IT looks like there could be a Battle of the Bags brewing – and it will be fought in the nation’s convenience stores.
Stores under 10,000 sq ft account for just over half of all sugar confectionery, with the category growing by £4.4m year on year, according to Nielsen figures quoted by Swizzels.
The confectionery firm is one of several to have launched, revamped or expanded its range of £1 sharing bags recently, and with only a limited amount of space available the fight is on to get into stores.
Swizzels says it has seen strong growth since launching its Squashies range of gums and jellies in 2012.
The £1 range sees Love Hearts, Drumstick Lollies, Double Lollies and New Refreshers turned into softer gum versions. The firm says that in 2014, a bag of Squashies was sold on average every 2.6 seconds.
And it’s also said to be seeing growth from its Loadsa sharing bags range, which has recently undergone a redesign in a bid, says the company, to ensure it stands out on shelf.
A Swizzels spokesperson said: “A key pattern within kid’s confectionery is the popularity of larger products.
“Products over 100g are worth £287m and seeing a healthy 5% growth. Variety packs are an important part of this, with one in three variety bags being sold in convenience stores.”
The biggest category within sugar confectionery is ‘kids confectionery’, valued at £593m, with nearly half of the sales going through the convenience channel, according to IRI figures quoted by Cloetta, brand owner of Chewits. Over 80% of growth in the category is said to be down to increased sales of sharing bags.Bev Rushbrook, commercial manager for Cloetta, suggests the reason for their success may be because so-called ‘kids confectionery’ is actually becoming more popular with adults.
“Retailers once viewed sugar confectionery as strictly for kids – but the recession means it is increasingly a big-night in treat shared by whole families,” she said.
“For retailers, PMPs are critical in achieving positive price perceptions in store with 94% of consumers saying they would buy a PMP confectionery multipack if available from a c-store.”
One company that has been doing price-marked sharing bags for longer than most is Golden Casket, whose One Pounders range now includes almost 80 varieties. One Pounders are sold widely across Scotland, but the competition has recently intensified.
“When we started out in 1990 there were a few bag ranges against us but the big names were always about double the cost of ours,” said Golden Casket’s marketing director, Sandra Fisher.
“Now the big names are all dropping their weights to get to a pound price-point so we’ve got a lot more competition.
“It makes things a bit more challenging, but that’s why we make sure our range is the biggest and the best.
“Because we manufacture our own sweets, we’re able to maintain the best quality and we still keep the weight high, because we do like to be able to say our bags are heavier than everyone else.
“A lot of bags you see out there are down at 120g now, whereas ours are still up at 170g to 180g. And people do notice. Even if you’ve only taken one sweet out, they can tell.”
• Hancocks has recently extended its range of £1 Kingsway Share Bags to 34 varieties and is running a short-term offer for retailers.
Until 13 March, a display stand worth £49.99 is provided free when 20 cases (10 x £1 RRP) are purchased at a cost of £6 a case. The extended range includes the likes of Sour Blue Raspberry Bon Bons, Porky Pigs, Rhubarb and Custard, Liquorice Comfits and Jelly Buttons. The firm says retailers can realise 28% margin on a big-selling range of sweets.
“The demand for Kingsway Share Bags has continued to grow and so it was the right time to extend the range to 34 varieties and refresh the look with our new Kingsway branding,” said Jonathan Summerley, Hancocks purchasing director.
“This stand has been very popular and we know that it helps our customers to achieve maximum sales.”
• Mondelez International has revealed two new kinds of Jelly Babies for spring.
A seasonal variant for Easter, Bassetts Jelly Bunnies features the six Jelly Babies flavours in Easter-themed bunny moulds, while Bassetts Jelly Babies Berry Mix contains the Jelly Babies characters in blackcurrant, raspberry and strawberry flavours.
The firm realised its consumers had favourite flavours and launched the berries bag in response, said Elizabeth Huelsmann, senior brand manager for bagged candy at Mondelez. “Ideal for sharing, this new line extension will appeal to a wider spectrum of consumers, particularly young families,” she said.
Bassetts Jelly Babies Berry Mix and Bassetts Jelly Bunnies will be available in 190g packs, with an RRP of £1.52.