The warmer weather is generally good news for sugar confectionery as consumers swap melt-prone chocolate for sweets. And one brand that performs particularly well in forecourts is Haribo, whose Starmix, Tangfastics and Super Mix continue to be the brand’s best sellers, worth over £3.9m within forecourts alone (IRI data).

Haribo marketing manager, Katy Clark, says: "Starmix and Tangfastics are also positioned as the sector’s top-selling hanging bags, a format that’s perfect for sharing and ideal for journeys."

She says sweets have universal appeal: "Mintel data states that almost nine in 10 UK adults have eaten sweets in the past six months, that’s 47 million consumers (IRI). Importantly consumers that enjoy sweet treats also enjoy variety, so stocking an extensive range meets consumer demand and creates strong sales opportunities within forecourts."

Sour continues to be a key trend within the market. Clark says that last year sales of Tangfastics soared and continue to sell well, with the latest IRI data showing year-on-year growth of 13%. And it looks like there are more sales in sight via a new line.

During the summer Haribo is extending its winning Tangfastics formula into the marshmallows category with the launch of Tangfastics Chamallows a mallow with a Tangfastics coating that delivers a ’burst of tangy flavour’. 

According to IRI, the original Chamallows line is already a best seller within forecourts.

Meanwhile, Haribo is known for its continued brand support. This year it is spending its largest investment to date and as such its TV advertising is expected to be seen over 824 million times. There will also be radio, cinema and video-on- demand advertising.

The company started the year with a new creative for Starmix, which focuses on dramatising the child-like enthusiasm people have for the products. Clark says this has been a great success with positive feedback from consumers.

Haribo’s Big Bag Tour will also return this summer, where over one million products will be sampled and consumers will be invited to ’explore the mix’ and experience what it is like to step inside the brand’s top selling treats: Starmix, Tangfastics and Super Mix.

Firm favourites

Two absolute must-stocks for forecourts are Skittles and Starburst. That’s because, according to Nielsen data, Skittles is one of the fastest-growing major fruit confectionery brands, worth £38m and delivering growth of 15% year-on-year which is three times faster than the total category.

A pack of Skittles is sold every second in the UK, and on a daily basis, over 11.2m Skittles are eaten. As a result, two of the top five best-selling singles fruit SKUs in independent and symbol stores are Skittles.

Meanwhile, Starburst is worth £23m. Almost a quarter of a million Starburst chews are eaten every day, with Starburst original the fifth biggest single countline in independents.

Over at Mondelez International, sugar bags are worth more than £109.5m and growing at 3.8% (Nielsen), with brand favourites including Maynards and Bassetts. The company’s trade communication manager, Susan Nash, says retailers should take advantage of innovation in the marketplace, especially from market leaders such as Mondelez who invest in research, development, technology and marketing.

The firm’s latest innovation comes from Maynards. New Discovery Patch Animals are fruit-flavour jelly and foam sweets. Every pack features an interactive world map with fun facts. There is also an app that goes with the sweets.

Supported by a UK media investment of £3m this year including TV, out of home (close to stores), digital and in-store activity, Mondelez says the launch of Discovery Patch Animals aims to attract new families to the category.

The Fruittella range from Perfetti Van Melle (PVM) has grown and diversified over the years but in terms of countlines, the original strawberry stick is still the best seller. But consumers do like new things. Fruittella Magics is a case in point. This is a sweet that changes flavour as you chew it, going from orange to strawberry or raspberry to lemon, and PVM says it has had a significant impact on sales since launch.

Mixing up flavours is definitely a growing trend as the latest Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles launch Froosions has two flavours in one sweet.

Available in both a single tube (rrp 51p) and a sharing bag (rrp £1.29), the sweets combine two flavours together, such as blackcurrant & apple, lemon & lime and pineapple & orange.

Nestlé UK and Ireland senior corporate communications manager, James Maxton, says: "New Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles Froosions are certain to boost confectionery category sales as a result of additional consumer excitement and interest driven by innovation from a much loved brand. Retailers looking to maximise sales should display Froosions off-shelf at launch so shoppers cannot miss it, as well as siting next to Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles on the main confectionery fixture for long term sales."

The key Fruittella launch for this summer is Fruit Letters, where outer wrappers of Fruittella sticks are rebranded with the ’Fruit Letters’ logo and the individual chew wrappers each have a letter of the alphabet printed on them. This playful product allows consumers to make their own words and phrases either by themselves or with friends. The Fruittella Fruit Letters activity will run across all single stick pack flavours and multipacks, and will be supported by media activity.

Elsewhere, PVM is focusing on the pocket money opportunity for independent forecourt and convenience retailers within sugar confectionery. There will be particular emphasis on the Chupa Chups range and the variety that it gives to retailers, enabling them to offer multi-buy promotions to their customers and replicate deals that have been proven to work very well in the multiple sector. The company says products such as new Chupa Chups Shootz, Melody Pops, XXL Lollipops, Crazy Dips, Babol Tutti Frutti and Cotton Candy, all with recommended retail prices between 33p and 40p, can be combined in multi-buy promotions of ’2 for 50p’. Chupa Chups is also catering for the lower-priced end of the market with the launch of Chupa Chups Stix individually wrapped cherry sweets with a soft centre filling that retail at 10p.

Retro revival

Adrian Hipkiss, brand marketing manager at Candyland, reports that nostalgic, traditional confectionery has seen a revival within the market as consumers look to enjoy products from days gone by. "Our range of iconic lines, including Sherbet Fountain, Dip Dabs, Refreshers, Black Jacks, Fruit Salads and Wham Assorted Minis, all sell extremely well," he says.

"It’s an incredibly nostalgic market and transports consumers back to their youth as they look to indulge in flavours of years gone by." He says they also provide parents with the reassurance of a tried and trusted product.

Hipkiss believes good visual merchandising is key to supporting confectionery sales. "Impulse lines should be positioned in a prime location with items clearly visible and attractively displayed.

A Candyland pos solution is available to help with colour blocking and dressing the shelving area, which allows all the products to be displayed together and to stand out.

"Consumer first impressions are formed within a short time frame, and retailers boasting strong visual merchandising are able to communicate latest trends, while assisting shoppers in making a buying decision and create an exciting and enticing buying environment."

Classic reinvention

Candyland brand owner Tangerine has recently reinvented a selection of confectionery classics to make them relevant to today’s consumer.

The Candyland Wham products have demonstrated strong growth in the market (a 7.5% year-on-year increase) and to take advantage of the popularity of chew products, the original Wham bars have been reinvented into an easier-to-consume format.

The new Candyland Wham Cosmic Chews are individually wrapped in a stick format (36g, rrp 39p) and are packed with the tongue-tingling Wham crystals as featured in the original bars.

"We have also taken top performing kids’ singles line, Dip Dab (worth £3m in the total market), and combined it with the classic Refresher product (worth £2.2m in the total market) to bring a new, reinvigorated sherbet product to the market with a completely new flavour twist," says Hipkiss.

The result is the Refreshers Dip Dab, which features a raspberry flavoured sherbet with a lemon, lime, orange and raspberry fizzy lollipop all flavours originally found in the traditional Refresher sweets.

But there are new products too in the form of soft gums. "After conducting consumer research and identifying a demand for traditional, sweet shop-style products, the new soft gums were developed using popular, iconic hard boiled sweet flavours: Pear Drops, Rhubarb & Custards and Kola Kubes," explains Hipkiss.

They are available in two pack sizes, a 160g sharing pack (rrp £1.39) and 70g impulse bags (rrp 65p). The 70g bags will be added to the existing Candyland ’2 for £1’ range.

There’s also a new sour flavoured bon bon which capitalises on the trend for tangy treats. New sour raspberry bon bons are a striking blue colour and are actually the brand’s first ever blue sweets.

Swizzels Matlow has extended its Squashies range with Love Hearts, Double Lollies, Refreshers and Drumsticks all now transformed into a soft, chewy gum format.

Squashies are available as countlines, hanging bags and £1 price-marked packs to ensure that all eating occasions are catered for. Mark Walker, sales director at Swizzels Matlow, reports that the Squashies range is showing strong growth with almost 50 million packs sold.

"Squashies countline bags are perfect for an impulse purchase and the £1 price-marked packs have great impact on shelf. Sharing bags of confectionery such as Squashies are becoming increasing popular for family and friends hosting a ’big night in’."

There’s no doubt that the big night in is a key occasion for sugar sales and ’gaming’ is a key part of those big nights in. There are currently 33.6m active gamers in the UK growing at the rate of 9% year-on-year who are spending an eye-watering 55m hours on game consoles every day.

Skittles entertained gamers earlier this year when it teamed up with the popular fruit-slicing game to launch Fruit Ninja vs. Skittles. Within five days of its launch, it was number one in the iTunes download chart and has since been downloaded over four million times.

Picking a winner

At specialist confectionery cash and carry chain, Hancocks, purchasing director Jonathan Summerley says the big winner in sugar confectionery continues to be retro pick and mix. "The pick and mix category has continued to grow during the past year or so and we’ve yet to reach saturation point." He says this growth is fuelled by a number of things:
The nation’s continued love of retro sweets. Hancocks recently carried out a survey with just over 200 of its regular customers and 75% agreed that the retro trend was still as strong as ever, with more growth expected.
The range of pick and mix sweets appeals to all ages and tastes, so the category can be whatever you want it to be. Whether you have youngsters seeking the most sour or novel sweets available, grandparents wanting sweets from the ’good old days’ or any other specific need, it is generally available as a pick and mix sweet.
There is huge flexibility in how pick and mix sweets can be sold: from a display stand sold in weighed bags or fixed priced cups, from bulk jars, pre-packed into smaller bags or packaged into containers for gifts.
With less brand loyalty across the pick and mix category (with a few exceptions, it is about the product and not the brand), retailers can incorporate a range into their own shop brand.
Pick and mix continues to be a high-margin area of the confectionery market, making it attractive to all sizes of retailer.

Look at this

The Look-O-Look confectionery concept of a ’shop within a shop’ has been hugely successful on the Continent and is now available in the UK via Impulse Sales Direct.
The brand is instantly recognisable thanks to its distinctive ’eyes’ logo that stands out on all packaging.
The range is all about kids having fun and includes best sellers such as dynamite sticks and strawberry laces; much in demand novelties such as tongue tattoos and edible paper, as well as classic favourites such as candy watches, necklaces and flying saucers. All lines are price-marked at £1 and can be block displayed on a variety of sizes of stands for maximum impact in store.
Chantal Fakkert, export manager for Look-O-Look International, says: "One key to the success of the brand has been that the range is rotated on a regular basis as new items are brought in to maintain strong sales and keep the offer fresh for kids whose confectionery tastes change as fast as their clothes! We believe Look-O-Look has the right mix of products to have something for everybody, which means retailers are the big winners too."

Pick & Mix advice

Understand the age profile of your main audience
Put the effort in to create a colourful and appealing display, however you sell the sweets
Keep your display full, clean and tidy
Be aware of the top sellers (Hancocks’ website advises on this) and use them in your core range
Always keep refreshing part of the range and use seasonality to best effect
Keep talking directly to your customers and be ready to try new ideas and sweets

In brief

Perfetti Van Melle’s Mentos brand is currently sponsoring ’Fresh Telly on E4’. This features a mix of new and established British and US shows including Virtually Famous, Youngers, Rude Tube, Troy and the new drama series Glue. The deal showcases eight Mentos products across both candy and gum.
Ferrero is backing its latest flavour apple burst with a £2m integrated campaign targeting ’Millennials’ (13- to 33- year olds). The activity includes TV and video-on-demand advertising. Levi Boorer, customer development director, explains: "Millennials are a critical demographic for the Tic Tac brand, due to their sheer size and ability to be influenced via technology and social media. By extending our advertising to include video on demand, we are accessing a different group of consumers and opening the category to a wider range of shoppers."
Werther’s original sugar free, worth £2m, accounts for 28% of the sugar free market (Nielsen data). With fewer than 10 calories per sweet, it’s a great option for consumers who are seeking a sugar free alternative to their favourite treat. The sweets are available in a flip-top box or an 80g bag.
Swizzels Matlow has launched a ’Flashback to 10p’ collection. The recession-proof range contains a host of iconic brands that were previously priced at 13p. The products feature updated bold designs with the new price point clearly featured.
Perfetti Van Melle reports that Mentos strawberry mix, a collection of strawberry flavours of varying intensity that was launched last year, has grown the Mentos fruit portfolio incrementally without cannibalising existing sales of Mentos fruit rolls or Mentos rainbow rolls.
Hancocks is extending its Kingsway share bag range with 13 new varieties including: fizzy bubble bottles; strawberry, toffee and sour blue raspberry bon bons; foam bananas; foam shrimps; sherbet lemons; and porky pigs. All are priced at £1.
Raw is a sugar-free chewing gum, designed to give you a boost when you need it most. The energy comes from the product’s taurine and vitamin B. Targeted at the ’young and trendy’, it comes in a black box with an ’edgy’ design, containing 18 pieces of gum. Rrp is 99p. The product is marketed by Navson and is supported by a fleet of branded vehicles which will be visiting independent retailers, engaging in sampling activity and offering category management advice.
Summer ideas from Hancocks include football lollies, jelly bean filled swords, windmills and guns and garden critter pops.
Swizzels Matlow is running a competition on Love Hearts to celebrate ’60 years of love’. The competition, which runs until the end of August, is appearing on the countline rolls and multipacks. It gets consumers to visit to suggest their own Love Heart messages. The winners will have a VIP tour of the Love Hearts factory to see their very own Love Heart in production.

Retailer view

James Townsend, Birchwood Services, Lincoln:
"We have approximately 7m of racking for confectionery, plus a mint/gum display in front of each of our three tills and several floor stands. Our best sellers vary depending on promotional activity. For example, recently Haribo Tangfastics in a pricemarked pack and Extra Strong Mints have sold well. We sell a lot more single packs than we do multipacks as a massive amount of our sales are impulse purchases. Price-marking is a big thing for us. We have only recently begun to do this but already the Spar own-brand £1 bags of things like choc raisins and mints are selling really well, and the Candy Land sweet bags at ’2 for £1’ also doing really well.
"The vast majority of our trade is adults; we only have a few children in which is reflected in our small range of kids’ sweets."

Cable Guys

Giant Cables long gummy sweets with a fondant filling are popular but can be hard to display.
Hancocks has the answer with its compact new Crazy Cables stand. With eight dome-shaped bins, it means consumers can easily select their favourite flavours (including sour watermelon, rhubarb & custard, fizzy blue and apple). The Cables can retail at £1 and offer retailers a decent margin.
Exclusive to Hancocks, the Crazy Cables stand is offered in a special deal. The stand costs £399.99 (plus VAT) and is supplied with eight boxes of Giant Cables free (usually £129.52 wholesale price: approximately 80 cables to a box). When the free stock is sold from the stand at £1, the cost of the investment is covered. "Our bespoke Crazy Cables stand will add a professional touch for stores that sell volumes of these popular sweets, while also offering a fresh idea for a proven seller to retailers that do not yet sell Giant Cables," says Hancocks’ purchasing director Jonathan Summerley.