Sweet, sure, steady

CONFECTIONERY is a mainstay of most c-stores’ product ranges and chocolate in all its variety of styles, types and sizes accounts for the majority of confectionery sales.

Recent years have presented chocolate confectionery manufacturers and retailers with opportunities and challenges. On the one hand the growth in home entertainment in the recession and its aftermath has seen sales of sharing confectionery and large block chocolate increase. But consumers have become very price conscious indeed and have also been served by new retailers such as the discounters and pound stores.

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With the economy said to be improving will influences change?

Three of the confectionery giants who gave views to Scottish Grocer were bullish about the coming period both for the market and their own brands and products.

Trade communications manager at Mondelez International Susan Nash said: “The total confectionery market is worth over £4.8bn, with Mondelez holding the biggest market share at 32.4%.

“Mondelez also leads the chocolate market, accounting for 36.2% of value sales.”

She said sales of chocolate confectionery bags are growing by 4.6% a year and the average convenience store now sells more than £200 worth of the lines every week.

The firm has continued to develop new snack lines – frequently products to suit particular consumption occasions.

One of its latest lines is Cadbury Dairy Milk Oat Crunch, which Nash said “brings together oaty biscuits with milk chocolate for the mid-morning break.”

And there are other crossovers where Cadbury Dairy Milk is combined with Lu, Ritz, Chips Ahoy and Oreo.

Nash said the firm had launched Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo as a single-size line on the back of its success as a large block product.

“Combining the UK’s number-one chocolate brand and the world’s favourite biscuit has already been hugely successful,” she said.

“Worth £19.4m it is the third best-selling Cadbury Dairy Milk tablet in the UK market.”

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In April Mondelez launched Cadbury Dairy Milk Puddles, a 90g tablet with an RRP of £1.49. It’s available with hazelnut or mint filling.

Mondelez International advice to retailers includes suggestions to group products by pack style and size, to position best sellers in the best locations, only double-face the top-selling lines, and place well-known brands at the till point.

The overall retail market may have had its ups and downs in recent years but for confectionery firm Mars chocolate has been a steady performer, increasing sales and bringing cash through the till consistently, whatever the economic conditions.

A spokesperson for the firm told Scottish Grocer: “Chocolate plays a key role in driving growth of the confectionery category, with 72% of confectionery sales coming from the industry.

“Chocolate, which has been growing at a steady rate of 4.4% year-on-year, is almost twice the size of the nearest snacking category and continues to be a key area to focus on in store.

“The two biggest consumer trends for retailers to watch out for in 2015 are the big night in and the growing demand for affordable treats.

“As sharing moments in the home continue as a trend, the bitesize category has grown by 22% and is worth £589m.

“In the past six months, Mars chocolate bags have seen growth through £1 Treatbags and the M&M’s Pouch.”

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Mars says to maximise confectionery sales retailers should ensure they stock the right lines and get the most from displays, by multi-facing best-sellers and using special  displays.

• Levi Boorer, customer development director at Ferrero sees confectionery as particularly important as it is, in his view, one of the few categories where consumers are willing to trade up.

“Retailers should stock best sellers, 85% of confectionery sales come form core range,” he said.

“Using bespoke POS helps create in-store theatre and draws attention to impulse purchases at till points.

“We work with our retail partners to understand who their shoppers are. We offer bespoke channel solutions.”

Ferrero recently joined the chocolate confectionery sharing bags market with Kinder Chocolate Bags.

The range consists of two bag sizes and three variants: Choco-Bons; Chocolate Mini; and Chocolate with Cereals Mini.

All six packs contain individually wrapped chocolates and the larger bags are re-sealable.