It doesn’t seem that long ago that the big autumn event was Bonfire Night and Halloween was some young pretender imported from the States. However, that young pretender has certainly caught the imagination of youngsters over here, so much so that it rakes in hundreds of millions of pounds worth of sales. Pumpkins, dressing-up costumes and props, drinks and snacks for parties and bucket loads of confectionery for trick-or-treaters fly out the doors in the run up to All Hallows Eve aka Halloween on October 31. This year that’s on a Tuesday but, as it takes place within many kids’ half-term holiday, it looks set to be as popular as ever.

The manufacturers make it easy for retailers to get involved with their themed products. But seasonal stock isn’t always 100% successful, and if it’s not sold quickly enough it can end up costing more than expected.

Mark Roberts, trade marketing manager at Perfetti Van Melle (PVM), says that for 2017, his company has widened its offering to ensure they are catering for retailers who love novelty products and also those who may have less space or want to stock products with a longer shelf-life.

"We’ve given our core range a spooky makeover. The packs simply feature Halloween artwork, giving retailers the opportunity to create theatre in-store without a risk of mark down post event."

Fruittella Duo Stix and Fruittella Juicy Chews both offer retailers ’risk-free theatre’ as packs feature very subtle Halloween-inspired artwork. The Duo Stix are Raspberry & Apple, Strawberry & Peach and Cola & Lemon flavoured sweets while the Juicy Chews are Strawberry, Lemon and Orange flavoured sweets. Both retail at £1.

stunning centrepieces

Roberts says that in addition to impulse purchases during this period, the category also benefits from a surge in planned sales. "Shoppers will be actively stocking up for trick-or-treaters, fancy dress parties as well as looking for gifts and stunning centrepieces," he explains.

PVM’s new Giant Chupa Chups Skull with Fizzy Brain would certainly make a show-stopping centrepiece. Each pink and green skull contains 50 strawberry or lime flavoured individually wrapped fizzy lollies. Rrp is £10. However, the lollies are also available separately in eye-catching display boxes of 45. Rrp is 35p each. Then there’s Chupa Chups Spooky Pizza, which is a new take on PVM’s popular candy pizza, but with snakes and spiders for Halloween. Rrp is £5.

Unlike Easter or Christmas, when chocolate is typically more popular than sugar confectionery, Halloween is the occasion where sugar confectionery takes centre stage. Haribo boasts being the number one confectionery manufacturer at Halloween, with Kantar data showing that the brand is preferred by 60% of shoppers. As such it experienced a 25.7% increase in sales last season.

Haribo Scaremix and Tangfastricks are back with new-look packaging for this year. In Scaremix, the Starmix Egg has become a toffee apple eyeball, while the Heart comes in new spooky colours with blackcurrant and bubblegum flavours. Boo Bears and Dracula Rings have also been added to the mix alongside a blood orange brew for the bottle.

With Tangfastricks, what looks like a treat could be a trick with this bag not only containing standard tangy pieces, but also hot and super-sour ones.

The limited editions are available in 140g sharing bags with an rrp of £1.

Claire Caley, seasonal brand manager at Haribo UK, says: "Our success stems from a range that combines core, all-year-round products with themed treats that shoppers recognise and trust to deliver for trick-or-treaters and for Halloween parties."

She says Starmix Minis, Tangfastics Minis and Super Party Minis multipacks are great for parties or trick-or-treating as each pack contains 11 pre-portioned bags, rrp £1. Plus they are a safe stock option for retailers because they are top sellers all year round.

Sweet and sour

Another new line hitting shelves for this Halloween is Skittles Fruits and Sours Tubs. The product was trialled successfully in Tesco last year and is now being made available to other retailers. Ideal for trick-or-treaters, the tubs contain 29 individual 26g packs of Skittles Fruits and Crazy Sours. Rrp is £5.

Also available, this time for the third year running, is Skittles Darkside, a pouch containing Forbidden Fruit, Midnight Lime, Blood Orange, Pomegranate and Dark Berry flavours. And Starburst has a new Trick or Treat funsize limited edition containing sweet and sour flavours.

To support retailers and bring seasonal products front of mind for shoppers, Skittles and Starburst brand owner Wrigley has created a bespoke range of Halloween themed pos including dedicated cardboard units and clip strips.

Over at Tangerine, the Sweet Champions Halloween Assorted 200g bag (rrp £1) is back and it’s predicted to be a top seller for the second year running. It features a selection of sweets including mini Whams (Strawberry, Sour Apple & Original Raspberry flavours), Fruit Salad lollies and Black Jack lollies.

The company’s Halloween offering also includes the Sweet Champions 750g sharing carton, in a new format for 2017, to make it stand out on retailers’ shelves. It contains brands including Wham, Fruit Salad, Refresher and Dip Dab.

New from Mondelez is Maynards Bassetts Creepy Chews, which includes individually wrapped orange and strawberry chew sweets with soft-filled centres. However, it’s chocolate that’s the big sales winner from the company with its Cadbury Ghooost Egg the number one Halloween self-eat line, worth £600,000 (Nielsen data). And its Cadbury Crunchy Spider, featuring Cadbury chocolate filled with green crispy bites, is the third most popular SKU at Halloween, worth £400,000.

Mars Chocolate reports that its M&M’s brand has a history of growing sales during the Halloween season and is therefore a must-stock line for retailers. Bep Dhaliwal, trade communications manager at the firm, explains: "M&M’s drove Bitesize category growth in 2016 (+6.6%) and the iconic M&M’s characters act as an in-store beacon for confectionery and bring Halloween to life in store making sure consumers don’t miss the season."

M&M’s will be advertised early in the season with a £1.5m digital media investment that aims to build up anticipation to Halloween from late September onwards. This follows a successful media campaign last year, which led to over 100million impressions across YouTube and Facebook and over 9.8 million people seeing M&M’s Halloween lenses on Snapchat.

Finally, the popularity of popcorn continues at Halloween with Nielsen data revealing that an additional half a million households purchased popcorn in the four weeks to November 5, 2016, driving an incremental £1.12m in sales value with 90% of the sales coming from sharing bags.

"Halloween is a key occasion that brings friends and families together and popcorn consumption increases at this time of year as a result of more home gatherings," says Anjna Mistry, senior brand manager at Butterkist.

Perfect popcorn fun

Mistry reckons popcorn is the perfect fun sharing treat, which is also ideal for trick-or-treating, while recognition of the Butterkist brand helps put popcorn firmly on consumers’ radar as the sharing snack of choice. New flavours have definitely helped drive sales and the latest addition to the Butterkist line up Chocmallow popcorn, which has original Butterkist Toffee popcorn with chocolate marshmallow flavoured coating has seen sales soar.

"The unique product captures the winning combination seen in sweet snacks, hot drinks and baking. With no other chocolate and marshmallow popcorn offering on the market, this product has gained mainstream appeal," says Mistry.

She adds that the development of pack formats such as multipacks has positioned popcorn as an everyday snack for all occasions and reinforced its growth in the market.

"The multipack allows versatility and portion flexibility, again creating the perfect alternative trick-or-treat sweet for children to take away."

Fiendishly good Mr Kipling cakes

According to IRI data, the Halloween cake market was worth £8m last year. Mr Kipling and Cadbury Cakes had a 73% share and saw growth of 23% and 12% respectively, which can be attributed to new flavours and larger pack formats which are perfect for trick-or-treating. Jess Ali, seasonal marketing controller for Mr Kipling and Cadbury Cakes at Premier Foods, recommends retailers stick with a targeted core cake range as the seasonal window for Halloween is shorter than occasions such as Christmas or Easter and this will help them limit wastage. "We know that the majority of shoppers (78%) will only make one trip to buy Halloween cake, so the range should include well-known, trusted brands. Last year the market’s top five best-selling Halloween cakes were from our Mr Kipling and Cadbury Cakes brands, including Mr Kipling Fiendish Fancies, Toffee Terror Whirls, Cadbury Pumpkin Patch Cakes and Cadbury Mini Rolls."
This year the range is back with the addition of Cadbury Blackcurrant Mini Rolls. Premier has also moved its Mr Kipling Chocolate & Slime Slices into individual Snack Packs and is introducing a larger 12-pack of its Angel Slices in the same format to drive sales.

Lower sugar selection

Many mums are keen for their kids to cut their sugar intake but Perfetti Van Melle caters for them with its new reduced-sugar and sugar-free lines. Its new Fruittella 30% reduced sugar Mini Party Mix is a 214g hanging bag containing 18 Strawberry, Lemon and Orange mini sticks. They contain no sweeteners and only natural flavours and colours.
Also available are Chupa Chups Sugar Free lollipops individually wrapped lollies in Cherry, Strawberry and Cola flavours. They come 50 to a display box, rrp 35p each. They also come in bags of 10, rrp £1.49.

Monster campaign for Fanta

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has announced the biggest ever Halloween campaign for Fanta, including exclusively designed packaging, smaller 150ml can multipacks and an advertising and marketing campaign.
The new ghoulish graphics, specially designed by artist Noma Bar, will be available from September 16 to November 11. They include Dracula with an orange in his mouth and a skull with orange slices for eyes. The spooky packs will include a code for consumers to unlock exclusive Fanta Halloween-themed Snapchat filters and lenses, which will change daily throughout the campaign to encourage repeat purchases.
The packaging will appear on a range of plain and price-marked formats, including 2ltr and 500ml PET bottles, 330ml and six x 330ml can multipacks of Fanta Orange, Orange Zero, Fruit Twist and Fruit Twist Zero. The Halloween themed packs will also coincide with the arrival of the 500ml PET Fanta Twist bottle, which made its debut in the 2ltr format earlier this summer.
The brand will also be introducing Halloween-themed limited-edition 12x150ml mini can multipacks of Fanta Orange Zero and Fruit Twist Zero, designed to appeal to consumers who are less frequent buyers of carbonated soft drinks but are looking to stock up on smaller formats for their Halloween festivities.
Other support for Fanta includes a multi-million pound marketing campaign that will feature themed in-store visuals, point-of-sale material, digital out-of-home advertising and and virtual reality ’Fright Night’ activity.


Mark Dance,
manager, Toomeys Southend:
"We’re really big on seasonal events here, with sales growing by 10-15% each year. For Halloween we get the pre-filled stands from Spar that come complete with items ideal for parties or trick-or-treating. We’re not massively into the costumes, make-up and masks but we do well on confectionery. And we leave pumpkins to the supermarkets as they do well with those I think it’s a case of choosing your battles.
"Staff dress up for Halloween if they want to. It’s always a great talking point in-store."