Spring growth

One of the key occasions in the year for confectionery is Easter. Easter eggs are must-buys and seasonal impulse also does well. Before that, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day also give the confectionery category a welcome boost.

Jonathan Summerley, senior buyer for Hancocks, says: “The Spring season continues to be an important time in the confectionery calendar, though it also remains extremely competitive. Hancocks saw good year on year growth during 2009, demonstrating that independent retailers can really benefit from Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day if sufficient thought and planning is given to the range they stock.

“Impulsive purchases for both children and adults, for example Kinder Surprise, Smarties Shaker Egg or Aero Filled Egg, can sell extremely well if displayed prominently in a local store. They also have plenty of repeat purchase opportunities over a much longer time frame than gifting products or eggs.

“Valentine’s Day has always held a direct association with chocolates and independent retailers can stand to make good money out of this often impulsively purchased event. Many shoppers will only buy what they need on the day itself and so a local store stands to do well from a prominent gifting display over this event. While we would always recommend stocking a good range of general gifting items that can see retailers through from Valentine’s Day to Easter and even onto Father’s Day, enhancing that range with an interesting selection of slightly different products will gain interest from shoppers and boost profit margins. We will be offering a number of heart-shaped gifting products that traditionally sell very well over Valentine’s Day and even into Mother’s Day.

“Mother’s Day is a huge occasion in the confectionery calendar and a real opportunity for independents as much of the purchasing is done at the last minute. Easter is still to follow Mother’s Day and so retailers can be confident of maintaining a strong gifting display in order to maximise their sales during the spring season.”

Graham Walker, trade communications manager of Nestlé UK, says: “Last year, more shoppers bought into the category, shopped more often and spent more at Easter. This is great news for retailers because Easter is all about confectionery, which is the only category that encourages footfall over the spring period.”

Nestlé is promoting the importance of impulse lines, big name brands, and a core range. This year it is again using its standee for cash and carries to show retailers how much profit they can make from key impulse lines. It is also providing counter top units and dumpbins. Walker adds: “To capitalise in 2010 retailers need to ensure the unmissible visibility of big brands and focus on seasonal impulse. The key to success is to ensure retailers are stocking the core range, at the right time, to meet shopper missions. Nestlé Confectionery offers the ideal range to help retailers win at Spring.”

Nestlé is promoting its Smarties and Aero filled eggs along with Bluebell the Milkybar cow. It also has Smarties and Milkybar mini eggs. According to Nestlé, filled and mini eggs account for 57% of the convenience channel Easter confectionery sales.

It also has a core range of adult eggs in new shaped packing which uses 50% less packaging than last year.

Two new retro eggs have been added for 2010, the Smarties retro egg with mug and the Rolo retro egg.

Bep Sandhu, trade relations manager of Mars, says: “Easter represents a great opportunity for wholesalers to maximise sales of seasonal confectionery. Retailers know that they will see an uplift in confectionery sales by stocking the bestselling seasonal products alongside a core product offering. As such, they’ll be looking to stock up on Easter impulse lines such as MaltEaster soon after Christmas. Wholesalers looking to drive sales in the first quarter would be well advised to stock up on impulse lines such as these early in the year. Equally, stocking pre-filled bestsellers units is a great way to have sufficient stock and an impactful display of impulse lines.”

According to Mars, the standard filled egg category had a great year in 2009, displaying value growth of 11.2% and increasing in value by £4.1m. It advises wholesalers to have filled and mini eggs in stock from Boxing Day through to Easter weekend.

Mars is continuing with its MaltEaster Bunny, launched last year, as it achieved sales of £3.3m in 2009. Trade activation is due to start in November and the product will be available to order from December 26.

This year Mars is again looking at sustainability and for 2010 all plastic and acetate has been removed from small, medium, luxury and premium eggs, representing a year on year saving of 168 tonnes of plastic.

According to Cadbury, Easter 2009 was a strong year for growth within the confectionery category, with total value sales up +9.1% and Cadbury grew ahead of the category with value sales of £127m, growing by +23% on Easter 2008.

Kate Harding, trade communications manager at Cadbury, says: “Cadbury Creme Egg is the number one selling confectionery brand at Easter with more than 101 million eggs sold during the season. In 2010 Cadbury will invest £5m supporting the brand, refreshing the popular ‘Here today, goo tomorrow’ campaign on TV and in store POS. TV advertising will focus on the limited availability of Cadbury Creme eggs and will run from January 1, so to make the most of the season retailers should ensure they have Cadbury Creme Egg on display from then.”

According to Cadbury, Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel Egg is the number two filled egg, and responsible for category growth in 2009, growing +56%.

Cadbury is also giving its Mini Eggs a new look with a new pack design which aims to increase standout on shelf.

Following its Purple goes green strategy it is reducing packaging on its ‘big gesture’ eggs by 35% and removing all plastic from the range for 2010.

Natalie Brown, senior brand manager at Green amp; Black’s, says: “Green amp; Black’s has done particularly well, bucking the downwards trend that some brands are seeing and instead has delivered 5% growth so far in 2009.

“Our chocolate is showing strong growth in the wholesale channel. Green amp; Black’s has helped lead the growth of premium chocolate and the launch of our hero lines into delivered wholesale have delivered double digit growth.

“Consumers are much more likely to trade up to premium chocolate at the seasonal gifting occasions. Wholesalers can take advantage of this by offering a core range of premium lines.”

Green amp; Black’s recommends offering the Minature Bar collection as a gift for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter. It has also made its whole range of Green amp; Black’s Easter eggs available.

Jason Sutherland, sales director of Ferrero, says: “The majority of shoppers buy their Easter confectionery in the last four weeks, with the week before Easter seeing the biggest sales in chocolate confectionery. Therefore, to maximise their sales, retailers need to ensure that they have good stocks of bestselling products, such as Kinder Surprise, available right up to Easter.”

According to Ferrero, Kinder Surprise is the number one novelty brand at Easter. It is again running its Kinder Bunnies three pack and will be introducing the Spring Cuddles collection with characters with extendable arms to allow them to be attached to school-bags or mobile phones.

Sutherland adds: “With the introduction of the Kinder Surprise Spring Cuddles collection we are continuing to bring innovation to the best-selling kids’ confectionery brand, providing news and excitement within the category.”

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