If you are looking for lots of exciting new confectionery lines for this Christmas you’re going to be disappointed. There are a few here and there, but mostly manufacturers are sticking to existing products that they know sell well.

Cadbury is the only one of the ’big three’ which is putting out anything new.

First up is the new ’Koko by Cadbury’ chocolates. Similar to Lindt’s popular Lindor line, Koko are milk chocolates with rich truffle melting centres. Cadbury has launched the product primarily for the female-to-female gifting market, which it has identified as a growth opportunity within the confectionery market.

Koko by Cadbury comes in a handbag-style 200g pack with a recommended retail price of £3.89.

The launch will be supported by consumer PR and sampling.

A second new line from Cadbury is Snow Bites - chocolate balls in a crispy white dusted shell. The company has high hopes for Snow Bites and expects it to become a top-selling novelty. The product comes in 100g bags, rrp 99p, in outers of 18 and in clip strips.

Kate Harding, trade communications manager at Cadbury, comments: "We have created Snow Bites in response to an opportunity we identified within the self-eat segment of the novelty category, because last year sales were up 25% on 2007, with a total value of £8.7m (Nielsen Scantrack figures). We are extremely confident about the success of Snow Bites and we expect them to be similar in appeal to Mini Eggs at Easter."

A third new launch from Cadbury is its Magical Advent calendar, so-called because the treats in the calendar get bigger the closer you get to Christmas. They start with a 4g chocolate on December 1 and end with a 16g cracker.

Onto existing lines, and Cadbury’s selection boxes, tree decorations and tubes all sport new designs. But Harding says cartons are the most relevant format for the impulse trade and retailers should focus on driving sales early in the season. Its Roses and Maynards Wine Gums cartons both sold particularly well last Christmas.

Cadbury has two exclusive packs of Roses and Heroes for the impulse channel, both with 20% extra free and rrps of £4.25.

Meanwhile there are no new products from Mars but there are a couple of new packs. The company says its Maltesers box is always a star performer at Christmas and last year it saw a 7.8% increase in sales compared to December 2007. New for 2009 is the Maltesers tree box, designed to bring new consumers into the brand.

And the 2008 TV ad for the Maltesers box will be back for Christmas 2009 as part of a total £1m media investment in the brand. Celebrations too will be backed by TV advertising.

Mars says Galaxy Mistletoe Kisses was a big success last Christmas, delivering £3.4m in sales value. However, since the product’s launch, research highlighted demand for it in a boxed format for gifting. So now it’s available in a festive premium gifting box. The brand will be backed by a consumer campaign and new point of sale.

Nestlé too has nothing new for Christmas 2009 so is concentrating on its established best sellers.

The company’s trade communications manager, Graham Walker, advises forecourt retailers to focus on a tight core range of big brands which are supported by media investment. "If you are stocking a big well-known brand then that’s a safe bet and if it’s being advertised on TV then it will be front of mind with consumers," he says. Walker reports that the My Favourites range (Big Green Triangle, Big Purple One and Big Caramel Swirl) sold particularly well in the impulse channel last year and so is a ’must-stock’ for forecourts.

He adds that a great top-up gift line for forecourts is the Giant Tubes, which retail at £1.47 each. According to Nielsen figures, sales of these were up 14% in convenience outlets last year.

Then there’s After Eight, which is currently available in a 50% extra free box but only while stocks last.

After Eight, Quality Street and Quality Street Matchmakers will all be backed by advertising in the run up to Christmas.

Kraft is one company with a new line - its retro, limited-edition Terry’s Chocolate Orange volcanic popping candy. This features Terry’s typical milk chocolate flavoured with real orange, but with pieces of popping candy inside to take customers back to their childhood. Colourful packaging has been designed for maximum shelf impact.

The popularity of Terry’s Chocolate Orange should not be under-estimated. For the third year running, Nielsen data showed growth for the product last Christmas with nearly 500,000 new consumers buying into the brand.

For 2009, Terry’s Chocolate Orange Milk is getting even more festive, with a new seasonal design. New packs feature Santa Claus standing on the rooftops on a starry night, with a cut-out in the shape of a full moon revealing the Chocolate Orange Ball within.

Louise Stigant, commercial director of convenience at Kraft Foods UK, says: "The design makes the original milk ball even more appropriate as a gift, and we hope it will prove popular with loyal fans and new customers alike."

The brand will be supported by a £2.7m spend including TV advertising, from November.

Meanwhile Toblerone 400g which, according to Nielsen data is the second largest tablet brand at Christmas, once again gets limited-edition seasonal packaging. "Toblerone is a much-loved brand, and the impactful new sleeve design makes it an ideal top-up gift. The original milk variety is still a real favourite at Christmas - particularly with men," says Stigant.

Sticking with Toblerone, and Toblerone Tinys feature a promotion. Tinys comprise a selection of miniature milk, dark and white chocolates but inside special promotional packs, consumers can hunt for a special Golden Tiny. Anyone who finds one can visit the website (www.toblerone.co.uk) to claim one of 300 presents.

In addition, Toblerone will be supported by a £4.3m media investment this year - a 30% increase on 2008.

There are new lines from Lindt, including Lindt Creation Hot bags. There are two varieties: cranberry & chilli and orange & pepper. They comprise cranberry and orange pieces coated in 70% dark chocolate flavoured with hot chilli and hot pepper. Rrp is £3.49.

Also new are the Lindor star and tree tins. Rrp is £4.99. Lindor also comes in a new Christmas tree tin with crystals, rrp £7.99. Plus there’s the Lindt Magical Milk bar - a milk chocolate bar with a milk filling, rrp 69p.

Like Nestlé’s Walker, Ferrero’s customer development controller Levi Boorer recommends that forecourt retailers stick to tried and trusted packs that sell. He says Ferrero Rocher is the number one gifting product in forecourts and therefore represents a lower risk premium gifting opportunity.

"In the heyday of a strong economy, you’d find shelves filled with truffles and unusual assortments, now it’s all about brands that consumers know and trust," he explains.

"Some retailers see premium gift lines as a risk but the packs we offer give significant profit for forecourt retailers.

"Forecourts do much better on bigger packs than some other outlets. Our 32-piece Collection pack, which retails at £7.99, is our best-selling premium line in forecourts followed by our 24-piece Ferrero Rocher pack, which retails at £5.99." He says the 32-piece should be sold at full price because price is not the reason for purchase. "If forecourt retailers sell it at full price, it keeps the equity of the brand and provides them with a profitable pack."

At the other end of the scale, Ferrero offers a four-piece Rocher pack, which retails at £1.25 and is a good token gift.

And Boorer reckons the dark chocolate 12-piece Rondnoir has potential for forecourts as it’s been popular with men.

Ferrero will be supporting its range with a £4m marketing spend for Christmas 2009. The company says its support campaign has ensured that Ferrero Rocher continues to be a favourite of the important 50-plus customer, but it has also increased penetration in younger age groups.

Ferrero is also boosting its Kinder range this Christmas with the launch of Kinder Mini Father Christmas. This is a 15g hollow chocolate figure, available in packs of three, on shelf or as a clip strip. Rrp is £1.26.

Finally, for forecourts wanting to offer customers a Belgian selection there is the Guylian range.

The praline Seashells come in two sizes - 250g with a rrp of £4.09) and 500g, rrp £8.99.


=== Cadbury’s charity Link up ===

Cadbury has joined up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation UK and committed to donate £400,000 to the charity over the next three years.

The special website (www.cadburymakeawish.org) will go live at Christmas to enable consumers to get involved with the charity over the seasonal period.

The partnership will also feature on the front and back of Cadbury selection packs, advent calendars and Snow Bites packs to drive awareness of the charity, which grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening illnesses. Since being established in 1986, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 5,500 wishes.