Tis the season to buy big brands

Premier Foods hopes Mr Kipling Winter Whirls, complete with spangled packaging and a spiced jam and buttercream filling, will be a festive hit.
Premier Foods hopes Mr Kipling Winter Whirls, complete with spangled packaging and a spiced jam and buttercream filling, will be a festive hit.

THE festive season is an opportunity for family get-togethers, outings, and blockbuster films on telly – all of which should present opportunities to boost Christmas sales of family and traditional treats.
Ambient Christmas cakes, for example, are said to be worth £93m as measured by IRI, with mince pies accounting for over half of those sales. Nielsen research is said to show that 76% of consumers trade up from retailer brands to branded products during the period. Cake manufacturers have responded to the demand for seasonal treats by producing a range of special editions and Christmassy products, many of them presented in festive packaging.
Premier Foods, owner of Mr Kipling, sells more than a third of its packaged cakes in the 12 weeks leading up to Christmas. For this year there is a new product, Winter Whirls, with a spiced jam and vanilla butter cream filling, as well as revamped packaging for Christmas perennials such as its Mince Pies, Iced Top Mince Pies, Mince and Brandy Pies, Frosty Fancies, Festive Bakewells, Winter Warmers and Christmas Cake slices.
McVitie’s is also keen to take a slice of the festive premium cake market. It has revived the Galaxy Mistletoe Kisses Cake Bar, said to be the top selling Christmas cake bar as measured by Nielsen. David Fowler, marketing controller at McVitie’s Cake Company, described it as: “the ideal cake bar to meet consumer demand for a more premium and luxury treat.”
It also has new products for sharing and gifting. McVitie’s Biscuit Selection combines premium and everyday biscuits in a 500g tin (RRP £8.80). McVitie’s Mini’s 80g festive cartons – of Gingerbread Men and Digestives Festive Shapes – are suitable for sharing or as stocking fillers. RRP is £1.
Savoury biscuits, a growth area in the biscuit category, come into their own over the festive season. Customers need crackers to accompany the cheese board at special meals and to eat with the cold cuts and leftovers.
In response, United Biscuits has revamped its Carr’s Assortment. It now comes in a new 500g box (RRP £8.25) containing a refreshed assortment including two varieties of mini flatbreads; Salt & Black Pepper and Seeded. For smaller households, it is reviving its 200g assortment (RRP £3.14) which grew by 58% in 2012 as measured by Nielsen.
Another UB brand, Jacob’s, offers Oddities and Mini Cheddars caddies – including the new variety with Branston Pickle – for handing around at parties and big nights in. Hena Chandarana, shopper marketing controller at UB, said: “Now worth £9.2m as measured by Nielsen, Jacob’s Oddities are growing in popularity and offer a fun and tasty snack for the whole family to enjoy.
“Building on the success of the Mini Cheddars caddy and the previous popularity of the Cheese & Pickle combination during the festive period, the new Mini Cheddars Branston Pickle is sure to be a hit.”
To make the most of festive sales, Chandarana suggested: ”Don’t forget that seasonal sales don’t stop at Christmas but continue right into January so make sure you keep shelves and secondary displays fully stocked. Empty shelves will undoubtedly result in customers going elsewhere for their festive biscuits, cakes and snacks.
“Develop cross-category promotions with sweet and savoury snacking products or soft drinks brands, to encourage consumers to trade up and increase their basket size and spend. Where possible, theme displays with point of sale or decorations to add in-store theatre and draw shoppers’ attention.
“Also, try giving your store a point of difference by stocking attention grabbing novelty products such as the Pole of Jaffa Cakes.
“Shoppers want and expect seasonal space and signage.”