You might think that chocolate sells itself but according to Bep Dhaliwal, trade communications manager, at Mars Chocolate UK, there’s more you can do to help increase sales. "It’s a mature category that delivers good returns but you can help increase your shoppers’ basket spend," she says. Dhaliwal believes good category merchandising coupled with product availability can tempt shoppers to pick up more chocolate.

"The run-up to the till is often where you’ll find confectionery in the forecourt store so it’s a critical space. It needs to be merchandised well with the key lines for forecourts such as Snickers Duo, Mars Duo and Twix Xtra."

These are Mars’ bigger bars for bigger appetites typically meaning men but Dhaliwal says stores should also make room for pouches and bitesize treats to cater for all shoppers and shopping occasions.

"Think about shopper missions whether people are running in during the day for a quick, easy fix or are on their way home from work, planning a big night in. Then there are the people on long journeys who are looking for sharing packs."

"Lots of people visiting a forecourt store will be on their way home from work; they’ll be thinking about their night in and looking for products to enjoy chocolate is a good fit for this and we encourage dual siting pouches and larger blocks for these occasions. We can supply the kit to display these products in the right locations. We also have till point units to accommodate core lines so we can help retailers make the most of sales opportunities."

Oldies but goodies

Dhaliwal continues: "Some of the top 10 chocolate lines have been around for a long time but they still sell very well and they have a lot of support behind them. Retailers need to stock the brands that are heavily supported by advertising on a regular ongoing basis."

Galaxy, for instance, which is supported by TV advertising for 44 weeks this year.

"These lines need to be physically available because they’re front of mind with consumers, which means retailers can benefit from the advertising support. Retailers need to recognise that their customers will be looking for these advertised lines," explains Dhaliwal.

She adds that retailers need to make the most of any new lines that are available too such as Galaxy salted caramel or the limited-edition Mars Xtra Choc. "I’d always encourage retailers to take all the point of sale that’s available and use it to create some theatre and excitement in store."

Dhaliwal reports that the Galaxy block range continues to sell well. "Typically people think it’s women who love Galaxy but men like it too so much so that consumption is split almost 50:50 men to women," she says.

Mars has invested heavily in its sales force, with 400 people on the ground particularly targeting the independents. "They offer merchandising advice, distribute point of sale and point out how retailers can make the most from dual siting.

"The field team can talk to retailers about the best promotional mechanics, whether that’s ’two for a price’ or something else. We do encourage retailers to think about these sales opportunities and we will support them. That could mean chocolate as part of a meal deal or as a sweet snack with a coffee we have kit that sits nicely with a hot drink machine, for example. Whatever you choose, it needs to be merchandised impactfully."

From deals to promotions, and Dhaliwal reports that the £1 packs Mars offers are selling well and driving incremental sales.

"They represent a massive investment for us as a supplier but we need to provide the right tools for retailers and these include value packs. Chocolate can be seen as a measure of price across a whole store so it’s good to communicate value. Price-marked packs (PMPs) help instil the value message."

Mondelez International is pushing the value message too with the launch of Cadbury Dairy Milk (CDM) Giant Buttons and Bitsa Wispa in new 80g £1 PMPs. And the firm’s successful CDM with Oreo and CDM with Daim are available in £1.29 PMPs.

Mondelez International, trade communications manager, Susan Nash comments: "When it comes to your PMP range, there are a number of variables to take into consideration. Factors to be considered include product format, product category, unit price, customer profile, seasonality, frequency of purchase and store environment.

"Confectionery is an appropriate range for PMPs as it is such an impulsive category 97% of chocolate singles consumers would buy a PMP, and most plan to buy more or the same amount (him! research). Retailers should make sure they have a great display in key areas, so consumers can see PMPs and to maximise impulse purchasing 68% of shoppers don’t see confectionery while in store, but of those who do, 80% usually purchase (Kraft research)."

Meanwhile, the new Galaxy salted caramel bars that Dhaliwal mentioned are available now in 48g singles (rrp 60p) and larger 135g bars (rrp £1.39). At the same time, the entire Galaxy Caramel Collection range has redesigned packaging for better shelf stand out.

The launch of the salted caramel bar and the Caramel Collection redesign are supported by a host of point-of-sale material, including dumpbins, floor-standing display units, counter-top units, hook-over news units, as well as posters and wobblers.

The confectionery companies love their limited editions which means consumers must love them too! The latest from Nestlé is a limited-edition Toffee Crisp honeycomb which was launched mid-February and is available exclusively in the wholesale and convenience channel. It’s on sale for just 12 weeks so you’ll need to stock up fast.

Honeycomb flavours are proving popular with consumers, with honeycomb confectionery growing ahead of the category. Penetration has increased 14% in the past year and has contributed an extra £6m in sales to the category (Kantar). What’s more, in product testing, the honeycomb flavour also scored highest of any new flavour options with Toffee Crisp’s consumers. And it seems there are more Toffee Crisp consumers about as, according to IRI, the brand is now worth £31m and in the past year has seen 21% sales growth.

Meanwhile, Dhaliwal says she expects Mars Xtra Choc to be the most successful Mars limited edition to date. "It builds on the success of Triple Choc in 2011 and consumer research has shown a higher purchase intent for Xtra Choc versus Triple Choc," she explains.

Finally, there’s currently a limited-edition Kinder Bueno Dark available now, which is a dark chocolate version of the popular countline.

Ferrero customer development director, Levi Boorer, says: "Limited editions are really effective in attracting new shoppers to the brand and also to the chocolate category.

Kinder Bueno Classic now ranks as the third most popular chocolate countline in the UK (Nielsen), and as 23% of consumers actually favour dark chocolate above milk and white, we wanted to offer them a chance to enjoy our brand with their preferred choice of chocolate."

Kinder Bueno is also benefiting from a partnership with nail polish brand Nails Inc where consumers get £5 off by simply presenting their Kinder Bueno wrapper at any Nails Inc salon, or by entering their unique code online at

They also have the chance to win one of 5,000 limited-edition nail polishes, available in Bueno Orange and Bueno Mink shades.

All’s fair in mars chocolate

Mars Chocolate UK kicked off Fairtrade Fortnight (February 23-March 8) with the news that it is extending its global partnership with The Fairtrade Foundation with a commitment to source Fairtrade certified cocoa for all Mars bars in the UK and Ireland by the autumn.
Mars is the first UK company to announce a commitment under the new Fairtrade Cocoa Sourcing Programme, which specifically aims to deliver more opportunities for cocoa farmers to sell on Fairtrade terms and connect them with businesses that actively support efforts to improve farmers’ livelihoods.
In 2009, Mars was the first global chocolate company to commit to certify its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner by 2020. In the UK, this new commitment builds on the success of Mars’ partnership with Fairtrade on Maltesers announced in 2011 and the Fairtrade Cocoa Sourcing programme model which was launched in partnership with Mars Chocolate Germany and the Twix brand in 2014. It will take the total premiums paid by Mars globally to Fairtrade cocoa cooperatives in West Africa to over US$2m per year by 2016.
Blas Maquivar, president, Mars Chocolate UK, says: "I’m really proud that our iconic Mars bar brand is at the forefront of Fairtrade’s new Cocoa Sourcing Programme. It’s a crucial next step in our global commitment to certify that 100% of our cocoa has been produced in a sustainable manner by 2020 and it means that all three of our top UK chocolate brands now source certified cocoa, supporting farmers to improve productivity and yields and ultimately leading to improved income and better quality of life for farmers."

Brand news

Maltesers is calling on the nation to help it raise £1m for Comic Relief with a new campaign encouraging everyone to ’Bake Yourselves Silly’ for a good cause. Maltesers currently feature baking-themed packaging across all formats including singles, big bag, treat bag, pouches and boxes as well as the Teasers singles, blocks and three-packs.
The nation’s favourite chocolate Cadbury Dairy Milk is back on TV in a campaign that encourages consumers to explore and rediscover the full range of bars. The £7m campaign also includes PR, outdoor, digital and significant in-store and sampling activity.
Christmas line Terry’s Chocolate Orange Milk Chocolate Minis will be available all year round from this month onwards.
Cadbury Dairy Milk has a new countline for the mid-morning snacking occasion Cadbury Dairy Milk Oat Crunch in a 30g pack, which combines oaty biscuits with milk chocolate.
Mars Chocolate UK is supporting Mars with a new campaign that celebrates the little opportunities to win in everyday life. The advertising highlights the universal joy at the little day-to-day wins anything from getting the last seat on the bus to your luggage coming out first on the airport carousel. There’s a £10m investment behind the campaign, which aims to reach 95% of the UK population and put the brand on air three times more than in 2014 effectively it will be on air every other week.
New advertising is under way for Kit Kat. The Celebrate the Breaks campaign centres on celebrating each individual’s unique break moment, whether it’s having a cuppa, socialising, checking Facebook or simply doing nothing! Activity includes new TV and digital advertising with a £10m media value more than double the brand’s spend in 2014.
Kinder Chocolate is now available in bags designed for sharing or on-the-go treating. There are three varieties: Kinder Choco-Bons, Kinder Chocolate Mini and Kinder Chocolate with Cereals Mini. Rrp for each is £1.55. The launch is supported by a £1.3m TV ad featuring the tag line, ’invented for kids, loved by everyone’. There are also tailored in-store promotions and displays, shopper media and near-store sampling.