Toblerone Golden 1

You can’t seem to pass a chocolate fixture without at least one new limited edition flavour on display. Currently the flavour de jour is Caramel with both KitKat and Twirl recently offering limited edition Caramel variants. And Nestlé and Mondelez haven’t just plucked the caramel flavour out of the air as Nielsen data reveals that it is the number one confectionery flavour.

Callum Smith, assistant brand manager for KitKat at Nestle, says: “A new KitKat Chunky is always one of the year’s most anticipated confectionery launches and we think fans will be delighted with our latest innovation.”

Since launching in 1999, KitKat Chunky has come up with a host of limited editions, including Salted Caramel Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Cookie Dough, Coconut, Chocolate Fudge and New York Cheesecake.

Frederike Grohmann, brand manager for Cadbury Twirl at Mondelēz International, says: “We’ve seen just how popular flavours are within chocolate singles, in fact when Twirl Orange launched it became Cadbury’s biggest selling single bar.”

One of the latest limited lines from Mondelez is Toblerone Golden, made with a new blend of golden caramelised white chocolate. The confectionery giant expects it to appeal, in particular, to younger adult shoppers.

Andrea Bogg, sales director at Triangle Motor Company in Brough, is a fan of limited editions because they add interest to the category.

“Limited editions mix things up in the confectionery category. We do stock them but we limited them in the hot weather so there are definitely peaks and troughs with them. We’ve recently had a limited edition KitKat and a Cadbury line which is also on promotion. It’s good when they come in dumpbins as we can then scatter them around the store.”

Jenny Donaghy, manager at Lewis Ltd in Llandrinio, is another limited edition fan. “They definitely generate interest,” she says.

Conversely, Stephen Smith at Tanerdy Garage, Carmarthen is not a great fan of limited editions. He says: “They come as part of our Londis promotions. We find that after an initial burst of interest sales die down and we’re often left with too much stock. Some work, some don’t. There was a cinnamon/ginger limited edition one Christmas and we had no interest in it at all.”


Wispa Duos 1


Double the treat…

In what some might call a radical move, Stephen is generally moving away from chocolate singles. He says: “Chocolate bars have just got smaller in size and so have the margins. We’re reducing our range and moving from singles to Duos.”

Andrea says Duo bars sell really well at her four sites. “I know you are meant to eat one part and save the other but I don’t think people do.”

Of course, the chocolate manufacturers are pushing the ‘portion control’ and ‘everything in moderation message’ and to this end earlier this year the Cadbury Duos range was put in new twist-wrap packaging. It is designed to encourage consumers to eat one half of the Duo bar then twist and seal the other to save for later.

At the time of the launch Mondelez said the innovation underscored its “commitment to help promote healthier snacking to consumers, with a focus on portion control being recognised as one of the most effective ways of helping people balance their calorie intake”.

At the same time, the company said that Duos were a growth driver of the singles market (even though there are two in each pack?), particularly in the independent convenience channel.

2022 lightbox

The original travel sweet…

One confectionery brand that Stephen can’t get enough of is the original travel sweet – Simpkins. “The sweets are great and they’re not that expensive. They are very different to everything else on the market and they come in a great display. The tins really stand out. We stock a lot of them including the ones with the Welsh flag on them.”

The Simpkins story started just after World War One. Albert Leslie Simpkin was injured during the war and during his convalescence was given liquid glucose which was quite messy. Everyone said it would be much better in a hard-boiled form so in 1921 Simpkin began to manufacture high quality glucose confections using, wherever possible, natural flavours and colours. His initial target audience was chemists and pharmacies and his best seller was barley sugar. The move to travel sweets in tins was a natural one as barley sugar was often used to treat travel sickness.

Today Simpkins is still family run and the sweets (a much wider range) are still made to the original recipes to retain their distinction and authenticity. Simpkins joint managing director Adrian Simpkin told Forecourt Trader: “We’ve a lot of competition coming at us all the time but we are still making our confectionery to the same recipe and through the same process as we have done for 100 years and it’s that what sets us apart.”



The price is not always right

Much is made about the fact that price-marked packs (PMPs) are popular with consumers. Indeed, Lumina research is often cited, including the point that one in five shoppers are more likely to shop in a particular convenience store if they know it stocks PMPs, and PMPs sell five times more than non-price marked equivalents. These nuggets are put forward as good reasons to stock PMPs. And, particularly during the current cost-of-living crisis, they are excellent reasons, however not all convenience stores are the same, particularly when they are forecourt stores.

Confectionery is still seen as an affordable treat for a lot of people and, when you’re spending £40 topping up your fuel tank or £100 filling it right up, a few more quid for a bag of sweets is not a big deal.

Stephen at Tanerdy Garage is not only switching away from chocolate singles, he is also switching away from £1 PMPs of sweets: “A £1 price mark is a waste of time as far as I am concerned because if you sell that for £1 you’re probably making 15-18p which is just not worth it. Wherever we can, we try and get non-PMPs.”

However, value is still important for some shoppers and Jenny at Lewis Ltd says she’s noticed that customers are turning away from chocolate singles and going for £1 price-marked bars and multipacks of bars because they represent better value.