Get in with the big night in crowd

by Kevin Scott


The change in the dynamics of convenience shopping which has seen many suppliers base their ranging and merchandising advice around ‘mission’ shopping as opposed to ‘category’ shopping has been led by the emergence of the Big Night In category – which has given retailers a huge boost over the last few years.

The idea is that customers do not visit the shop purely to buy a bag of sharing crisps, but visit with the intention of picking up items across many categories for the single purpose of having the right array of drinks and snacks for an evening in with friends or family.

The Big Night In opportunity has taken off in a big way in convenience, and suppliers are queuing up to take advantage. One company which has been at the forefront of this is Mars – whose sharing bag range is among the most popular items for such an occasion.

At present, almost 15% of UK households are turning to in-home leisure and 70% of chocolate is consumed when we’re with others. For Mars, which holds 48% of the £520m bitesize category, this is great news. “The Big Night In trend is a great opportunity for retailers to capitalise on the impulsive nature and sharing attitude people have towards the confectionery category. Mars’ latest promotion, Sweet Sundays, will be rewarding customers with a free Sunday cinema ticket,” says Bep Dhaliwal, Trade Communications Manager, Mars.

The sweet Sunday’s movie tie-in offers consumers the chance to claim a free cinema ticket, redeemable with the purchase of four special pouch packs across Mars’ bestselling Bitesize portfolio. Consumers can claim their free cinema ticket by collecting the unique code from inside any four promotional pouches and registering them at
Dhaliwal adds: “Store space is often limited for independent retailers, making it vital that every fixture and fitting drives return. Once the main display has been optimised and is driving sales in-store, retailers should look to implementing secondary confectionery sites throughout to drive those impulse sales. This is another great way of driving promotional activity and maximising the sales potential of the store as a whole.”

Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Kraft Foods, agrees, saying: “Sharing bags perform well because they attract a variety of different shoppers and our range of Cadbury branded bags has something to suit an array of different tastes. The introduction of Cadbury Caramel Nibbles and Cadbury Crunchie Rocks brought different consumers to the brand and increased total bitesize penetration . The recent launches of Twirl Bites and Bitsa Wispa have increased this consumer appetite further and we expect sharing bags to be every bit as important to the success of the chocolate category next year as it has been to date.

Last month Kraft Foods added a new savoury twist to its sharing bag offering, combining pretzels with Cadbury milk chocolate, the nation’s favourite chocolate brand. “The new addition, will help to champion snacking products for the whole family and fulfil a growing consumer demand for bitesize and sharing offerings,” says Nash.
Soft drinks plays another hugely important part of the Big Night In mix, and to aid retailers, Coca-Cola Enterprises has extended its range of ongoing price marked packs for independent retailers across future consumption packs. Alan Halliday, Field Sales Director at Coca-Cola Enterprises Scotland, says: “PMPs offer great sales opportunities for retailers. Research shows that 98% of shoppers want PMPs, but only 78% of retailers stock them. Shoppers perceive them as a special offer and this contributes to overall positive price and value perception, resulting in improved rate of sale with the added benefit of driving footfall in store for retailers. Of all categories, soft drinks is where retailers want PMPS available, to stock in chillers and on shelf, as they clearly drive purchase, with consumers 44% more likely to buy a soft drink on impulse if it is a PMP. In addition 53% of shoppers are more likely to trial a new product if it is a PMP.”

CCE lists a number of its sharing products as essential for the Big Night In occasion, with Halliday pointing out that soft drinks are present at evening meals in one third of all households and 90% of Coca-Cola consumed in the home is with food. The company recommends merchandising soft drinks with snacks and confectionery as well as fast foods such as pizzas for the perfect package.

Hot snacks are another popular option for nights in on the soda, so to increase sales Kepak advises maintaining best-selling products in stock. In the case of hot snacking retailers should ensure they have Kepak’s “must-stock” lines constantly available: i.e. Rustlers Quarter Pounder, Rustlers Chicken Sandwich and Rustlers BBQ Rib.

[next_message styles=”2″ title=”Big Night In tips“]
  • Site Bitesize confectionery alongside large bag savoury snacks, soft drinks and the wine and beer fridge to create in-store theatre and unlock greater basket spend
  • Stock up on NPD and optimise displays with colourful POS provided by manufacturers – helping the launch to stand out and attract new buyers
  • Take advantage of on-pack promos
  • Remember: evening shoppers will be the most inclined to purchase Big Night In products
  • Identify what mission your shopper is on: Do you have the right range to meet their needs? Is the format/pack they’re looking for in the right location? How else can you capture their attention in-store and encourage them to trade up?

Banking on beer
According to Heineken, beer and cider have the potential to do very well out of this Big Night In trend. Recent Heineken research reveals that the number one purchase occasion within convenience for beer and cider is a planned get-together with mates. This is closely followed by males shopping for beer and cider for a quiet night in, perhaps to accompany a meal or to drink whilst watching a football match.
However, it’s key that any retailer looking to make the most of the Big Nights In trend has the basic principles of the range, category and merchandising nailed first before venturing into extravagant displays in store.

[next_message styles=”4″ title=”Millar drops back on shelf“] Fans of the Millar brand of confectionery may not have noticed much more than a subtle packaging refresh, but there have been big changes behind the scenes. The brand was recently purchased by Livingston-based confectionery and snack producer, Nisha Enterprises, who have re-launched an initial range of nine lines with new packaging and an updated logo.
As well as Pan Drops and Mint Imperials, the range includes Chocolate Eclairs, Vanilla Fudge, Chocolate Limes, Lemon Bon Bons and Strawberry Bon Bons. A number of brand extensions are already being planned for launch before the end of the year.
Nisha Enterprise’s Managing Director, Sunny Pahuja, said: “We’ve been fielding enquiries from all sectors of the trade since we purchased the brand last November, with everyone keen to find out when the range would be available again. We are absolutely delighted.”


44% percentage of customers more likely to buy a soft drink if it is a PMP

55% percentage of shoppers more likely to try a new product if it is a PMP

Countdown to Christmas week one

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