There are loads of special festive lines around this year to add excitement to your displays.

Premier Foods is launching a selection of new cakes including Mr Kipling’s Big Frosty Fancy, a seasonal take on the popular Big French Fancy. The cake is iced in snowy white and features a polar bear on top.

There are two new Cadbury cakes: Snow Star Cakes are chocolate coated and cream filled, topped with a white chocolate star and a dusting of icing sugar ’snow’; while Merry Mini Rolls are filled with a cranberry and vanilla swirl.

Premier is also launching two new Lyons lines exclusively to the convenience channel: Christmas Yule Log and a six-pack of Christmas Cake Slices.

UB’s McVitie’s brand too has a host of new products for the festive season. These include McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes cranberry & orange cake bars which come in a pack of five with a rrp of £1.49. Then there’s McVitie’s Christmas Festive Fruity Spice Cake with a rrp of £1.49. One new line that’s bound to be popular is Galaxy Mistletoe Kisses cake bars a cake version of the chocolate impulse line. These are made with chocolate sponge, topped with chocolate cream and caramel, all covered in Galaxy milk chocolate. They come in packs of five, rrp £1.49.

And returning for 2010 are Penguin Yule Logs, in packs of six for £1.49.

In the biscuits category, McVitie’s has three new lines: Belgian Chocolate Biscuit Selection, rrp £8.80; Festive Faces, rrp £1.65; and Family Favourites selection, rrp £5.50.

UB’s Christmas sharing drums are back for 2010. The range includes Mini Cheddars, Cheeselets, Twiglets, Cheese Footballs and Hula Hoops Stars & Hoops. Each has a rrp of £2.99.

Also available in sharing drums are KP Nuts. Flavours include honey roast, dry roasted, original jumbo salted peanuts, jumbo sweet chilli and new jumbo salt & pepper. Rrp is £3.79

Nick Stuart, commercial manager at UBUK, comments: "Biscuits and snacks are two of the strongest performers at Christmas and they continue to be ’must stock’ categories for retailers. While consumption in home accounts for the majority of sales, gifting ranges continue to be a key sales driver and this is very much reflected in our festive range, particularly in sweet biscuits."

He recommends that Christmas displays be put out in store from October, supported by value-adding promotions to ensure sales are won early.

From this month, Pringles are available in two special-edition flavours: pigs in blankets and Christmas turkey. Cans feature festive artwork including a blank box for customers to add their own special message to share the fun of the ’giving’ season.

According to TNS data, almost a third of consumers choose Pringles as their favourite Christmas snack. Paul Lettice, trade communications manager at brand owner P&G, comments: "Forty per cent of annual Pringles sales are made around this time of year, so the brand represents a great opportunity for retailers to increase their snacks sales and boost overall profits." The Christmas packs will be supported by a multi-million pound marketing campaign including seasonal TV, press and online advertising from November onwards.

Xmas tipple

For most people, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a festive tipple.Diageo’s brands will be hard to miss as the company is investing £47m in brand activity throughout the winter, in the lead-up to Christmas and between Christmas and New Year, to drive consumer interest and purchase of spirits. Diageo will be running winter campaigns for Smirnoff, Gordon’s, Bell’s, Reserve Brands and Guinness in the coming months.

In addition, Smirnoff Black super premium vodka will be available in a special black gifting carton. Rrp is £16.80.

Meanwhile, Baileys will be backed by a £4.5m investment, an increase of over 40% on last year. Plus there is the launch of new Baileys hazelnut flavour.

Two new Baileys gift packs are available this year: one contains Baileys original 20cl and chocolate cups; the other includes a pack of four 5cl Baileys flavours (hazelnut, with a hint of caramel, with a hint of mint and with a hint of coffee).

Diageo is also investing in enhanced field sales support in the convenience sector. This will comprise more calls on retailers to activate and implement in-store point-of-sale material.

Meanwhile, Beverage Brands is running an on-pack promotion on WKD pre-Christmas. The ’Win Whatever You Ask For! (But only if we like it)’, competition encourages consumers to think up their own prizes and request their dream Christmas presents.

The activity will feature on over 500,000 key packs in November and December. Purchasers will be directed online to Facebook to post their dream Christmas present wishes, and the interactive site will be hosted by a fun WKD character, called ’Noel’. Consumers who submit the most original requests (that are in keeping with the WKD brand) will win exactly what they asked for.

Aside from WKD’s nationwide TV advertising, which is already planned to run until the end of the year, the promotion will benefit from a bespoke TV ad appearing on video-on-demand channels. To increase the promotional campaign’s visibility in stores, WKD Christmas decoration kits will be available free to independent retailers. The kits can be obtained from the POS Hotline (0800 917 3450) from November onwards.

In addition, Beverage Brands is making WKD ’Turkey Head’ promotional hats available for independent retailers to offer as sales incentives. The fun headgear will be available through case deals in participating cash and carries and wholesalers.

But Christmas isn’t all about food. There are the cards, presents and the wrapping too. For wrapping, it’s hard to beat Sellotape. The brand is being relaunched this month following a £3m investment in the development and redesign of the entire range.

Remaining at the heart of the brand is the original golden product, which is a retailer essential.

New lines include Super Clear tape which aims to give consumers "a seamless finish, anti-tangle for better control and easy tear".

The Sellotape brand will be supported by a £2m TV spend.

Christmas confectionery

The Christmas confectionery market in 2009 was valued at £538m and grew by 2.7%, according to IRI data, and this year is set to be just as good.

Graham Walker, trade communications manager at Nestlé UK, says: "Stocking the right range at the right time and in the right way are the most important factors in developing Christmas sales."

The right range means stocking Christmas products for every occasion impulse, gifting and sharing with the number-one focus being on impulse, which is the key opportunity for forecourt retailers and grew by 28% last Christmas.

For Christmas 2010, Nestlé has launched its first Fairtrade seasonal impulse line. Kit Kat Claus features a Santa packaging design. It is available in a 36-count outer with a rrp of 45p. Quality Street My Favourites, which include Caramel Swirl, Green Triangle and Purple One, will come in new dual opening outers for Christmas 2010.

Following the launch of Cadbury’s Make A Wish Foundation last Christmas, the company has this year launched the Wishes milk chocolate star with bubbly chocolate and truffle centre. With a rrp of 59p, 10% of all profits from sales of Wishes will be donated to Make A Wish.

Mars has a limited-edition festive-themed M&M’s variant. Red and Green M&M’s will be supported by a Christmas TV ad as part of M&Ms’ £4m media spend in the last quarter of the year.

Seasonal sharing grew by 6.6% last Christmas, therefore presenting a great opportunity for retailers this year. Quality Street Matchmakers has evolved for 2010 with new packaging and a £1m media campaign, while After Eight will come in a 33% extra free pack and be supported by a £1m campaign.

Celebrations and Maltesers, meanwhile, will be back with special seasonal packs and supported by a £1.3m TV advertising campaign, and Cadbury has given its Snow Bites brand, which was launched last Christmas, a new look. The 100g bags have a rrp of £1.09 and come in 18-pack outers and clip-strip format.

Within the gifting segment, Nestlé has launched the Milkybar Polar Bear novelty product, following the success of Milkybar Bluebell last spring. The white chocolate stocking filler has a rrp of £2.03. The company has also launched Rowntree’s Pick & Mix and Rowntree Fruit Pastille’s gift cartons aimed at male consumers, and Aero Bubbles peppermint gift for women. The two male-targeted products have a rrp of £1.50, while the new Aero Bubbles gift box has a rrp of £3.99.

Cadbury has added a premium gifting product to its seasonal range in the form of Koko by Cadbury Assorted Truffles. The roasted almonds, milk chocolate and hazelnut praline chocolates come in a 195g box with a rrp of £3.99.

Festive Facts

l According to Nielsen data, sales of biscuits grew by £10m last Christmas.

l Sales of crisps and snacks grew by £16m last year (Nielsen)

l In 2009 the seasonal cake category grew by 3%, with sales of seasonal small cakes particularly strong, growing at 42% and seasonal mini rolls up by 27% (Nielsen)

l 30% of pickle sales occur at Christmas (IRI 12 w/e Dec 26, 2009)

l 42% of Paxo sales occur in the last eight weeks before Christmas (IRI as before)

l Last year, a record 42 million drums of Bisto gravy were sold at Christmas (IRI as before)

l In independent convenience stores, Diageo brands added £2.6m of the £2.9 value growth in the spirits category (Nielsen data)

l 15% of convenience shoppers use their local store more than usual during the Christmas period (Nielsen)