Love hearts comp winner

If you opened a packet of Swizzels’ Love Hearts you probably wouldn’t expect to find a message on the sweets saying: ‘Check UR Boobs’. But if you were handed a pack by breast cancer survivor Rachael Griffiths, that is exactly what you would get.

That’s because Griffiths was one of seven winners of Swizzels’ Love Hearts 70th anniversary competition.

The confectionery company received more than 12,000 entries from Love Hearts fans all keen to get their own message embossed onto the sweets.

The other six winners opted for these messages: 50 Years S&B, This is Bob, We’ve got this, Swins Star, Making a Memory and MSH Staff Rock – all of which have special meaning for the individual winners.

Claire Lee, senior brand manager at Swizzels, said they were blown away by the number of entries they received. “Selecting winners from such an amazing pool of entries was no easy feat! But we’re beyond honoured to share the stories of our lovely winners and shout about all that they do by bringing their exclusive Love Hearts messages to life. Swizzels isn’t just a brand – it’s a part of British culture and we’re proud to celebrate all the admirable achievements and special moments of our nation.”

Consumers’ love of retro sweets has obviously helped sales of Love Hearts, a brand that has been around since 1954. However, Swizzels is enjoying great success with another brand – Squashies – which was launched much more recently, just 12 years ago in 2012.

Lee at Swizzels, takes up the story: “Squashies were invented in 2012 by taking some of our fans’ favourite Swizzels flavours and creating uniquely soft and foamy sweets. Since their creation, Squashies have continued to grow in popularity, and we have responded by adding more fantastic flavours to keep the range exciting and appeal to an even-broader demographic.”

squashies strawberry and cream

Strawberry & Cream

Today, Circana figures reveal that the Squashies brand is worth £52.5m and it is the number one sugar hanging bag brand in the market. The sweets come in Original Drumstick, Bubblegum, Sour Cherry & Apple, Rhubarb & Custard, and Banana & Blueberry varieties plus a new Strawberry & Cream flavour, which was launched in May.

And last year, to support the continued success of Squashies, Swizzels opened an additional factory in Cheshire, to meet growing demand and to develop new products.

Squashies had its first-ever TV ad launch last month, which showcased the full range and supported the roll out of the new Strawberry & Cream flavour.

The TV ad will be amplified by an intensive social media campaign that will run across Swizzels’ channels throughout the summer together, with national sampling activity.

Barratt fruit salad rope

Novelty boost

Back to older brands again and confectionery distributor World of Sweets, is encouraging retailers to stock up on a new range of products from Barratt.

The new products are extensions to the Wham, Fruit Salad and Dip Dab brands.

Their relevance in today’s marketplace is highlighted by Circana data which reveals that Barratt is enjoying significant year-on-year growth and is now worth £28.3m.

Wham Flash & Dip Pop is a new novelty line comprising a sour raspberry lolly which consumers dip in candy starburst. Meanwhile, Wham Rope, is a sour raspberry flavour soft candy rope covered in sour mini bites. There is also a Fruit Salad Rope which is a raspberry & pineapple flavoured soft candy rope covered in fruity mini bites.

The Dip Dab Duo Twist has a lemon flavour sherbet alongside a strawberry flavour candy spray. The novelty treat is vegan friendly and contains no artificial colours and flavours. It will be available in mid-August.

Donna Landman, senior brand manager at World of Sweets, says the new products are great for retailers looking to grow their novelty and impulse confectionery lines to maximise unplanned purchases.

“The new range from Barratt is the perfect choice for consumers seeking nostalgic flavours with a modern twist.

“Wham, Fruit Salad and Dip Dab are household brands where consumers know they’ll be in for a delicious treat when they spot the products on the shelves.

“What’s great is that the new lines can help maintain the loyal customer base but also expand it to new audiences seeking an exciting new confectionery snack.

“The Wham and Fruit Salad brands have had fantastic growth year-on-year. It’s great to see this celebrated through the release of new products.

“We always encourage retailers to stock up on exciting new ranges so shoppers have a fresh selection of tasty treats ready to greet them in stores.”

skittles gooey

Unexpected tastes

Brand extensions rather than brand-new products are leading the charge in sugar confectionery, none more so than Mars Wrigley’s launch of Skittles Giants Gooey, which the confectionery giant is describing as its ‘most ambitious NPD to date’.

Skittles Giants Gooey are soft, fruity-flavoured giant sweets with a gooey citrus core, which is said to deliver a ‘tangy hit of zestiness’.

Mars Wrigley says the innovation taps into the trend for fun and unexpected tastes, while capitalising on the growth in fruit-inspired confectionery. The company reckons half of all Skittles Giants Gooey sales and 60% of shoppers will be incremental to the category.

There are five flavours in each bag: Strawberry, Lime, Lemon, Blackcurrant and Orange. And there are two pack formats: a 109g treat bag for the impulse channel and a 125g pouch for grocery and discounters.

Alice Maramotti, Skittles senior brand manager, comments: “We have a track record of pushing flavour, taste and texture boundaries to help drive category innovation, excitement and growth.

“Last year we had Skittles Desserts and before that, Skittles Squishy Cloudz in Fruits and Crazy Sours flavours. These unique tastes and textures sit at the heart of our innovation pipeline and bring a sense of fun to the category. By extending the Skittles Giants range, for which 40% of shoppers are incremental to the category, we will drive frequency and penetration among shoppers looking for a flavour adventure with a burst of intensity.”

The launch will be supported by a fully integrated marketing campaign, including paid and earned media, OOH and sampling, to raise awareness, encourage trial and drive purchase.

Bobby's painter pop

Familiar yet fresh

Carmelina Mancini, marketing manager at Bobby’s, believes it is imperative for retailers to diversify their offerings, incorporating a mix of traditional favourites alongside innovative products catering to changing consumer preferences.

“The rise of Newstalgia, which embodies the desire for something familiar yet fresh, underscores the importance of introducing new and exciting flavours that evoke a sense of nostalgia while offering a novel eating experience.

“Moreover, one trend on social media sees people actively seeking out new and exciting sweets and showcasing their discoveries and indulgences to their followers. Retailers can leverage this trend by stocking unique and Instagram-worthy confectionery items that capture the attention of social media users. By aligning with both the Newstalgia trend and the social media trend, retailers can stay ahead of the curve and meet the evolving demands of their customers.”

New products from Bobby’s include the Mini Gumball Machine, filled with an assortment of fruit-flavoured bubblegum balls; the Mega Squeeze Painter Pop, a Bobby’s Foods exclusive, this delivers a blend of gooey sour gel in a lollipop; and Trinketto Beach, which has soft liquid candy coming from a bottle.

Meanwhile, Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Mondelēz International, says: “We know that a focus on fun and innovation is particularly important to the category, as shoppers are always looking for something new and exciting at the confectionery fixture. We also know that products that remind consumers of the past and tie into the nostalgia trend resonate particularly well with many audiences. With that in mind, we’re excited to be combining innovation and nostalgia later this year with a brand-new Maynards Bassetts launch – soon to be revealed!”

wrigley watermelon

What else is new?

Following a successful trial in Tesco last year, Mars Wrigley is rolling out Extra Sugarfree Watermelon to other retailers.

The launch is backed by a £2.1m campaign media spend supporting the total fruit range including Refreshers.

Over-indexing with millennials and Gen Z audiences, fruity gum is the fastest-growing gum segment with a 25% increased rate of sale. A third of fruity gum shoppers only buy fruity gum, and 70% of fruity gum growth has been incremental to the gum category (Live data).

Lucy Sherlock, senior brand manager for Extra, says: “We’ve observed a surge in the popularity of fruity gum, now the fastest growing gum segment. Watermelon is our strategic response to this trend, meeting current consumer preferences while attracting a new, younger audience with an expanded range of fruity flavours.

“We’re supporting the launch with a new national campaign giving shoppers a chance to win mood-boosting breaks when they vote for their favourite fruity flavour.”

chupa chups belts

Chupa Chups has moved into the extruded jellies market with the launch of a new belts and laces range. Tapping into the growing demand for sour and fruity sweets, the range comprises Sour Mixed Belts, Sour Apple Belts, Sour Strawberry Belts and Strawberry Laces.

A social media campaign supports the launch, ensuring awareness among the key teen shopper demographic.

Kim McMahon, brand manager at Chupa Chups, says: “Shoppers are looking for more excitement from their favourite lollipop brand, and our latest launch is perfectly positioned to satisfy cravings for bold and sour flavours, offer more variety in the category and delight existing fans of iconic Chupa Chups flavours.”

“With the overall laces, belts and wands category now valued at £91m and experiencing a remarkable growth rate of +19% (Circana), Chupa Chups is poised to capture an even larger share of this expanding market – stock up now!”

Another new launch from Chupa Chups is of Big Babol Magic Cubes – colour-changing bubble-gum.

The launch comes at a time when Chupa Chups Big Babol is currently outperforming the market, growing at +23%, with the total category worth £17m and growing at a rate of 10% (Circana).