Media reports that Prince William’s bride Kate Middleton has a hankering for Haribo must have been music to the ears of the gums and jellies company. After all, publicity like that is priceless. Apparently Kate’s favourites are Starmix and Tangfastics both of which are selling well. What is more, to celebrate the royal engagement, Haribo launched Hearts & Rings and Other Nice Things, bags of which include friendship rings, heart throbs, cup cakes, lips and present-shaped pieces.
The company’s managing director, Herwig Vennekens, says the launch was a perfect example of how Haribo can quickly create products that help retailers capitalise upon topical occasions and benefit from incremental sales.
Summer may not be a topical occasion, but it is a time when many consumers switch from chocolate to sugar confectionery particularly fruity sweets. If you’re looking for new lines to liven up your sugar confectionery aisle this summer, look no further than Nestlé Confectionery, which is launching four new products.
New Rowntree’s Sour Pastilles come in 48g impulse bags, containing five ’extreme sour flavours’: lime, blackcurrant, pineapple, cherry and melon. A £3m media support package, including a TV ad and digital activity, supports the launch. It targets 25-35-year-olds, and it’s estimated that 38 million adults will see the TV campaign. This spend forms part of the £7m media investment in the Rowntree’s brand in the first half of this year.
The other three new lines from Nestlé Rowntree’s Very Berry Jellies, Rowntree’s Sour Faces and Rowntree’s Jelly Aliens enter the sharing bag arena. All four sweets contain real fruit juice (at least 25%) and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
However, Tangerine Confectionery’s chairman, Stephen Joseph, reckons gaining space for new lines is tough.
"Forecourt retailers are becoming more selective about listing NPD (new product development) therefore we always ensure any new offerings are relevant to the current market and also here for the long term.
"NPD is needed to assist growth and fuel consumer interest in confectionery so the challenge is for suppliers to develop ranges which are innovative and offer a unique point of difference within the category. This is something Tangerine Confectionery is committed to.
"We have a strong NPD programme planned for the second half of the year; however we have just launched a new flavour of Henry Goode, with the Soft Eating strawberry flavour liquorice now available in 300g and 140g bags."
The launch of Nestlé’s new sharing bags follows a great year for the Rowntree’s brand, which saw sales rise by 7% to reach £89m (IRI MAT value sales 52 weeks ending Feb 26).
Nestlé UK trade communications manager, Graham Walker, says sharing bags are where the growth is, with sugar sharing bags enjoying a 4% increase in sales to £497m.
"Sales within convenience rose by 2% (to £214m) which clearly shows there is a real opportunity to bring more focus to sugar sharing confectionery and boost sales."
Specifically within the sugar sharing bag market, it is fruit sugar that drives the category, with sales of £399m (+3%). "Alongside the market drivers, retailers should continue to focus on the sugar singles market, accounting for a massive £566m of the total market and £440m of convenience channel sales. In fact, within the convenience channel, sugar singles account for 27% of total confectionery sales."
Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Cadbury UK, says the key Cadbury sugar bags to stock, in order of priority, are Maynards Wine Gums, Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts, Bassetts Jelly Babies, Maynards Sports Mix, Maynards Midget Gems and Bassetts Murray Mints.
Another Cadbury brand doing well is The Natural Confectionery Company (TNCC) which recently redesigned its packaging to feature animal characters to bring the brand more to life as well as emphasise its ’fun personality’. The packaging includes viewing panels in the ’mouths’ of the various animal characters on pack, to allow consumers to see the product through the packet.
Nash says sales of TNCC sweets are up 21% thanks in large part to strong marketing support and the launch of new Ocean Minis.
The brand will be backed by a £3.5m marketing campaign this year, with new executions of the popular TV ads planned, to bring to life yet more of the characters featured in the new packaging.
Tangerine Confectionery too reports that its branded sales have continued to perform particularly well, with 15% growth year-on-year.
Tangerine’s Joseph says a major reason for the category’s staying power has been people opting to stay in rather than spend money on going out, leading to an increased demand for sharing formats.
"While consumers have become more frugal overall, they continue to indulge in affordable treats. The move towards sharing these moments of indulgence with friends or family, as an inexpensive way to socialise, is an extension of this."
Louisa Rowntree, communications manager at Wrigley, says the ’big night in’ is a great sales opportunity, with families and young adults in particular buying share packs of confectionery and other snacking goods to enjoy at home together in the evening.
"Products such as Starburst and Skittles are perfect for such occasions. Retailers should ensure they keep shelves fully stocked to allow for all potential sales and profit opportunities."
She adds that forecourts shouldn’t forget seasonality: "This has an effect on the sales of sugar confectionery, brands such as Starburst and Skittles perform extremely well in the summer months so with summer in the not-too-distant future it is an ideal time for retailers to use POS and focus on in-store activity and promotions. With the summer months come additional social opportunities such as barbecues, picnics and gathering at friends’ houses, fruity sugar confectionery is the perfect companion for the summer weather as they don’t melt like other popular confectionery treats and Starburst and Skittles share bags are great for sharing with friends, on the go and generally in all types of social occasions."
Limited-edition Blue Skittle packs are currently available with the brand’s rainbow featuring an additional blue stripe to communicate the addition of the blue sweet. Packs also invite consumers to visit the Skittles Facebook page to follow the Blue campaign and win prizes.
Skittles is currently the most popular confectionery brand fan page on Facebook in the UK with no less than two million fans. Globally, it has nearly 16 million fans.
Skittles brand manager, Elena Ibora, says: "The success of the Skittles UK Facebook page has been phenomenal, proving core fans are clearly socially active online. However, we want to keep them engaged by ensuring the element of surprise is present in all we do. Our new Blue campaign will do just that."
Nielsen stats reveal that Skittles is growing by 11% year-on-year and is worth £18m, making it the sixth largest fruit confectionery brand in the UK.
Price-marking is prevalent across many food categories now as these packs communicate value so well. Nestlé’s latest price-marking activity includes Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles single tube price-marked at 39p.
Golden Casket Group’s Halfpounder range offers over 60 varieties of sweets all pre-priced at £1.09. Products include chocolates, boiled sweets, fudge, jellies, gums and mints. Display stands are available in 12- or 24-hook versions.
At Haribo, Vennekens says they offer value treats through "efficient and effective price promotion" whether that’s the recently-introduced ’3 for £1’ on 50g handy packs or the £1 price-marked packs introduced last year.
And Tangerine’s Joseph says: "We regularly run promotions and are always looking at new ways to drive profitable sales. We have increasingly gone down the route of price-marking our range at key price points, particularly £1. This is popular with retailers and customers, particularly for bagged confectionery such as Henry Goode’s Soft Eating Liquorice and Taveners Multisaves."
He adds that ’Sweet of the Week’ boxes by the till are a good way to drive sales too.
When it comes to merchandising, Joseph advises retailers to keep it simple and make it easy to navigate for the consumer while making sure they have a good range to choose from.
"The fixture should always have the best-selling products that deliver against the space dedicated to them, particularly when space is limited.
"One of the main ways to attract customers to the confectionery fixture is through its visual appeal. It is important for the consumer to instantly recognise well-known brands. Where possible, products should be merchandised together in store to create brand blocking. The customer should always be given a choice of flavours and formats within the fixture to ensure their needs are fulfilled.
"Grouping products together for a particular theme like ’big night in’ will encourage cross-purchasing with consumers purchasing two products instead of the one they went in for. The grouping of complementary products together strengthens consumer focus."
The total confectionery market is worth £4.8bn up 3%
Total sugar sales are worth £1.2bn up 1%
Total sugar singles are down 3% in the convenience channel but are still worth £440m
Total sugar sharing bags are up 4% to £497m
Total sugar sharing bags in convenience are up 2% to £214m
Total fruit sugar sharing bags are up 3% to £399m
Source: IRI MAT value sales, 52 weeks ending February 26, 2011
Cadbury 0870 191 7343 www.cadbury.co.uk
Golden Casket 01475 721099 www.millionssweets.co.uk
Hancocks 01509 216644 www.hancocks.co.uk
Haribo 01977 600266 www.haribo.com
Nestlé Confectionery 0800 6378 5385 www.nestle.co.uk
Tangerine Confectionery 01253 761201 www.tangerineuk.net
Wrigley 01752 701107 www.wrigley.co.uk
An expert’s view
Jonathan Summerley, purchasing director at specialist confectionery cash and carry chain Hancocks, reckons forecourt retailers should maximise the potential of impulse sales from people on the move, often with children in tow. "Hunger and boredom on a journey will encourage many to purchase sugar confectionery to lift their spirits," he says.
Price is still a consideration for lots of shoppers and Hancocks comes to their aid with its recently relaunched ’3 for 99p’ range of kids sweets. The company also offers a range of share bags for £1, which includes popular favourites such as wine gums, jelly babies and liquorice allsorts.
Children’s lollies are a top seller during the warmer months and Hancocks has launched a novel range for 2011, including Swirly Whirly lollipops (various sizes) rrp 25p-£1; insect lollipops 35p; dummies 50p; animal mallow pops 59p; and Lion Mallow Kebabs 59p.
"Margins on lollies are very high," says Summerley. "So they can prove to be an extremely profitable point of difference."