Springtime Treats!

Easter is one of the busiest times of year for confection sales, so it's important for retailers to be aware of the new and classic products on offer across the long and busy chocolate shopping season

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17 February 2017 | 0

Ireland is the third-largest consumer of chocolate, per capita, in the world*. Only Germany and Switzerland are ahead, and one need only look around homes and workplaces to see the frequency with which Irish people like to snack on chocolate. Ireland’s chocolate confectionery market was worth an estimated €621m in 2015, while sugar confectionery sits at an estimated €196m*. Of course, the Easter season inevitably provides a major boost in confectionery sales across the board. Continued innovation among time-honoured family favourites, along with new products from younger brands means there is choice for consumers and retailers alike.

*(Source: Smurfit Kappa Confectionery Sector Report, April 2016)

The key to sales success at the Easter season is knowing which brands and products to stock, and when. The Easter season is a long duration in retail terms, with a lot of product turnaround anddifferent offers to work through. Impulse purchasing plays a big part given the nature of the product (sweets/chocolate), which means displays and competitive pricing are key to driving sales.

The occurrence of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day within the same period also contribute strongly to seasonal sales. But Easter is the main event, and this month’s focus is on those seasonal and new offerings; an essential guide for retailers ahead of what always promises to be a profitable time.

Spring bliss

Lindor Milk & S&C_Liam ShotLindt Lindor continues its position as the number one premium boxed chocolate brand in the Irish market. Boasting double digit market share of 10.3% and +16.5% year-on-year growth, Lindt Lindor is a must stock for retailers in 2017. Providing a wide range of exciting and delectable flavours, Lindt Lindor is the perfect premium chocolate gift for any occasion.

The Lindt Lindor Milk recipe remains a true classic, and this Spring sees the return of the Limited Edition Lindor Strawberries and Cream. Lovingly crafted by the Lindt Master Chocolatiers, each Lindor Strawberries and Cream truffle is surrounded by a shell of luxurious premium white chocolate that once broken, releases an irresistibly smooth melting strawberry filling. Lindor Strawberries and Cream 200g retails at €6.99 and is available in all leading retailers.

Supported by a strong national campaign, Lindt Lindor TV advertising will return to your screens this spring with increased activity both in and out of store. Bring some bliss to your shoppers this spring with the Lindt Lindor range.

*(Source: AC Nielsen 52 weeks to 27th November 2016 – MAT)

Egg-ceptional

Lindt Easter Shell Eggs Image_HROn the back of the success of some of Lindt’s biggest brands, the Lindt Easter Egg range proves a key sales driver for retailers at springtime. Growing +17% year-on-year and delivering over €1.38m retail sales value (RSV) in 2016, Lindt Easter Eggs are proving a must stock item for retailers as consumers look to trade up and give a premium Easter gift.

From the blissful and smooth melting Lindor egg range to the iconic and magical Lindt Gold Bunny eggs and the intensely dark and satisfying Excellence dark chocolate egg, Lindt guarantees to delight both shoppers and those lucky enough to receive a Lindt egg as a gift this season.

*(Source: Nielsen Total Lindt Shell Eggs Sales 14 weeks to w/e 27th March Versus Prior Year)

Magical moments

Easter Meadow 2This spring see’s the iconic Lindt Gold Bunny hop back into stores nationwide. Growing at a rate of +17.4%, the Lindt Gold Bunny continues its success as the number one Easter novelty in the Irish market. Lovingly created by the Lindt Master Chocolatiers, consumers are bound to create magical family moments with the adorable Lindt Gold Bunny.

Made from the finest Lindt chocolate, wrapped in endearing gold foil packaging and finished with the iconic red ribbon and ringing belthe Lindt Gold Bunny is guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of your loved ones.  This Easter, retailers can expecto see a comprehensive support plan behind the Gold Bunny brand both above and below the line. Boasting engaging events, in and out of store activity and premium POS, the Lindt Gold Bunny brand is set to go from strength to strength.

As the ultimate symbol of Easter, watch the Lindt Gold Bunny hop off your shelves this season! The Lindt Gold Bunny is available in a variety of sizes and is available in all good retailers nationwide.

*(Source: Nielsen Total Lindt Gold Bunny Brand 14 weeks to w/e 27th March Versus Prior Year)

Portfolio of stars

quality street insider eggNestlé Confectionery’s plans for the Easter season include innovative new launches as well as popular choices from its range of well-known brands. Sweet-indulgent seasons like Easter rely on seasonal impulse products, and 2017 is no different for Nestlé.

Returning to the range this Easter are some Nestlé favourites: Smarties Little Choc Chick (RRP €1) and Milkybar Bunny (RRP €1), along with Smarties Mini Eggs and Milkybar Mini Eggs. Sales of the latter two have grown by 39% and 37% respectively.

Added value

smarties medium eggChildren play a huge role in Easter, of course, so for parents to know and trust their confectionery brands is essential. Milkybar and Smarties fit this bill perfectly. The Smarties Chick in Egg’s eye-catching packaging is a fun engagement for consumers, concealing mini smarties within a chocolate chick. Similarly, the Milkybar & Smarties Egg Hunt pack (RRP €6), which delivered exceptional growth in 2016, returns along with Milkybar Farmyard Fun Eggs.

Medium sized eggs are another large part of the Easter category, with sales totalling €15m in 2016. As gifts, bigger and well-known brands are important for driving sales. Brands available in this variety include KitKat Chunky, Smarties, Aero Bubbles, Rolo and more.

Next up in the chain can be found the ‘adult eggs’, which are the main gift given and received by adults during Easter. This type of egg was the strongest growing segment in 2016*, and can be found in a number of separate eggs. New for 2017 is the Quality Street Honeycomb Crunch, which will sit alongside the Quality Street Matchmakers and Milkybar Milk & Cookies ranges (all RRP €5.54). Each egg has a crispy and crunchy filling within its chocolate shell, providing consumers’ favourite treat in an innovative new format. A new pack design ensures this range will stand out for consumers even more.

kit kat collection egg3The larger format of eggs, known as ‘insider eggs’ bear an RRP of €8.59 and include Quality Street, After Eight, Rowntree’s Randoms and Munchies. Added value eggs have long been a popular choice with adult shoppers, and this year include mug packs from KitKat Chunky, Yorkie and Toffee Crisp, with an RRP of €9.39. Also returning for 2016 are the Yorkie Digger Egg and the Lion Bar egg, with an eye-catching digger shaped box and 3D packaging respectively.

Also in Nestlé’s Easter lineup this year are giant eggs and premium eggs in the giant category. Nestlé’s caramel collection comes with a new design for 2017, including Rolo, Caramac and Munchies. KitKat Chunky, Aero and Yorkie are also an important part of the giant egg category, and have RRPs of €11.59.

Finally, the premium category is a growing segment in the eggmarket, with Nestlé recording double-digit growth in 2016*. These eggs have an RRP of €15.45 and include Black Magic, Dairy Box and After Eight options, all of which target the gap in the market for older and more affluent shoppers.

Contemporary choice

B0869 1Butlers Chocolates ever-popular Easter range makes the perfect statement that “spring is in air”. Butlers beautifully presented Milk Chocolate Wrapped Eggs are presented in delicate lemon and green pastels, tied with a lavender bow. With retails starting from €8.95 and available in four sizes, each milk chocolate egg is accompanied with a selection of mini filled eggs in a variety of flavours.

Butlers large and small Boxed Eggs have been redesigned this year with a contemporary Easter pattern using delicate yellow tones and comprising a gorgeous milk chocolate egg accompanied by a selection of filled mini eggs including among others; Caramel, Lemon and White Truffle. Butlers Boxed Eggs make the perfect Easter gift and they are priced at €10 and €15. Finally, Butlers Bunny character in milk or white chocolate varietals completes the range, making the perfect Easter treat for children at €8.95. Butlers Chocolates are distributed by Richmond Marketing.

Sophisticated sensations

NEW RANGE EASTER EGGS 2016Savvy modern consumers continue to demand more sophisticated taste sensations; more variety oflavours and richer levels of indulgence. That is why Lily O’Brien’s, one of Ireland’s bestselling premium chocolatiers, is continuing to drive sales growth with its broad range of handcrafted Easter Eggs. Lily O’Brien’s eggs are designed to cater to the diverse need-states of chocolate consumers during this key season.

The Kildare-based chocolate brand extended its range in 2016, adding five new boxed Easter Eggs in a variety of formats to capitalise on its consistently strong performance at Easter. The positive incremental sales growth generated by these productmeans that they are being repeated in 2017.

Three of the luxury eggs in the range include the Desserts Collection Egg, inspired by classic dessert recipes from across the globe and containing three bestloved recipes from Lily O’Brien’s top selling Desserts Collection; the Salted
Caramel Egg containing this modern classic recipe in both milk and dark chocolate and finally the brand’s new signature Le Crunch Chocolat Egg containing sumptuous milk chocolates mixed with caramelised French biscuit.

In addition the range includes a variety of chocolate eggs in more accessible pouch formats includingKey Limey Pie, Nuts about Fruit, Zesty Orange and White Chocolate Cocoa Cookie Egg, which is available under its sub-brand, Uglies. Lily O’Brien’s is distributed nationwide by Tennant & Ruttle. Choice is key.

Spoiling Us

As one would expect, Ferrero places great significance in the Easter chocolate season. Here, customer development director Levi Boorer explains the company’s approach and strategy to the season, along with tips for retailers’
most effective positions of Ferrero products.

Q: How did Easter treats and sharing bags perform within convenience stores last year? How
did your Easter treat items perform last year?

A: Just over three-quarters of consumers say that spending time together over Easter is important to them* and two in five shoppers claim to celebrate Easter, so there are no surprises that shoppers spent an extra €41m on branded goods**. As well as being the perfect time for buying gifts for others to enjoy, treating yourself and others with single serve items during this period is also popular. With Thornton’s joining the Ferrero stable, we are able to offer products to suit every need.

Ferrero is the third largest manufacturer in Ireland, experiencing double digit value (+30%) and volume growth (30%) in the 12 weeks leading up to Easter last year. Kinder performed particularly well in Easter 2016, driving €1.8m in value sales*** while the brand’s 150g Flame Egg was also the best performing product in
shell eggs.

Q: What Easter treat NPD and marketing activities do you have planned for 2017?

A: Returning for spring 2017, Kinder Surprise will be partnering with two new licenses, My Little Pony and Transformers, available in 150g Flame Egg format. The eggs will be available in individual boxes, perfect for gifting.

Q: How early should retailers start displaying their Easter treat and sharing offerings?

A: Easter fell at an earlier date in 2016 compared to the previous two years, which resulted in a notable change in shoppers’ behaviour, with a sudden increase in sales six weeks before Easter. Falling on 16 April this year, there is even more time for retailers to maximise Easter sales. We expect to see shoppers planning in advance and preparing their purchases earlier, so would encourage retailers to stock up as early as January to make sure they meet the demand for shoppers looking to purchase in advance once again.

Q: What Easter treat merchandising tips can you offer convenience retailers?

A: Ferrero always recommends that retailers utilise the POS solutions that are made available to maximise sales and capture shoppers’ attention with eye-catching theatre in-store. Retailers can order their free POS at ferrero-trade.co.uk.

Q: In terms of the market, how has it fared in the past, what is it like now and what does the future hold?

A: Confectionery had its strongest Easter in three years in 2016, driven by growth in novelties and eggs. This year, we expect to see another strong performance from the category, particularly as Easter falls later and shoppers have the chance to plan. The combination of shoppers’ priorities and the economy changing frequently has impacted the retailer landscape. There is a continued focus on sugar, but it is still apparent that consumers like to treat themselves
and others with chocolate especially during key seasons in the year, with €9.6m (+12%) being spent on chocolate gifting last Easter****.”

Q: Are there any new consumer trends that retailers should be aware of for this time of year?

A: Consumers say that spending time together over Easter is important. 62% say they spend their Easter enjoying a family meal where sharing and gifting products such as Ferrero’s boxed chocolate range play a huge part. A quarter
(24%) of consumers take part in a family days out, which sees an increase in self-eat and treating formats such as Kinder Joy.

We have seen a gradually evolving trend where shoppers are increasing how much they eat and share at home with family and friends. To accommodate this trend, we have worked hard to shape our portfolio to ensure we are tapping into the popularity of sharing. We understand the role that sharing now plays within the confectionery market and the Ferrero Pralines and Thornton’s Boxed Chocolates ranges will be clearly positioned in line with two key shopper missions – to give to share and to give to gift. We have also seen that shoppers are willing to spend more on premium products, with 70% of shoppers valuing quality of chocolate over quantity. Confectionery is one of the few categories  where consumers are willing to trade up to more premium treats. Ferrero Rocher’s seasonal lines such as Raffaello
Hearts and Thorntons’ premium eggs play into this consumer need by offering shoppers an assortment of premium products.

Q: Should independent retailers try and compete with the supermarkets?

A: It is important that convenience retailers create as much excitement within their local community. This will not only help translate into sales but bring in new shoppers. Last Easter, Kinder launched its very own Easter Egg Hunt to introduce Kinder Joy into the seasonal confectionery market. The activity encouraged retailers to offer their local communities their own Easter egg hunts in-store, increasing footfall and driving excitement around the Easter occasion.

As a result, retailers saw an increase in their Easter sales compared to 2015, as well as increased basket spend compared to the previous week of trading. Ferrero encourages retailers to inspire their local communities with
family activities, particularly during spring occasions, where shoppers are looking to gift.

*(Source: Easter Omnibus 2016)
**(Source: Homescan Survey January 2016 v 2015)
***(Source: Nielsen Ireland, 17 weeks Nielsen Scantrack, 2016)
****(Source: Easter Omnibus 2016)

Sparkling sales

Shloer Celebration White Bubbly Easter ev“Easter isn’t just about Easter eggs and chocolates,” says Brendan Loughran, head of business unit (Ireland) at SHS Drinks whose portfolio includes the sparkling adult soft drinks brand Shloer. “For adults it’s the first main holiday break after Christmas,” he says, “and a key opportunity for socialising as consumers emerge from the cold, dark winter days and start to look forward to summer and more sunny social occasions.

“Shloer sales always shoot up dramatically at Easter when family and friends get together and it represents a key growth opportunity for retailers provided they plan for the sudden and dramatic upsurge in sales,” Loughran says.

Each Easter, Shloer sales continue to escalate and improve on the previous Easter’s performance: Shloer sold more than 100m bottles In Ireland last Easter – a 20% volume increase on Easter 2015*. On the topic of why Shloer delivers strong growth for retailers year after year, Loughran says Shloer is very much part of Easter
for a growing number of
consumers.

“Much of this success has been driven by new product developments,” he says, “such as Shloer Celebration and Shloer Light which have made major contributions to broadening the appeal and increasing usage of the popular adult soft drinks brand. “Shloer Celebration, in particular, is gathering momentum as shoppers are increasingly
purchasing Pink Fizz and White Bubbly, which both have popping corks, to add some extra sparkle to the Easter occasion. Easter accounted for 40% of Shloer Celebration’s annual sales in Ireland last year*.”

SHS Drinks says Shloer Light, which now accounts for 20% of Shloer sales in multiple grocers in Ireland**, is also developing the Easter sales opportunity further as it appeals to people who want to be part of the Easter celebrations,
but are looking for a lower-calorie, healthier option. To maximise the seasonal sales potential of Shloer, SHS Drinks has created tailor-made Easter promotions to support the entire Shloer range: Shloer White Grape, Red Grape, Rosé, White Grape & Apple, Raspberry & Cranberry; Shloer Celebration Pink Fizz and White Bubbly; and Shloer Light
Red Grape and Light White Grape.

SHS Drinks suggests that retailers devote additional space to Shloer by proactively supporting the Shloer range in-store during Easter. The supplier suggests secondary siting of strategically positioned free-standing display units, off-shelf displays or inclusion in seasonal displays, stating that these tactics really do pay dividends as it helps to drive impulse purchases by making it easier for shoppers to pick up a bottle when they are purchasing other Easter-related items such as Easter Eggs, chocolates, flowers and cards.

For sales enquiries, contact SHS Sales & Marketing on +353 (0) 1 4016200. ■
*(Source: SHS Sales & Marketing ROI Internal Sales Data 8 weeks ending
29.4.16)
**(Source: SHS Sales & marketing ROI Internal Sales Data MAT w/e 26.12.16)

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