Seasons to be cheerful?

Chocolate manufacturers are launching new packs and products for the busy festive sales season

IN many categories of food and drink the sales period in the lead up to Christmas can  be vital, and that’s certainly true of chocolate.

Quoting figures from Kantar Worldpanel, Nestlé said seasonal impulse sales of confectionery rose by 3.7% to a value of £22.1m last year.

Seasonal novelties helped boost sales of Christmas confectionery to £706m last year and Nestlé has reported that 16m UK households shopped in the category in 2015, an increase of 1.3m households in the last four years.

A company spokesperson said that 16m households bought seasonal confectionery in 2015, which is an increase of 1.3m households since 2011 and added: “Consumers love the novelty and excitement seasonal treats provide.

“The early season is particularly important as 67% of shoppers who bought seasonal confectionery in the early season returned to buy again.”

This year’s choices include an advent calendar from Mars, the return of the Maltesers Merryteaser Reindeer single pack, a wide range of selection boxes including those from Galaxy, Snickers and M&Ms.

Mondelez International refers to Nielsen Scantrak data to report that last Christmas confectionery was worth £706m and added that in c-stores chocolate grew by 2% in the last quarter of the year.

Mars Chocolate also refers to Nielsen figures saying that one in three households buy a chocolate treat product over the festive period.

67% of shoppers who bought seasonal confectionery early bought again

Trade communications manager at Mars Chocolate, Bep Dhaliwal, said: “Christmas is the most important time of year for chocolate sales as consumers stock up on family favourites during the season.”

Dhaliwal went on to introduce the Mars range for this Christmas saying that its mix of new products, best-sellers and POS will help bring the magic of Christmas to life in store.

The Maltesers Merryteaser Reindeer is to be supported by a range of POS and Galaxy Gift for You White is being rebranded.

74% of total Christmas chocolate sold last year was in the boxed chocolate category

Quoting Nielsen figures, Dhaliwal said boxed chocolate sales accounted for 74% of total Christmas chocolate confectionery sales in 2015 and the Celebrations tub remained the top seller in the category, worth £41.7m.

She added that Galaxy is being made available in an advent calendar alongside the Maltesers and Mars varieties. The firm’s selection box range includes Galaxy, Maltesers and Snickers packs.

New Mondelez seasonal products include Cadbury Dairy Milk Snowballs and a Santa-shaped box of Dairy Milk miniatures.

Familiar brands are wrapped up in new packaging for the festive season.

Also among its seasonal specials are 90g and 200g Dairy Milk advent calenders and a 500g Cadbury Roses pouch.

56% of the time when twistwrap confectionery is consumed three or more people are present

The company will be repeating its Cadvent promotional campaign which last year saw 24 events take place across the UK – backed by high social media engagement and  TV advertising.

And in a new scratchcard promotion Mondelez is offering consumers the chance to win shopping vouchers.

A spokesperson said: “Consumers simply have to buy three Cadbury products to receive a scratchcard and if three Santas are revealed on their card, they will win £500 of love2shop vouchers.”

Cadbury will match the prize for the retailer in the store where the winning ticket was bought.

Nestlé is bringing back its Smarties Little Choc Penguin and the white chocolate Milkybar Polar Bear Cub after a successful Christmas for each in 2015.

The Smarties Little Choc Penguin is back on the Nestlé list this year.

80% of all boxed chocolate sales are accounted for by the top six brands

A spokesperson said: “Together they are worth over £1m in sales value. Mums love them because they offer a small treat from known and trusted brands whilst kids find them special, novel and fun.”

The two kids’ brands are also available in new gift packs. As well as sweets, the Milkybar and Smarties 3D Activity Packs contain colouring pencils and pictures to be coloured in and scanned on to a tablet or smartphone where consumers can see them become animated.

Nestlé referred to Kantar research saying that 65% of all twistwrap confectionery is consumed during the evening and that in more than half of those occasions there are three or more people involved. It says its Quality Street tubs and tins remain firm sharing favourites.

The spokesperson said: “Last Christmas saw the launch of the Quality Street 550g Pouch Bag.

“The pouch bag is ideal for the more informal sharing occasions younger consumers enjoy, as well as topping up tubs when chocolates run low.

“It proved a great addition to the category, with 61% of sales being incremental.”

The company reported good sales for Quality Street Matchmakers and After Eight Straws last Christmas saying that sharing boxed chocolates outperformed the rest of the segment with sales up 3.4% and that 80% of sales came from the top six brands.

Kids packs contain pencils and pictures as well as sweets

The big confectionery companies stress that retailers should offer the right Christmas range at the right time.

The Mars spokesperson said: 

Mondelez has put miniature versions of its Cadbury Dairy Milk into a seasonal Santa shaped pack.

“Christmas is a busy time in store so ensure you use impactful POS to drive sales and bring the festive season to life.

“Best sellers need to be on the hottest shelves at eye level, where shopper attention is naturally focused.”

Mondelez advises that retailers should prepare early for the season and should range correctly at different stages of the festive selling period.

Mondelez is offering consumers the chance to win a shopping spree

A spokesperson said: “In October start the countdown to Christmas with self-eats.

“Continue the countdown theme in November with advent and novelty sharing lines.

“In December stock selection boxes, Christmas-themed gifts, family sharing lines and top-up gifts.

“Utilise manufacturers’ POS and build impactful displays in store to showcase your full seasonal range.  Also remember to utilise the impulsive counter space for self-eat treats.

“Help shoppers manage their Christmas spending by giving them a choice of self- eat treats and stocking fillers with products under £1 RRP.

mars_merryteaser_3d“Christmas is also a huge gifting occasion for adults while sharing packs play a big role in households as families and friends come together during the festive season and add some seasonal excitement during these occasions.

Stock up on gifting products to increase top-up gift purchases in the lead up to Christmas and make sharing products available throughout as social occasions increase towards the big day. Over 1.3m people enjoyed Cadbury Heroes and Roses tubs in the UK in 2015  and Cadbury Milk Tray grew 13% in 2015.”