The makings of a sweet summer

With Covid restrictions easing off, the sun occasionally shining and a summer of sport ahead us, the next few months could offer some sweet opportunities for retailers.

Adaptability has been the watchword in local retailing for the last year or so, as the sector has evolved quickly to keep pace with rapidly changing consumer behaviour – and that applies particularly in the vital, high volume confectionery category.

“Staying relevant in an ever-changing market is key for brands and retailers to thrive within confectionery,” says Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International.

“Whether they offer consumers authenticity, quality, lower sugar content or simply a great core line from a brand they know and love, brands and retailers must ensure their ranges embody these trends to stay ahead of the curve.”

Confectionery is one of those indulgent, affordable categories that shoppers of all ages turn to in order to add a little pleasure to their lives – so staying relevant is key to unlocking maximum sales, footfall and profits, particularly when it comes to chocolate confectionery.

As part of this drive to ensure relevancy, Mondelez has revealed a new identity for Cadbury Dairy Milk. The pack’s new look and feel includes a redrawn Cadbury wordmark, a new look for the Dairy Milk logo and a new pack design based on the original Dairy Milk packaging.

“Chocolate is eaten as a treat and we know that consumers’ purchasing decisions are mostly driven by taste,” says Nash. “As we mature, our taste preferences change and many older consumers prefer the higher cocoa hit of dark chocolate brands such as Darkmilk, which offers consumers the best of both worlds with the richest, creamiest bar Cadbury has ever made.”

Also helping retailers cash in on this is Green & Black’s, the premium chocolate brand, which has announced a packaging refresh across its Organic tablets range. The new visual identity highlights the brand’s commitment to ethically sourced cocoa, and high quality, delicious chocolate. Additionally, the packaging refresh for five Green & Black’s Dark bars will be registered with The Vegan Society.

Wizard wheeze

Cadbury is also joining forces with Merlin Entertainments once again for the return of its popular summer promotion. Live now and available for six months, the on-pack promo offers a free standard ticket with every purchase of a full-priced adult ticket to a host of the UK’s top attractions including Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures, Thorpe Park and the Legoland Windsor.

As well as this, retailers should also ensure their range includes both single bars and multipacks from the leading brands to suit the needs of these consumers who are buying confectionery on smaller trips or as part of their weekly shop.

Mondelez has also shaken up the gifting confectionery market with the arrival of a new range: Cadbury Chocolate Gift Cards. The gift cards let retailers target new shoppers to help grow their gifting confectionery sales all year round, tapping into mini-seasons and birthdays gifting moments. The cards come in a variety of gifting designs combined with Hazelnut Creme Hearts and White Chocolate Truffle Flowers offers shoppers an option for every gifting occasion.

NPD is another area that helps retailers stay relevant and fresh so new bars like Cadbury Wispa Gold Duo will help tap into this, while the return of Cadbury Twirl Orange helped drive shopper excitement once more.

Levi Boorer, Customer Development Director at Ferrero, agrees that affordable luxuries will be the order of the day this summer. “Following a challenging year, chocolates present an opportunity for shoppers to treat family and friends,” he says. “Confectionery is one of the few categories where shoppers are willing to spend money on the products that they love, to treat themselves and loved ones.”

Ferrero’s premium, established brands – Ferrero Rocher, Ferrero Collection, Raffaello, and Thorntons – offer consumers high quality treats or gifts, which are in demand and suit the growth of the ‘big night in’ occasions too.

Boorer says premium Boxed Confectionery will continue to play an important role in driving confectionery sales this summer, so it’s important that the right pack formats are offered to suit shopper missions and baskets size. “For example, Ferrero Rocher 300g and Thorntons Classic 262g are ideal offerings that make it easier for shoppers to switch to these premium brands that will help drive bigger basket sales for retailers,” he advises.

Big shops rising

With less shopping around (89% of shoppers visiting just one store) as a result of the events in 2020 and more deliberate ‘big’ shops [Shopper Intelligence Report, May 2020], people are more willing to add new or alternative products to their basket if their usual items are not immediately available, believes Boorer.

“In addition to this, with shoppers feeling pressure to reduce the time spent in-store, the disrupted in-store experience is leading to more impulsive purchases of ‘treat’ products, particularly from secondary locations or off-shelf displays in store.”

These factors go hand in hand with the popularity of the big night in, which shoppers are increasingly looking to access products that will enhance their experience at home.

Sugar confectionery remains a key sales driver and Boorer advises retailers to stock brands that shoppers trust and recognise, like Tic Tac. “The three biggest flavours that consumers are looking for are mint, fruits and extra-strong mint,” he comments. “The Tic Tac core range (Lime & Orange, Strawberry Fields, Fruit Adventure, Intense Mint and Fresh Mint) includes products that suit each of those needs, catering for different shoppers’ tastes.

“Our Fresh Mint flavour is arguably what Tic Tac is most recognised for, and the ever-present product has been joined by Intense Mint as part of the core range. Both of these products are available as T1 and T100 packs.”

For Mars Wrigley, the success of the overall sugar confectionery category is driven by its own dynamic innovation programme, which has been received positively by both new and existing shoppers, says Victoria Gell, Fruity Confections Brand Director. “The positive impact of innovation alongside our bestselling core range, has ensured that sales are strong,” she says.

“Following the launch of Extra Refreshers singles in 2020, the launch of Extra Refreshers in the popular bottle format aims to ensure that consumers have access to their favourite gum whatever the occasion, at home or on the go. We are also expanding the Refreshers portfolio with a new Tropical flavour to capitalise on the popularity of tropical flavour profiles with younger consumers.”

To make the most of the growing number of sharing occasions, Gell also advises retailers to focus their displays on products that are ideal for sharing such as Starburst ‘Tear and Share’ Pouches, which are individually wrapped and offer a variety of flavours for everyone to enjoy.