The snacking market in the UK is worth a whopping £18.8bn (IRI 52 weeks ending November 27, 2010), with chocolate the largest category worth £3.45bn. These details are highlighted in Mars’ 2011 Market Review. The report also reveals that confectionery is the biggest impulse category with 68% of it bought on impulse twice as much as soft drinks, and three times as much as crisps.

The report divides the chocolate market into five segments: bars, accounting for 27% of sales; blocks 22%; boxed 21%; bitesize 15%; and seasonal 14%.

The filled bars sector is worth £953m, with sales relatively flat. According to IRI impulse data (52 weeks ending February 26), the Mars bar was the top selling line. But there was strong growth elsewhere. Bitesize was a good performer with sales up 9.2% to £542m. Mars has five of the top-selling lines, led by the Maltesers pouch pack. Block chocolate also saw strong sales last year up 9.5% to reach £790m. Cadbury leads the way in this sector.

There’s good news for convenience store retailers in the Market Review, as it reveals there will be an increase in c-store use driven by changing lifestyles and a more short-term approach to meal planning.

The Review says 28% of shoppers are using c-stores two to three times a week while 17% are using them daily. Shoppers favour c-stores for their customer service, accessibility, fresh foods, range/availability and price promotions.

The report lays out the ’winning behaviours’ for retailers during 2011. These are:

l determine what’s really important to the shoppers in your store;

l tailor your offering to create a point of difference and ensure you enable your shoppers to fulfil their missions;

l use promotions to communicate value and ensure they are relevant to your shoppers;

l capitalise on the fact that shoppers are in your store more often so drive more impulse sales;

l brands signify quality and value use this to drive sales in your store.

Mars trade communications manager, Bep Dhaliwal, comments: "This year we’re planning to work more closely with retailers than ever before. Shoppers are looking out for our brands in store and if retailers focus on excellent display execution and maximising category presence, they will drive repeat sales."