Soft Jelly product – Soft Jellies Fizzy Fish – to help retailers drive sales from sharing bags within sugar confectionery. The product is the second in the range of the Soft Jellies of the brand, after Soft Jellies Wild Safari was launched in 2018. Each bag contains a selection of flavours for sharing, including consumer favourites orange, strawberry, blackcurrant and lime – all made with natural colours and flavours.

These lines help retailers capitalise on the growth of the fruity confectionery category, which is also experiencing success, growing by 3.7% to £922m.

Victoria Gell, Fruity Confections Portfolio Director at Mars Wrigley, comments: “Over the past 12 months, Mars Wrigley has seen fruity confectionery sales grow by 20.5%. For us, the category’s success is driven by innovation, while volumes are still driven by its bestselling core range. Exciting innovation such as Skittles Chewies are landing well with new shoppers but also exciting existing shoppers, encouraging them to return to the category, which in turn is driving sales of our core range.”

Top tips for retailers

Confectionery is one of biggest food and drink categories in convenience and the category is the most impulsive, so availability and display are critical. Mondelez International advises retailers to follow the basics below to maximise sales in the category all year round:

  • Focus on the bestselling lines
  • Have a range that covers all need states: self-eat, sharing and gifting confectionery
  • Use manufacturers’ point of sale material where available
  • Make the most of brand investment – have displays ahead of advertising or media investment
  • Don’t forget the basics; keep displays fully stocked and tidy
  • Consider a specific Big Night In cross-category display
  • For more information, visit deliciousdisplay.co.uk

Bowled over

Mars Wrigley’s biggest fruity confectionery brand, Skittles, remains popular with value sales up by 17.6%. Skittles Chewies launched in the second half of 2018; by removing the outer shell Mars Wrigley introduced consumers to a softer texture, which has proved a big hit.

Swizzels, the UK’s fastest growing large sugar confectionery manufacturer and the largest independent family-owned sugar confectionery business in the UK, continues to perform well with sales up +14% over the last 2 years [IRI, Dec 2019].

Mark Walker, Sales Director at Swizzels, says: ‘‘Developing a confectionery offering that provides both value-for-money products as well as breadth of choice is key for retailers looking to maximise their sales opportunities within the category. Swizzels offers a range of sugar confectionery which caters to growing consumer trends as well as changing dietary needs.”

Squashies continues to be a big success story for the business and is now the number one hanging bag brand in sugar confectionery, making it the most successful NPD launch in over 10 years [IRI, Dec 2019], says Walker.

Swizzels will extend its range in 2020 with a major launch in this format. It will be also be making a comeback to TV in summer 2020 as part of a major brand campaign to support the launch.

Big night wins

Perfect for the big night in occasion, Drumstick and Refresher Choos were developed to satisfy growing demand for softer sugar confectionery products which has seen the soft fruits segment grow above market rate in the last 52 weeks. The recipe was purposefully developed to ensure it is suitable for vegans. Drumstick Choos provides five double flavour combinations including Peaches & Cream and Strawberry & Banana, while Refreshers Choos offer five fizzy flavours with a unique sherbet centre, including Pineapple and Apple. Choos comes in £1 PMPs, making the product attractive to shoppers seeking a value-for-money Big Night In treat.

To help communicate its range of share bags to shoppers, Swizzels has launched its own Big Night In campaign running until April. The campaign will include promotional pricing, feature displays and a competition allowing retailers to win TVs and movie streaming vouchers if they buy three cases and upload their receipt to the Swizzels website.

Another big trend that retailers need to ensure they are catering for is the rise of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly sugar confectionery. With demand growing for more choice in the category, Swizzels has adapted many of its products to be suitable for vegetarians and vegans, easily identifiable with a clear vegan-friendly flash on packs. The range features Swizzels’ best-selling brands including Choos, Drumstick and Refresher chew bars, stick packs, Parma Violets and Love Hearts.

Swizzels’ newest addition to the range is a 10p Rhubarb and Custard Drumstick chew bar. Drawing on the resurgence of retro flavours, this new chew is sure to be a hit with shoppers seeking variety within the category and is a demonstration of Swizzels’ commitment to the 10p price point at a time when many manufacturers are moving away from this.

Silver anniversary

Celebrating 25 years of Starmix, Haribo has unveiled its largest ever on-pack promotion, which will give shoppers the opportunity to win a host of prizes every single hour for six months.

Running until July, prizes – including Xbox games consoles, activity tickets and board games – will be up for grabs, delivering countless moments of childlike happiness for shoppers throughout the UK.

One lucky winner will also secure the ‘grand prize’, a 10-night stay in Florida, the ultimate playground.

Featuring on share size bags of Starmix, Tangfastics and Supermix, an on-pack flash will invite consumers to take part. Shoppers have until July to win.

Following the nationwide success of Maltesers Buttons, Mars Wrigley UK has announced it will be introducing the UK’s first ever flavoured Maltesers, Mint Maltesers Buttons.

Mint flavour products have rapidly grown +34% over the past 12 months and so through coupling this popular flavour with the fast-growing Mars Wrigley UK brand, the delicious new bitesize treat aims to drive new consumers to the segment.

Mint Maltesers Buttons launch this month and will be available in a range of formats: Single, 32g (RSP 66p); Treat Bag, 68g (RSP £1.19); Treat Bag Extra Free, 85g (RSP £1.19); and Pouch, 102g (RSP £2.09).

The launch will be backed by a £600,000 advertising campaign.