Biscuit boom at Christmas


IN a nation of biscuit lovers, the approach of the festive season can provide a big opportunity for sales.

In 2013, £93.8m was spent on specific Christmas biscuits in the UK, according to Burton’s Biscuit Company, quoting Nielsen. The firm behind Cadbury biscuits also says that Christmas is the peak sales period for the range and can see major profit increases for retailers.
Its 2014 line-up includes chocolate-covered biscuit assortments in a variety of formats for gifting as well as the new Cadbury Dairy Milk biscuit tin.
Festive Friends, which the company says was the nation’s favourite biscuit stocking filler last year, returns with new characters and shapes. A new novelty line, Cadbury Santa’s Arctic Friends, has also been added.
“Our focus this year is very much on tradition and nostalgia, enabling people to enjoy Cadbury biscuits through sharing or gifting, or to have some festive fun with the novelty range,“ said David Costello, Burton’s Biscuit Company’s head of customer category management.
“Consumers tell us that Christmas isn’t Christmas without the Cadbury biscuit tin, and this year our range is sure to delight.”
United Biscuits UK has several tips for retailers looking to make the most of Christmas gifting:
• make seasonal biscuits impossible to miss
• stock the best-selling lines
• draw shoppers to seasonal biscuits
• make prices and promotions highly visible
The firm suggests a Christmas Countdown:
• 12 weeks to go, stock the big brands to encourage shoppers to buy early
• eight weeks to go, (post-Halloween) increase seasonal space and make sure promotions are highly visible
• four weeks to go, introduce shippers and secondary sites in store
• seasonal sales don’t stop at Christmas, so keep shelves stocked right through January

United Biscuits recommends cross-category promotions with sweet and savoury products like crackers, jams and chutneys.

The company also advises using cross-category promotions with sweet and savoury snacking products or soft drinks brands, to encourage consumers to trade up and indulge.
“Retailers should make sure they have their must-stock brands including UBUK’s range of number-one bestsellers displayed prominently in store to attract core shoppers to family favourites,” said Hena Chandarana, trade communications controller at United Biscuits UK.
“The research shows that consumers will return to favourites like these time and time again.”
The company’s bestsellers include McVitie’s and Jacob’s biscuits, which were purchased by three out for four UK households last Christmas, according to Nielsen. This year, United Biscuits has come up with some new twists on its old favourites.
McVitie’s Victoria returns in a hinged box (RRP £10.00), following a £1m investment in packaging technology. The new format contains two re-closable individually wrapped foil film trays, to retain freshness.
McVitie’s Victoria is also available in two other formats – a new 300g carton (RRP £5.00) and a 450g tin (RRP £10) for use as a gift.
Another new release is Jacob’s Christmas Crackers (RRP £4.29), which includes novelty cream crackers with yuletide messages, while this Christmas also sees the launch of the new Jacob’s Tin (RRP £7.00), with a variety of crackers for pairing with festive chutneys and cheese.
A company hoping to catch the eye of shoppers in search of something special is The Bay Tree, which has produced a range of Christmas-themed chutneys and preserves.

British biscuit lovers buy even more of the sweet treats at Christmas, for both gifting and sharing. Among the many products designed to capitalise on the trend this year are Cadbury’s Festive Friends, McVitie’s Victoria Selection and The Bay Tree’s Snowman and Father Christmas Tins.

The Somerset-based company has a collection of almost 200 lines, many designed with gifting in mind, such as the Sweet Preserve Christmas House (£8.30), containing three varieties of jams and marmalades, and the Perfect for Christmas Gift Box (RRP £7.90).
The collection also includes a Christmas Pickle (a mix of cranberries, apples and currants) and a Boxing Day Chutney (a blend of apricots, orange and coriander) intended to accompany cold meat or cheese platters.
“Christmas is such a special time and giving or receiving sensational tasting food is always a real treat,” said The Bay Tree’s founder Emma Macdonald.

Whether gifting or sharing, Christmas shoppers return to old favourites again and again

“We all know that it’s the one time of year we let ourselves really indulge. It gives me such joy to have been able to bring our West Country-made ranges to so many Christmas dining tables over the past 20 years.”
The Bay Tree has also produced a range aimed at those who want to give biscuits as a gift – its Snowman and Father Christmas Biscuit Tins (RRP £5.25).
The Snowman tin contains white chocolate raspberry cookies, while the Father Christmas tin contains double chocolate chip cookies.