IRI sales data for the sugar confectionery market across all trade sectors values it at £1.2bn (down 0.8%) for the 52 weeks ending March 27. However, specialist confectionery cash and carry chain Hancocks reports that its sugar confectionery sales have been extremely buoyant in the past 12 months, mainly due to the massive growth of pick ’n’ mix as retailers fill the gap left by Woolworths.
As such, Hancocks saw ’weigh-outs’ grow by 20% last year.
The latest line from Hancocks is Candy Bricks, which the company expects to be popular because of the play value. Similar to Lego pieces, the bricks are available in a 2.5kg bag priced at £5.99 for weigh-out and in a £1 retail bag.
Another new line is Fudge Crunch, pieces of fudge blended with rice crispies and topped with chocolate. This comes in a 1.4kg tub priced at £3.65 and a £1 pouch bag.
Hancocks is also adding four new weigh-out sweets from Donkers: cola lemon berries, butterflies, strawberries and fruit gums.
"The retailers who are most successful with weigh-outs are those who regularly review their range, introducing new lines to retain the interest of their customers," says Summerley.
But he adds: "Sugar confectionery is generally performing well in all areas at the moment. Value remains key and branded or own-label products priced at £1 have been big winners."
To this end, Summerley is pleased that Nestlé is re-introducing a range of three cartons (Smarties, Fruit Pastilles and Fruit Gums) all at £1. "These used to sell well a long time ago so we anticipate the format becoming a good seller once again, especially at the keen retail price of £1," he says.
Retro is still big business. For Hancocks that means traditional sweets such as humbugs, rosie apples and cola cubes.
Helen Hartley, group marketing manager at Tangerine Confectionery, says that as many of her company’s brands are among the most well-loved in the confectionery marketplace, it has been well-placed to capitalise on the ’retro’ trend. The brands she refers to include Anglo Bubbly and Barratt’s Sherbet Fountains, Dip Dabs and Refreshers.
However, the company is keen to keep up with other trends too and so has recently relaunched its Lion brand with all natural colours and flavours and a new look to highlight this.
Thornycroft is cashing in on the retro trend in a big way with the launch of eight new products under the Wham name. The Wham chew bar was first launched in the 1980s and quickly became a kids’ favourite.
The new line-up also takes into account the continuing popularity of sour sweets. The range includes Wham TNT Popping Candy, Nitro Sour Spray and Xtrm Sherbet Dip. At the same time, Wham chew bars are being relaunched in a bigger size, incorporating new colour crystals, with a 20p price point. They come in seven flavours: original, brew, cola, strawberry, sour apple, sour cherry and extreme blackcurrant.
Sticking with sour, new from Wrigley is Starburst Tongue Tangles fruit chews with an oozing sour centre. They come in three flavours: banana & mango, apricot & cherry, and blueberry & lemon; in a stickpack which retails at 42p and a sharing bag at £1.25.
Gareth Streeter, PR manager at Wrigley, says: "We are really excited about the launch of Starburst Tongue Tangles. Starburst is the number one fruit chew (AC Nielsen data) in confectionery, and we are sure that the new range will be a big hit with consumers this summer. We suggest retailers get stocked up on them as new Starburst launches count for over a third of the brand’s sales."
New flavours are important to many food product categories but none more so than sweets, with their younger audience who look out for anything new and exciting.
From Tic Tac that’s the new cherry passion flavour offering consumers cherry and passion fruit-flavoured sweets in one pack.
"We’ve found that when purchasing Tic Tacs, consumers tend to stick to their favourite flavour, with 85% of people being loyal to only one flavour (Dunnhumby research). So, the introduction of new flavours brings new consumers to the brand, driving incremental sales for the retailer," comments Jason Sutherland, Ferrero UK sales director.
"In recent taste tests, we found that 85% of people preferred the cherry passion flavour to cool cherry, so cherry passion will replace cool cherry."
Sutherland continues: "We are launching cherry passion this month so retailers can capitalise on the summer sales trend, where consumers trade out of chocolate confectionery and into fruit flavour products which see a 17% increase in sales over the period (AC Nielsen data)."
Sutherland says Tic Tac has had a very successful year, delivering value growth of 12.9% year-on-year (AC Nielsen total coverage to February 20, 2010). "This growth is being driven by greater distribution across the Tic Tac range and increased sales of Tic Tac 100s, the large pack format."
Tic Tac is being supported by a £5m campaign this year. Promotional activity will include a cherry passion-specific tag on the end of the brand’s TV advertising in July, and a sampling campaign at key events throughout the summer.
Meanwhile, Nestlé has a big hit on its hands with Randoms, which was launched last May. According to IRI total market data for the 52 weeks ending March 27, 2010, Randoms is the second biggest-selling fruit sugar singles sweet behind long-established Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles. Graham Walker, Nestlé UK trade communications manager, believes there are still some distribution gaps, so there’s still further potential for the brand. Nestlé is backing Randoms with a £6.5m media support spend this year, which makes it an absolute ’must stock’ for forecourts.
Sharing is the big trend in confectionery whether it’s pouches of M&M’s or bags of pick and mix. Bags of sugar confectionery are ideal for forecourts in the summer, when cars packed with families fill up with fuel and food. Walker says much of the success of the Rowntree’s range comes from its ’permissability’ because mums buying for kids know the products are free from artificial ingredients but do contain real fruit juice.
Nestlé now offers a range of Rowntree’s sharing bags (Fruit Pastilles, Pick ’N’ Mix and Fruit Gums) at the eye-catching price point of just £1.
Walker says: "Over a third of confectionery shoppers are more likely to buy a product with a rounded price point, over a similar product without one. On top of this, 48% of confectionery shoppers say that a price-flashed pack would encourage them to buy, up from 34% in 2007. With this in mind Nestlé Confectionery has re-engineered its top-selling sugar bags."
Perfetti Van Melle has launched a range of 99p price-marked bags including Fruittella summer fruits and liquorice & fruit, and Chupa Chups Best Of. Last year was a good one for the company when its brands significantly outperformed the sugar confectionery market. Mentos, Fruittella, Chupa Chups and Smint saw growth of 23%, 18%, 30% and 11% respectively (IRI, all outlets, 52 weeks ending Jan 23, 2010).
Perfetti Van Melle’s marketing director Mark Stangroom puts much of this growth down to the products having better visibility in stores.
There has also been much more support for the brands and this continues with Fruittella backed by national TV advertising during the summer months. New to the Fruittella range is 2Fruity which offers consumers three different flavour combinations: strawberry & banana, apple & blackcurrant, and peach & raspberry.
Finally, Hancocks’ Summerley reckons retailers should treat the World Cup as a bonus event for 2010.
"Many of our customers profited well from the World Cup four years ago and so we are here to help them do it again," he adds.
Many big brands are cashing in the World Cup. Some brands obviously have more relevance than others, and none more so than Haribo’s Football Mix. The football-themed gums and jellies have received a World Cup 2010 makeover with special limited-edition packaging in national colours.
As part of the celebrations the product will also be price-marked at £1 for a 250g bag. Football Mix is being distributed in shelf-ready display cartons, which have been designed to follow the football theme to have maximum on-shelf impact.
In addition to the limited-edition packaging, over 850,000 Football Mix mini bags will be used in a sampling drive through consumer titles and during specific Premier League football matches across the UK.
The football theme continues on the Haribo website, where consumers can test their ball skills in an interactive football game.
Meanwhile, Hancocks’ biggest seller from 2006 is returning for extra time. Tattoo Gum is a 49p pack containing football-related temporary tattoos and a selection of gum.
Also available from Hancocks is the England Lucky Bag, Football Jelly Mallow Pop and Drumstick Lollies with an England wrapper.
There’s a new limited-edition bag of Lion Football Gums from Tangerine.
Finally, when it comes specifically to forecourts, Tangerine’s Hartley says her company has done a lot of work on the development of kids’ confectionery throughout the Esso estate.
She says this has proved to be a great success and driven growth within this sector of the category with this customer.
She adds: "We are also committed to replicating this success with motorway service outlets including Welcome Break and Moto, where we believe there is strong potential for the business in partnership with the retailers."
l According to Kate Harding, trade communications manager at Cadbury UK, forecourt retailers should focus on stocking, in order of priority, Maynards Wine Gums, Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts, Bassetts Jelly Babies, Maynards Sports Mix, Maynards Midget Gems and Bassetts Murray Mints.
l Mentos is currently on TV, sponsoring ITV2’s The Vampire Diaries with the message "There’s nothing like a Mentos kiss".
l Swizzels Matlow’s new value Loadsa range comprises six different variety packs containing a mix of the company’s sweets, such as New Refreshers, Love Hearts, Fruity Pops and Fun Gums. The six packs are: lollies, chews, sweets, Fun Gums mix, Fun Gums fizzy mix and Fun Gums pig’s mugs. All retail at £1.
l New from Wrigley’s Extra is Chewy Mints. Each 38g bag contains four different mini mint flavours: peppermint, spearmint, sweetmint and coolmint. Rrp is 59p.
l A new spearmint variety has been added to Wrigley’s Extra Ice gum range. Ten-pallet packs retail at 35p.
l Haribo is celebrating 250 years of its traditional liquorice sweet Pontefract Cakes with special limited-edition packaging.
l Walkers Nonsuch has unveiled bright new wrappers for its Andy Pack bars. The wrappers also now include an added consumer message: "Whack, Unwrap and Enjoy".
l New from Chupa Chups are bubblegum lollipops in cola and cherry flavours. Rrp is 15p. The new lollies join Chupa Chups recently-launched Big Babol bubblegum and Bubbly Cotton Candy.
l Chewits Sweet Shop range, which includes whips, foams and jellies, has been relaunched and updated for the convenience sector.