Hot chocolate!

The continuing growth of the chocolate category shows that affordable treats can offer retailers stability in an unpredictable market – providing they apply sound category management principles and push new products.

by Kevin Scott

No matter what state the economy is in, the overwhelming majority of consumers are still in a position where a bar of chocolate is seen as an affordable treat. The fact that sales of chocolate bars are up 4.2% is testament to that. Bitesize confectionery is growing even quicker – up 7.7%, thanks to the increasing demand of Big Night In mission shoppers The chocolate market therefore continues to be one of the most important categories for retailers.

According to Mars, retailers should constantly look for ways to excite consumers with new products and formats to help ensure this growth continues, for example stocking Maltesers Teasers, introduced in March 2013, which the company is confident will attract new buyers to the brand.

Dual siting is key to success in chocolate sales and by implementing secondary displays in high footfall areas of the store to increase the sales potential of the whole store. Mars says it is on hand to offer continued support and advice to retailers as well as in-store display materials.

Over at Cadbury and the message is all about making the most of the Big Night In. Evenings are a key confectionery occasion, says the company, with 53% of confectionery consumption taking place at home in the evening and 67% of shared evening treats with a partner.

There are two distinct types of evening missions: the Big Night In, and less planned or informal occasions. Families account for the largest number of Big Nights In, with 1.3bn occasions, while adult gatherings are lower in number but growing at +6.5%. The more informal opportunities are made up of couples with 1.8bn occasions and individuals with 1.3bn occasions.
Ferrero’s Customer Development Director Levi Boorer says: “Our latest research shows that there is a real opportunity for premium chocolate beyond gifting, as consumers are now seeing special treats for informal nights in. With consumers dining in more often, and open plan kitchens becoming increasingly popular for entertaining, the ‘new special’ is emerging. This is about taste, appeal and sharing as consumers create precious but relaxed moments.”

Top Choc Tips

  • Select the right range – within the confectionery category, the top 75 lines generate 85% of sales so it is crucial to get the main display right, especially when space is at a premium
  • Locate bestsellers in the best sites – helps to grow the whole category
  • Multi-face the bestsellers – ensure the main display provides the best return, doubling up on popular ranges and delisting poor performers, drives strong availability at all times
  • Group lines by product category – helps retailers to boost sales by appealing directly to the way that we know consumers shop
  • Site confectionery in areas of high traffic flow – appeals to the impulsiveness of shoppers and helps customers to find things easily and quickly
  • Create in-store theatre – draw attention to new products and highlight key promotions to excite shoppers and bring in new customers
  • Tap in to current trends and seasonal or mini occasions – helps retailers boost consumer spending, especially as we know that consumers buy gifts and sharing products at these times in addition to their usual confectionery purchases.

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