Easter just wouldn’t be the same without chocolate eggs and the manufacturer that leads the field in these eggs is Mondelez with a 44% share of the market. Indeed 82% of the UK population ate a Mondelez Easter product last Easter with Cadbury Creme Egg being the number one brand (IRI data).

As ever, marketing support for Creme Egg will begin on January 1, with the launch of a national Cadbury Creme Egg promotion ’Hunt the White Creme Egg’. This is a convenience channel exclusive, where retailers could win £1,000-worth of vouchers if a White Creme Egg is found, having been bought from their store. In addition, the Cadbury Creme Egg hunting season advertising will return to TV, supported by a digital media campaign.

January 1 may be the time to start stocking Creme Eggs but Easter itself will be later in 2019 with Easter Sunday on April 21. And according to Delia Metral, brand manager at Mondelez, timing is key to maximising the season from a ’fast start’ in January to a ’fabulous fanfare finish’ during Easter weekend.

Metral advises retailers to start the countdown to Easter with single-serve products, to tempt consumers looking to keep their spirits up after Christmas.

Chirag Shah, seasonal brand manager at Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK, agrees: "Early on in the season it is important to focus on treats. Sixty-eight per cent of shoppers who bought Easter treats agree that they like to treat themselves in January even if they’re trying to be healthier after Christmas and 70% of shoppers like a sweet treat to pick them up in January."

Shah says the Malteaster Bunny is perfect for this and in 2018 it introduced 165,000 incremental households to self-eat, making it the second most popular product in the category (Nielsen).

"Stock best-selling lines including the number one single- serve Cadbury Creme Egg and the number two brand at Easter, Cadbury Mini Eggs," is the advice from Metral who adds that retailers should stock them for the whole duration of the spring season as IRI data reveals that Mondelez single-serve products accounted for 64% of the sub category in Easter 2018.

With the run up to Easter being three weeks longer than in 2018, Nestlé believes there is a big extra sales opportunity and advises retailers to stock up on mini eggs, which are popular throughout the season and attract repeat purchases. The company says the mini eggs segment is worth £73m and is in long-term growth. And Nestlé is the fastest-growing mini eggs manufacturer, with sales up 62% year-on-year in 2018, despite the season being two weeks shorter than the previous year (IRI data).

Once again Smarties, Orange Smarties and Milkybar mini eggs will be available but new to the range are two ’more to share’ bags. The 300g Smarties mini eggs and Milkybar mini eggs bags have an rrp of £3.

In the three weeks prior to Easter, Metral says consumers are looking for gifts: "Gifting accounts for more than 60% of chocolate occasions, which demonstrates the importance of stocking shell eggs, as consumers are on the hunt for surprises and gifts for their loved-ones."

Following the success of Cadbury Dairy Milk’s Peter Rabbit plush toy this year, Mondelez is introducing Cadbury Dairy Milk’s Easter Bunny, which comes complete with a new toy. Rrp is £6.99.

"Consumers often leave it to the last minute to buy their Easter chocolate gifts," says Shah. "Fifty per cent 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."

She says retailers should be aware that shopper decisions are based on whether a product is from a recognised brand, whether it is in either a favourite or premium format, whether the price is right and how special the packaging appears.

gifting occasions

Mars Wrigley is capitalising on the successful launch of Maltesers Truffles with the launch of a Maltesers Truffles egg, rrp £8. Maltesers brand manager, Laura Edwards, says: "We are convinced the new Maltesers Truffles egg will grow the category through being perfect for those special gifting occasions, of which Easter is one of the most important. Retailers won’t want to miss the first Easter opportunity to drive sales with what is set to be a consumer favourite for years to come."

Nestlé is making a similar move with its KitKat Senses, with the launch of a premium egg, which comes complete with a mixed box of KitKat Senses chocolates.

Meanwhile, other new lines from Mondelez for 2019 include the Cadbury Creme Egg Mega Egg, rrp £4.99 and the Cadbury Heroes Easter Pouch, rrp £5.69.

And, aiming to build on the success of the inclusion range, comes the new Cadbury Crunchie inclusion egg. In addition, Cadbury Picnic gets its first-ever shell egg.

The large eggs segment continues to grow and for 2019, Nestlé is launching four new large eggs: Smarties, Rolo, Toffee Crisp and Yorkie. In addition all the large eggs old and new will come complete with two full-size impulse packs. The company says the new shape, size and design of the large egg packs will ensure better on-shelf visibility. All have an rrp of £5.41.

Also new from Nestlé are three Incredible eggs, each containing a chocolate egg with ’something special’ included in the shell. The range comprises KitKat Chunky Salted Caramel Fudge, Yorkie Raisin and Biscuit and Smarties Mini Eggs. Rrp for each is £12.

Giant eggs are also in growth up a whopping 31% from 2016 2018, according to Nestlé. New for 2019 are two giant eggs: Orange Smarties and Quality Street, rrp is £7.49.

Stocking items for Easter egg hunts is vital nowadays, as these have become very popular over the past few years. Cadbury will be supporting Easter egg hunts with a £6m campaign and will also be involved in public egg hunts via the continuation of its partnership with the National Trust.

Shoppers always expect to see the things they’ve seen advertised on TV in their local shop. As previously mentioned, Mondelez will be spending millions supporting its range.

In addition, Mars Wrigley Confectionery will be supporting its brands with three new campaigns to keep Easter treats ’front of mind’. These will be backed by a £1.2m-plus spend, which is quadruple 2018’s media budget, and will ensure that products are front of mind when going in-store.

new products

The new Cadbury Creme Egg Mega Egg is filled with Cadbury Creme Egg goodies, including three Cadbury Creme Eggs and a bag of Cadbury Creme Egg mini eggs. Rrp is £4.99 and they come six to a case. Creme Eggs generally remain as popular as ever four were sold every second between January and Easter in 2018.
The new Yorkie Raisin & Biscuit Incredible egg is a milk chocolate egg with crunchy biscuit and raisin pieces in the shell. It comes with three full-size bars of the chocolate. Rrp is £12.
Cadbury Heroes favourite Cadbury Creme Egg Twisted will be available in a new bag format, rrp £1.49.
Maltesers Truffles come in a token gift box, rrp £1.99; 200g medium gift box; rrp £4.99; and a 336g large gift box, £7.49. The chocolates were launched to extend Maltesers into an all-year-round premium gift. There is also a new Maltesers Truffles Easter egg.
Nestlé has redesigned its full spring range for 2019. A new nest design will appear centrally on the front of every pack, alongside clearer descriptions of what each pack contains inside.
Look out for new M&M’s Eggs which will be available in time for Easter. The eggs are already a best seller in the US and Australia.

Love is very much in the air

Valentine’s Day (February 14) is on a Thursday in 2019 but no matter which day it falls on, the event seems to be growing in popularity. According to Mintel we spent £620m on Valentine’s gifts in 2017 (2018 figures are not yet available), compared to the £575m spent at Easter. Food and drink eaten at home topped the list of products Brits spent the money on, reaching £128m in 2017. Jewellery came next (£112m), then flowers (£102m), then clothing or footwear (£80m). However spending on traditional Valentine’s fare was huge, with £53m spent on chocolate and another £53m spent on cards.
Mintel found that older Millennials (aged 28 to 37) were the most active Valentine’s Day spenders, with 60% of them buying gifts in 2017 and spending £81 on average. And it seems men are the bigger romantics as over half of men (53%) bought Valentine’s Day gifts in 2017 and they spent an average of £72, compared to 39% of women who spent £44 on average.
Six out of ten (59%) Valentine’s Day shoppers think retailers should offer more options to personalise gifts, while over half (55%) think that experiences make better gifts than products. They would also like more inspirational gift ideas, with more than half (53%) saying they think retailers’ suggestions in the run-up to spring/summer seasonal events (including Valentine’s Day) are boring.
Samantha Dover, retail analyst at Mintel, says: "Shoppers are looking for creative ideas ahead of February 14, especially those that go beyond the traditional lingerie, flowers and jewellery."

Retailer view: Kurtis Back, Toomeys Spar, Southend

"Easter is still the biggest Easter occasion for us. I pre-order my Easter stock six months in advance and I am always looking for the more unusual lines such as the Pot Noodle egg or Marmite egg or even salted caramel eggs.
"I don’t go overboard with these but stock just enough to make people in the shop stop and think, then buy."
"Spar do a lot of promotions so we do stock more of the ordinary type Cadbury eggs too. And we’ll definitely have Creme Eggs out on sale the day after Boxing Day!"