The in crowd

With the credit crunch still taking hold, despite reports that the recession is now over, evenings at home are more popular than ever. Events in the home need provisions and consumers are keen to pick up sharing bags and multi-buy deals.

Something sweet…

According to Mars, as the economic climate continues to hit consumers’ pockets, many people are choosing not to eat out, but rather to have dinner in and watch a DVD at home. In fact, 41% of Britions now spend every evening at home.

Mars has seen growth for several of its confectionery categories; in particular ‘share’ lines such as bitesize and block products are performing well and the bitesize sector is worth pound;464m.

In August Mars launched a promotion with a one in ten chance to win a DVD in association with Warner Bros. The offer is running across 19 Mars bitesize SKUs in singles, pouch and large pouch.

Bep Sandhu, trade relations manager of Mars, says: “This is a ground-breaking promotion for us. Bitesize sharing has added pound;3m in value to the total impulse market over the past year – more than any other category.

There is growing popularity is sharing chocolate, and the large number of SKUs in this promotion means we can offer our consumers an extremely strong chance of continuing to enjoy our products and winning a DVD. More people are choosing to stay at home in the evenings meaning they will be looking for more in-home entertainment. The promotion gives Mars a great opportunity to engage with consumers with an offer they can enjoy with family and friends from the sofa.”

This year Mars has added to the pouch format by introducing More to Share pouches which are 60% larger than regular pouches.

According to Mars, some depots carry as many as 1,500 lines of confectionery and this wealth of choice can sometimes make it difficult for retailers to select the products they want.

Sandhu says: “In order to maximise sales, confectionery displays should reflect shopper behaviour and at times like these when nights close in and low-cost shared treats are foremost in consumer minds, wholesalers should be sure to stock up on the categories retailers are going to want in-store. Lines for sharing such as bitesize and block chocolate such as Galaxy are the ideal items to stock to capitalise on this trend.”

Graham Walker, trade communications manager of Nestl eacute; UK, says: “Our range of sharing bags give consumers the chance to buy their favourite brands in a format that makes them easier to share with friends and family. Confectionery to share is a growing consumer trend, and retailers looking to capitalise should ensure they stock a range of sharing bags from big brands which suit a variety of consumers’ needs. Plus, to maximise sales, ensure they are displayed in a high traffic areas.”

According to Nestl eacute;, sharing bags are the second biggest confectionery opportunity after impulse confectionery and stocking a range of brands which cater for both adults and children can help maximise sales.

Both Aero Bubbles and Toffee Crisp Clusters were launched in January and since 2005 Rowntree’s sweets have contained no artificial colours or flavours.

Kate Harding, trade communications manager for Cadbury, says: “Sugar bags are currently worth just under pound;438.5m and are a great sharing offering for a big night in. Cadbury is the lead branded manufacturer of sugar confectionery with sales of pound;93.8m and a 21% value share. This is mainly driven by strong performances from Bassett’s and Maynards.”

Earlier in the year Cadbury launched a new bitesize range of Clusters, Raisins and Peanuts in Cadbury chocolate as well as a re-design for Cadbury Giant Buttons.

Harding adds: “By positioning sharing products from different categories in a dedicated ‘big night in’ area, wholesalers can encourage retailers to buy all the products they need to create a big night in display.”

Sue Garfitt, head of insights, category and marketing planning at Burton’s Foods, says the launch of the modern foil pouches for Maryland, Jammie Dodgers and Cadbury Fingers is a move that will firmly place biscuits in the 21st Century.

Garfitt says: “At Burton’s we’re always looking for ways to push the biscuit category forward, making it more relevant to today’s consumer.”

She adds that in-home entertaining has increased with more consumers coming back to eating in home. “Burton’s biscuits offer a little treat to make consumers feel better.”

She adds that the option to have biscuits gives consumers more choice, as they may not want to consume a bag of confectionery. The pouches are designed to put biscuits into new locations and can be displayed in many places that consumers link with big nights in, such as the confectionery aisle in-store and in forecourts or Blockbusters.

Burton’s is continuing with adverts on TV and Garfitt says that Burton’s is a signpost brand for the category.

Charlotte Hambling, senior marketing manager of R R, says: “The ice cream market has gone from strength-to-strength this year with the total take home market worth pound;676m, up in value by 8.6% over the last 12 weeks and the total ice cream category is growing by pound;23m annually. The success of the category in 2009 has been underpinned by an increase in penetration, with more UK households purchasing ice cream and customers buying more often.

“Premium tubs and individual ice cream, the two key sectors associated with nights in at home, are worth pound;226m and pound;225m respectively and growing at 1.5% and 4.3%. Kelly’s of Cornwall is the fastest growing brand in ice cream, +40% year on year. Thornton’s luxury chocolate sticks are making real in-roads into the sectors in the wholesale market and are perfectly positioned to appeal for nights in at home, as they are seen by consumers as a really indulgent treat.”

According to R R, the family tubs market has returned to growth by 5% and the Lyons Maid brand is also experiencing a resurgence of growth.

Snacks

According to United Biscuits UK, the bagged snacks sharing market is now worth pound;518m, and growing by 8%.

Nick Stuart, commercial manager at UBUK, says: “To ensure wholesalers reach their full profit potential with the big night in opportunity, it is critical that they have a well stocked display of the top-selling crisp and snack variants, as well as a range of new products that have good on-shelf stand out to attract interest from their customers. We’ve developed certain products that tap into this market, particularly the sharing formats of some of our most popular ranges, such as Phileas Fogg and McCoy’s Tortillas.

“Wholesalers should view both crisps and other bagged snacks as staples of the big night in market. They are convenient and seen as inexpensive treats by consumers, which is great news for wholesalers.”

UBUK suggests that its Phileas Fogg range and its KP Nuts range are the perfect snacks for a big night in.

PepsiCo added to its range of snacks products with the introduction of premium crisps range Red Sky in February. Red Sky is made using 100% natural ingredients.

Kirk Tanner, vice president of impulse UK and Ireland for Walkers, says: “Sharing formats offer impulse retailers the biggest opportunity for incremental sales. The investment we are putting behind the brand is a further statement of our commitment to sharing and to the opportunity it presents to the impulse channel. We know staying in is the new going out and consumers are looking for high quality sharing products like Red Sky. We are confident this product will drive consumers into stores – it will be the biggest and most important product launch in the sharing category this year.”

PepsiCo has also been running promotions on its Doritos range including trips to Vegas and a Doritos advert broadcast into space.

Paul Lettice, trade communications manager of Procter and Gamble, says: “Large sharing snacking occasions are driving trial and frequency of purchase across the entire snacks category as consumers seek to maximise the quality of the social time they spend with friends and family. Pringles is currently the leading large sharing snacks brand, worth pound;152m in retail sales and growing ahead of the segment.

“Snacks are therefore an increasingly key category for convenience retailers, and in particular large sharing options, as socialising at home becomes more frequent in the current economic climate. As consumers continue to trade nights out for staying in ‘treating’ guests with food and drinks is even more of a focus. Secondary sitings of ‘night in’ products such as snacks, soft drinks and confectionery can help to boost sales and overall basket spend.”

P G recently launched Pringles Xtreme, designed to attract 16-24 year old males. The four flavours aim to offer something different to the sharing snacks.

Soft drinks

Amanda Grabham, marketing communications controller at Shloer, says: “The big night in actually covers a whole host of different occasions. It’s not just a male domain to watch footie – and, in fact women are just as likely or even more likely to socialise at home.

“Some occasions will be planned and some will be spontaneous, generating incremental sales in the impulse channel, but there will always be the need to offer soft drink options – whether it’s for guests who don’t drink alcohol, for those who are driving, or for mums-to-be. Shloer is the perfect accompaniment to all social occasions.”

This year Shloer has teamed up with the DVD and games rental service Lovefilm.com for a second time to insert coupons into selected DVDs. This year 50,000 coupons offering pound;1 off a bottle of Shloer have been sent out with romantic comedy genre films.

Shloer has also recently redesigned its bottles, aiming to update its look and introduced a new Ros eacute; variant.

According to Red Bull, the energy drinks market is worth more than pound;524m and growing at 6%.

Tom Smith, trade communications manager of Red Bull, says: “The trend towards drinking at home provides a massive opportunity for retailers to take advantage of by stocking relevant products that cater to consumers preparing for a night in. An effective way to do this is to offer a multipack alternative to single cans and communicate the occasion it would be good for. The Red Bull four pack, for example, is a popular take home product which can be enjoyed at a party or to get people ready for a night out.”

“Now worth nearly pound;178m, Red Bull is becoming increasingly popular at home. Cash and carries and retailers alike should consider dual siting it next to other popular big night in products, especially spirits to help boost incremental sales.”

Something to drink…

Shaun Heyes, head of customer marketing (off trade) and category marketing for Scottish and Newcastle, says: “More and more consumers are choosing to socialise at home and the wholesale channel can benefit from this growing market.

“S N UK’s innovation for the off-trade, Kronenbourg 1664 with Dynamo Syst eacute;me and Foster’s with in-can Scuba premiumises the canned lager category by delivering higher prices. Our premium lager offering, the Heineken Draughtkeg, is also an appealing choice for consumers shopping for social occasions like the big night in, and its format and quality will drive trial and profit.”

According to S N, everyday cider remains the strongest sub-sector in the cider category and Strongbow is the number one cider within impulse.

Heyes adds: “S N UK supplies the UK’s leading power brands in the long alcoholic drinks category and we invest heavily in communicating our strength in the off-trade to drive sales in the impulse channel through wholesale. S N UK has worked hard to build relationships with wholesalers and as a result they are usually very good at selling and getting behind S N UK products. Our aim is to effectively communicate our activity and industry insight to demonstrate that our portfolio supports consumer trends. As a result, cash and carries will be knowledgeable about S N UK products in order to recommend them to retailers.”

Debs Carter, marketing director for Beverage Brands, says: “As a brand WKD is all about sharing good times with friends. The brand is ideally placed as a key offering for anyone looking to maximise the sales opportunities presented by home gatherings.

“WKD consumers aren’t ones to plan anything in their lives a long way in advance, let alone their shopping; independent stores are their saviours. Having grown up in an era of convenience and instant gratification, when they decide they want something, these consumers want it readily available.”

Beverage Brands suggests that the WKD 70cl ARTDs are ideal for big nights in, as they can be shared with friends.

Beverage Brands has also recently launched its WKD Core apple cider, which aims to fill a gap in the market.

Carter adds: “Independents can be sure to give their customers WKD nights in during the months ahead by ensuring that they have plenty of chilled stock available and by locating accompaniments, such as crisps and light bites to share, near the drinks fixtures, and wholesalers should ensure that these offerings are equally prominently displayed.”

Consumers may also choose to have a glass of wine at home. To develop this Constellation Europe has launched a Chilean wine Gran Tierra. David Cunningham, vice president business development for Constellation Europe, says: “While Chile is performing very well, there is room for further growth. We see a huge opportunity in the launch of Gran Tierra, particularly for cash and carries and their customers because convenience stores are where every day, mainstream wine brands at competitive price points tend to thrive. Consumers are at the heart of everything we do and, as our research reveals, there is a demand for Chilean wines to be more available and easier to find. A ‘big brand’ wine such as Gran Tierra will meet this need.”

As well as Gran Tierra, Constellation Europe has launched a new wine range, Hardys Bin 53. It has been designed to appeal to the ‘Routiner’ consumer, with busy family lives who enjoy drinking wine at home regularly to relax. It will be supported with TV adverts until December.

Clare Griffiths, vice president sales and marketing of Constellation Europe, says: “The wholesale channel is very important to Constellation and will continue to be so.

“The current climate is still tough and means more people are doing top-up shops at their local store. Local retailers need to take advantage of this by stocking brands consumers know and love at competitive prices.”

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=== tobacco ===

Iain Watkins, trade communications manager at Imperial Tobacco UK, says: “Imperial Tobacco advises wholesalers to recognise and adapt their best selling ranges across all categories and ensure they have adequate stocks of their best selling lines. The distributive trade should also encourage retailers to highlight, and group together where possible, home entertaining products such as pizzas, snacks, confectionery products and alcohol to protect existing tobacco category sales and ensure they protect their turnover.”

Imperial Tobacco launched JPS Sliver last year and roll your own tobacco (RYO) has also seen success over the last six years. According to Imperial Tobacco, in the last 12 months, RYO volumes increased by over 13% and the segment generated pound;825m in turnover last year.

Watkins adds: “The importance of this trend should be recognised along with the fact that the RYO segment has become increasingly accessible to female adult smokers as the traditional demographic of the typical RYO smoker has changed forever.”

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