Some suppliers are saying sales of sugar confectionery are up slightly and others are saying the market’s flat, but one thing they are all agreed on is that hanging bags are the big sales success story for forecourts. That’s because in cars up and down the country, glove boxes are full of sweets – there to help relieve boredom and aid concentration on tedious journeys.
Cadbury Trebor Bassett’s (CTB) head of customer relations, Mike Tipping, says: “Hanging bags are ideal for forecourt shoppers. They can be for self consumption over a long journey or for all the family to share.” However, he adds that many forecourts don’t give enough space to hanging bags. “Retailers need to remember that these bags retail at upwards of £1.35 so they’re putting a lot of cash through the till. Also once the retailer has allocated space they need to make sure they are stocked up with hanging bags at all times.”
According to Graham Walker, sales communications manager at Nestlé Rowntree, hanging bags represent the biggest summer sales opportunity for sugar confectionery: “They’re great for day trips and holidays and sell particularly well in forecourts.”
He reckons the company’s grab bag stand is ideal for forecourts as it’s only two facings wide but research has shown that it can increase bag sales by up to 50%.
The company has two new hanging bag lines this summer: jungle mix and scary sours.
Of course big bags of sweets are just too big for some consumers, which is why Haribo has launched two new Kiddie’s Super Mix lines. The 10p and 25p pocket-money bags join the existing Tangfastics and Starmix mini bags.
Per Henérius, Haribo’s managing director, explains: “The success of Tangfastics and Starmix in this format shows there is strong demand for such packs. They are popular because they reflect the pocket-money spending power of children and have strong appeal to them as occasional treats.”
Sales director Rory Goodwin chips in: “We’re finding that more and more forecourts are selling kids confectionery in small bags and because shelf fittings in forecourts have changed so dramatically in recent years, everything needs to be in bags. The quality and freshness is much better as well.”
Goodwin adds that his company is helping retailers cater for changing consumer tastes by developing innovative new brands that have huge appeal to confectionery lovers.
He points to a recent example – bagged Strawbs. “Our research shows that gums and jellies consumers are looking for softer sweets, more intense flavours and natural ingredients and we have taken this into account when developing new lines.
“Haribo Strawbs is a strawberry-shaped jelly sweet containing real strawberry juice and has an even more intense fruit flavour than Giant Strawbs from which it was developed.
“Giant Strawbs is in fact our best-selling countline – we sell more than 2.5 million of them every week – and we are confident the new bagged line will prove just as successful.
“We are also refreshing our Maoam Stripes range to respond to the trend for stronger flavours by replacing the lemon variant with a new tangy apple flavour.”
Nestlé Rowntree is enjoying good growth in forecourts, particularly from its fruit lines like Fruit Gums.
Concerns over health are an issue for every single food group which is why Nestlé has launched its Get Real initiative which sees the entire Rowntree’s range switching to using more fruit juice and absolutely no artificial colours or flavours. The move takes in Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, Fruit Gums, Jelly Tots and Tooty Frooties, and will be highlighted on pack.
Meanwhile Haribo has introduced an on-pack food facts panel, which includes a recommended serving (40g). Says Rory Goodwin: “We plan to make other changes to the range where possible and take out all artificial colours from our sweets. We’ve already done that to Goldbears and Cola Bottles.”
Goodwin says the company’s Mallows have enjoyed massive sales growth because they are fat free – a message that is communicated via a “Fat free” flash on-pack.
Another Nestlé line that’s selling well is Fruity Smarties. Says Graham Walker: “Smarties brand sales overall are up 30% fuelled by Fruity Smarties.”
Meanwhile CTB’s Mike Tipping says Sports Mixture and Midget Gems’ recent move from Lion branding to Maynards is working really well because the products are benefiting from better distribution. A comprehensive direct mail shot and a regional poster campaign have supported the changeover plus the products will benefit nationally from the £3m TV advertising campaign that’s promoting the Maynards masterbrand.
Tipping reports that Bassett’s Fruit Allsorts continue to perform exceptionally well. Plus he says there’s no steal at all from standard Liquorice Allsorts sales: “Fruit Allsorts were launched to bring new users into the Allsorts brand and that’s what they have done.”
Sales are likely to be further boosted over the summer thanks to a £1.7m TV campaign.
One sugar confectionery line that’s benefiting from a major relaunch is Chewits, which is getting contemporary new pack designs, new variants, and an improved recipe.
Leaf UK’s aim is to grow the brand from £20m to £30m by 2008. It plans to do this by appealing to kids in the 11-14-year-old age group while at the same time retaining the current brand appeal among five to 10-year-olds.
Recipe improvements include the addition of real fruit juice to enhance the flavours.
A new orange variant has been added to the stickpack range, which also includes strawberry, blackcurrant and fruit salad.
Chewits stickpacks have a deliberately low recommended retail price of 25p. Leaf’s managing director, Tony Camp, explains: “Most of our competitors’ products are priced at around 30p but we know from our research that kids try to make their pocket money stretch as far as possible, so we have maintained a low price while making the product more appealing to them.”
A newcomer to the Chewits Xtreme range is hot lime, which joins sour apple, tutti frutti and lemon flavours.
Ideal for forecourts are Chewits Minis which come packed in 150g hanging bags with a recommended retail price of 99p.
On-pack, Chewits’ brand ambassador ‘Chewie the dinosaur’ will take centre stage while the Chewits logo size has been increased.
A TV advertising campaign together with sampling and in-store marketing activity supports the relaunch.
A big new line for forecourts has got to be the Rowntree’s sugar-free lolly – the first non-mint sugar-free line from the company. It is available from July 25 and comes in three flavours: strawberry, blackberry and orange, with a recommended retail price of 28p.
Says Graham Walker: “Although principally aimed at kids, we’ve found that adults love it too. When we put some out on display in our offices in York they disappeared within hours and everywhere you went there were people with white lolly sticks sticking out of their mouths.”
It’s obviously an ideal impulse purchase and Nestlé is helping with display by providing retailers with outers that can sit flat on a shelf or upright with gravity feed.
Says Walker: “This means that regardless of fixture the outers will work for the retailer. It’s the first time we’ve offered something like this and I’m sure it’s going to be well received.”