Cracking line-up for Easter

Confectionery producers lay out their seasonal plans

Gifting accounts for more than 60% of chocolate occasions at Easter with shell eggs being the number one gifting format. Some potential top sellers for 2018 include Cadbury Dairy Milk & Mini Oreo, Galaxy Golden Eggs and Smarties Mini Eggs

EASTER, perhaps more than any of Scotland’s other big seasonal celebrations, is a gift to confectionery retailers, symbolised as it is by the chocolate egg.

Introduced in Europe in the early part of the 19th century, chocolate eggs have been key to Easter ever since – and producers have been hard at work to ensure a tremendous variety of eggs, at all sizes and price points, will be available to consumers this year.

Cadbury owner Mondelez International argues it plays an ‘egg-stremely’ important role during the season, holding the leading share of shell eggs and the number one position in chocolate bags, candy bags and self-eat, according to figures from IRI.

It advised retailers to have family sharing products on the shelves for February.

“During this time, shoppers are looking to buy sharing products for guests and especially their children, in casual together-time to build excitement in the run-up to Easter,” a spokesperson said.

“Retailers should stock the bestseller Cadbury Mini Eggs – which has been the number one Easter pack for the last five years – alongside popular products such as Cadbury Creme Egg Minis and Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo Minis. Cadbury Dairy Milk Egg ‘n’ Spoon Oreo also joined the range last year to help drive incremental sales in sharing.

“From March, consumers are looking to create and capture the unique spirit of Easter to help make memories and providing meaning for the season. Gifting accounts for more than 60% of chocolate occasions at Easter, with shell eggs being the number one gifting format, which is in growth by 11%. Mondelez International has eight out of the top 10 Easter eggs and in 2017, it contributed 40%  of category growth.”

Recommended products include Cadbury Dairy Milk small shell egg and Cadbury Creme Egg medium egg.

Mini eggs is the biggest Easter segment, worth £68.6m and growing both in the long and short term.

Meanwhile, Mars is crystal clear about which product it considers a ‘must stock’ for Easter.

“Since its launch in 2016, Galaxy Golden Eggs has generated strong sales and become the number two small sharing bag during the Easter season,” said Lauren George, brand and trade PR manager at Mars Chocolate UK.

“It continued its strong start last year growing by over 30% in its second year and looks set to continue this trend in 2018, making it the ‘must stock’ SKU for retailers.”

Featuring a combination of gold-coated Galaxy Chocolate eggs and crunchy caramel pieces, Galaxy Golden Eggs are on sale at an RRP of £1.29, while the Galaxy Golden Eggs Large Egg is available at an RRP of £5.29.

Last year, gifting chocolate also saw growth mid-season between the mini-seasons with promotions on eggs driving early purchase and frequency, said George, meaning retailers should ensure they are stocked up on a full range of Easter eggs ahead of Valentine’s Day.

“Small eggs are the perfect option for sharing with the family at Eastertime and Malteser Mini Bunny Egg is a proven bestseller available at an RRP of £1.52,” she said.

“Mars’ blockbuster brands such as Maltesers, M&M’s and Mars are also available in the medium egg format and will once again be available to consumers. These eggs have been consistent performers year after year and make great gifts for friends and relatives of all ages. They are available at an RRP of £3.05.”

Mars also has a range of large and luxury eggs available from an RRP of £5.29.

George added: “Consumers often leave it to the last minute to buy their chocolate as 50% of sales occur in the final three weeks, making it particularly important for retailers to remain stocked up on gifting chocolate as the season draws to a close.”

Over at Nestlé Confectionery, it isn’t large or even medium eggs that are the focus, but mini eggs.

Calling itself the “fastest growing mini eggs manufacturer”, it has been inspired by consumer response to the launch of the Orange Smarties Giant Tube in autumn to launch Orange Smarties Mini Eggs (RRP £1 for a 90g bag).

New for 2018, Swizzels’ Fun Mix is positioned as an alternative to chocolate for Easter, while Nestlé expects Milkybar Mini Eggs to do well for retailers

The second mini eggs launch sees two brands join forces to create the Smarties and Milkybar Mini Eggs 300g family sharing bag (RRP £3).

A spokesperson said: “Mini eggs is the biggest Easter segment, worth £68.6m and growing both in the long and short term, 55.5% over the last five years and 16% last Easter alone. Larger family sharing formats are also in growth, with 60% of the shoppers buying into this format being new to mini eggs. The new sharing bag aims to capitalise on these consumer trends to make a winning treat for the family this spring.”

What’s more, Nestlé is also introducing a new shell egg pack, the Orange Smarties Mini Eggs Insider Egg, featuring an orange flavour milk chocolate egg, complete with orange Smarties mini eggs inside (RRP £5.54).

But chocolate isn’t the only product expected to see a lift from the season.

Quoting figures from IRI, Mark Walker, sales director at Swizzels, said: “Sugar confectionery is becoming more popular with consumers at Easter, as the latest figures show. Easter-themed sugar confectionery is worth £1.7m over the six weeks of Easter, with gifting items and larger variety products accounting for the majority of Easter sugar confectionery sales.”

Brand new for Easter 2018, Swizzels’ Fun Mix is positioned as a chocolate alternative for an Easter gift. Featuring a novelty Easter bunny design, it is filled with some of Swizzels’ most popular sweets such as Refreshers, Love Hearts and Drumstick lollies.

The pack also contains wax crayons, a colouring page and a selection of fun puzzles.

Swizzels’ Easter Mix Tub (which reportedly experienced 8% growth in 2017) and the Spring Selection bag (53% growth in 2017) also return.