Commercial gains

Tim Burton’s new film version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp, is in essence a 5,400-second ad for confectionery. So says Graham Walker, sales communications manager at Nestlé Rowntree, and he should know because it was Nestlé that supplied the film with its chocolate river.

The company also has the product tie-in rights for the film so Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight, Nutty Crunch Surprise (the surprise is it contains no nuts) and Triple Dazzle Caramel will all be making the move from big screen to wholesaler depot this summer.

What’s more, just like in the film, there will be five Golden Tickets placed inside the wrappers. The five consumers who find them get to take their families on a trip to the US, where they will be given a tour round the Wonka factory and Warner Bros Studios.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is released on July 29 with the DVD release scheduled for mid November in time for Christmas. Also for Christmas will be some special Chocolate Factory lines including Willy Wonka’s Smarties Cane.

“This whole Willy Wonka thing is sheer genius,” says Walker. “It’s really going to give the market a boost.”

Not that the market really needs much of a boost with sales topping £6.1bn last year and new products coming thick and fast.

Nestlé has had great success revitalising the £260m Kit Kat brand. Sales are up 6.3%, which is not bad for such a long established brand. Walker puts the growth down to the programme of special edition bars, the popularity of the Kit Kash promotion, and the new ad campaign which he says has been better received than previous ones and as such much more effective.

KOOL CUSTOMER
For this summer there’s another Kit Kat promotion, this time entitled Kool It. Thousands of prizes are up for grabs on Kit Kat four-finger packs, including a ‘kool’ Ford Streetka and ‘kool’ mini fridges. Each wrapper contains a promotional code which consumers can either text via their mobile phone or enter online to find out if they’re a winner. In addition, promotional packs feature a mechanic to inform consumers that their Kit Kat is ‘kool’ enough to eat – a big blue yeti appears behind the Kit Kat logo on the front of the pack, and the three white snowflakes will turn blue when the bars are chilled.

Nestlé has also invested heavily in its £75m Aero brand with new blocks, new variants and the new Aero Bubbles product which comprises dual-coloured, bite size balls of bubbly peppermint Aero. Walker reckons this will see the brand grow to be worth more than £100m this year.

Walker has nothing but praise for the cash and carry/wholesale sector when it comes to stocking new products. “They are very good at stocking new and different lines. If it’s a new product with a lot of manufacturer support behind it, then they stock it.
“The independent sector continues to be a hugely important channel for us and through wholesalers we can get very wide distribution to thousands and thousands of outlets.”

Tony Rogers, national sales executive at Walkers’ Nonsuch says that with the growing strength of the grocery multiples, it is imperative that the wholesale/cash and carry sector offers the independent retailer a point of difference and continues to support niche and speciality products.

His company’s latest product launch certainly fits the fill. Crocante is a combination of crunchy nuts or seeds and the finest sugars dipped in Belgian milk chocolate. It comes in three varieties – toasted sesame seed, roasted peanut and Brazil nut.

Rogers says: “As launch distribution through wholesalers can be quicker than through the multiples, two-way support for new product launches is essential to ensure as much immediate exposure as possible. New launches need to be prominent and highly visible, and wherever possible supported by point of sale and selected tasting and sampling activity.”

He says maximum exposure is important inside a cash and carry, as busy retailers have a limited time to shop, and in most cases know what they’re going to buy.

He adds: “A good independent retailer should be aware of what his customer is looking for and be asking his wholesaler for products that may not be available in the multiples. The reverse is also true. Wholesalers should also know (especially with today’s technology), and have the ability to spot, buying trends and what their customers are demanding, and take on board their comments and requests.”

BOOSTING BITE SIZE
Meanwhile Masterfoods has been busy boosting sales in the bite-size category which includes brands such as Maltesers and Revels. The company claims it is responsible for 70% of total bite-size category growth over the last five years. And it reckons the launch of new pouch packaging for Maltesers, White Maltesers, Minstrels, Revels, and M M’s sharing bags will boost sales for wholesalers even further. Indeed sales are expected to experience a 15% uplift because of the new packaging, which is much easier to open, stands upright on its own for easy sharing, and can be resealed using a sticker on the back of the pack.

Masterfoods is supporting the pouches with a £3m marketing support programme. This forms part of its £80m-worth of support for its brands in 2005, which is a 25% increase on marketing spend for 2004.

Andrea Taylor, trade relations manager at Masterfoods, says availability is key to driving both sales and profits in cash and carries. Research conducted by Harris International Marketing and co-sponsored by Masterfoods reveals that one-third of retail customers leave depots without having purchased an item on their shopping list. Masterfoods has used the results to provide cash and carries with recommendations on how to maximise sales. The top 10 chocolate bars generate over 33% of chocolate sales in the retail sector, however this trend is even more polarised in cash and carries.

Masterfoods’ analysis reveals that one-third of cash and carry lines stocked account for 90% of sales. “It is therefore critical that wholesalers meet the needs of convenience retailers by displaying a well-stocked, balanced range of the trusted, branded products they are looking for,” says Taylor.

The principal finding of the research, however, is that it is availability that plays a critical role in driving sales and profits in cash and carries. Interviews with retailers revealed that 34% of them failed to purchase something they intended to buy on arrival, with 81% of these failed purchases due to the product being out of stock. The research also found that confectionery is the category that’s hardest hit in terms of poor availability and that this lack of availability results in a loss of 8% of consumer sales, which translates to a loss of £160m across the impulse market.

In response to these findings Masterfoods recommends that cash and carries give fast moving lines greater space in the display; increase the amount of stock stored on shelf; and locate all confectionery lines together as this is how retailers shop.

Taylor says: “Cash and carries play an essential role in providing the right products to the independent trade, so understanding retailers’ expectations of the sector enables Masterfoods to help cash and carries focus on what they do best. We are working with the trade to share the lessons learned from the research and interpret how they relate to the confectionery category. The findings will enable cash and carries to optimise layout and product range to better meet retail customers’ needs and therefore maximise sales.”

BUYER’S VIEWPOINT
Richard Brittle, Hancocks’ purchasing director

The confectionery market can provide no end of profitable opportunities for independent retailers. The skill is to know your local market and to provide an interesting range that will keep them coming back for more.

We are committed to confectionery, we work closely with our suppliers to the benefit of all concerned. Back in February we teamed up with Cadbury Trebor Bassett to jointly promote Hancocks’ Birmingham depot’s 25th anniversary and Cadbury Dairy Milk’s centenary, and we are currently working on a number of projects with Nestlé. Such teamwork can significantly help to grow the category.

Key growth areas for 2005 will include bitesize, lighter chocolate products, retro weigh-out sweets and kids novelties.

SHORT SWEET
Leaf UK is relaunching its Chewits brand with new pack designs, new variants and an improved recipe. The brand’s position will also be strengthened by a £1m TV advertising campaign starting in June, sampling and in-store marketing activity.

The aim is to grow the brand from £20m to £30m by 2008 by appealing to kids in the 11-14-year-old age group while retaining the current brand appeal among 5-10-year-olds. Managing director Tony Camp says there will be promotional activity in cash and carries offering prizes for retailers and deals such as buy two get one free.

Haribo is building on the popularity of Giant Strawbs – its best selling countline – with the launch of Giant Apples. These are supplied in resealable drums of 150 pieces, which retail at 4p each. Per Henérius, Haribo’s managing director, says: “We sell over 2.5 million Giant Strawbs, worth £100,000 at retail ,every week and we believe Giant Apples will prove to be just as successful.”

Kraft has launched three new quirky Toblerone sleeves for Fathers Day (June 19), which also double up as greeting cards. Playing on the theme that dads often receive boring presents, the three special edition sleeves show pictures of a Toblerone-branded pair of socks, a tie, and a pair of slippers. The sleeves open into greeting cards with three humorous messages: ‘This will knock your socks off’, ‘Surprise, it’s knot another tie’ and ‘A better reason to put your feet up’.

According to ACNielsen, Toblerone 400g has the highest volume and values uplift over the Father’s Day period of all chocolate products.

This year, to mark its centenary, Cadbury Dairy Milk will benefit from its largest ever advertising spend – worth £20m. There will be TV, posters, radio, press, online support and Coronation Street credits. Cadbury Trebor Bassett has also launched the Cadbury Dairy Milk Happiness Factory, where UK consumers get the chance to say what would make them happy. Entry is via the website (www.cadburydairymilk.co.uk) and the consumers with the most innovative entries will have their dreams turned into reality.

Wrigley’s Extra chewing gum has a new Ice flavour, which replaces Winterfresh. Available now, it is supported by an extensive media package.

This summer Cadbury Trebor Bassett (CTB) is running a £1.7m TV campaign to support Bassett’s Fruit Allsorts.
Mike Tipping, head of customer relations for CTB, says: “The total sugar confectionery market has increased by £8m over the last 12 months, with a million consumers buying into the category for the first time over the same period – so the scale of the opportunity for a brand like Bassett’s Fruit Allsorts is huge.”

Ashbury Confectionery, the UK’s largest private label manufacturer of chocolate, is relaunching its Needlers brand. Activity will include a new brand identity, new logo, new packaging designs, new products and a reformulation of old favourites. The Needlers name is synonymous with traditional sweets, so building on this Ashbury is launching a new seven-strong bagged range called Picked ‘n Mixed. As the name suggests, all items are pick ‘n mix best sellers, individually wrapped for freshness. Other new products include Full o’ Fruits bon bons; Milky Splitz toffee; and Toffee Twists.

For retailers there will be ‘three for two’ activity during the launch period.

Haribo’s new Strawbs line comes in a retailer-friendly, shelf-ready display carton. Haribo believes it is the first confectionery company to introduce the shelf-ready units for bags. Each case holds 12 family-size bags and has a perforated panel so the case can be easily converted into a display unit.

Haribo plans to roll out the shelf-ready display cases across other brands, including Starmix and Tangfastics, during the course of this year.

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