All things nice!

Whether it’s a school time treat, a family occasion or a simple indulgence, sugar confectionery will always have a place in consumers’ lives. For producers, the key to sales success is a combination of NPD and long-standing favourites, writes Doug Whelan


Brand Central

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17 April 2018 | 0

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There is no doubt of the renewed focus among consumers on healthy options for them and their families. This is a great thing, the long term effects of which, will surely lead to decreased obesity and better lifestyles among us all. That said, there will always be a place for sugar confectionery in our lives, either as a post-meal treat, an indulgent snack, a fun family event creating memories or a way to satisfy that nostalgic desire in us all.

That enduring popularity is reflected in the segment’s steadily increasing sales. The segment grew to €206m in 2017*, thanks in part to consistent innovation in the segment.

This innovation is apparent even in the most iconic brand names, as we will see. Read on to see what some of the most popular brands out there have planned for this spring and summer.

*(Source: Sugar Confectionery in Ireland, Euromonitor, August 2017)

90 years of joy

Swizzels has been delighting consumers with its creations for 90 years in 2018

Swizzels has been delighting consumers with its creations for 90 years in 2018

With year-on-year sales up by an impressive 18%*, Swizzels is one of the fastest growing sugar confectionery brands on the market. This year marks 90 years of the brand’s sweet inventions, which include the iconic and timeless Love Hearts all the way through to more contemporary creations such as Squashies.

The Squashies range offers a new take on classic sweet brands, and is Swizzels’ strongest performer

The Squashies range offers a new take on classic sweet brands, and is Swizzels’ strongest performer

Current trends are seeing consumer demand squarely focused on value for money. For that reason, sharing occasions such as a family night in provide the perfect opportunity for retailers to add value-for-money sweet treats from popular brands to their sugar confectionery offering. For example, the Drumstick Original Squashies is now the number one bestselling sugar confectionery PMP*.

The Squashies range, which sees classic offerings such as Drumsticks and Refreshers ‘squashified’ into softer foam gum versions, has enjoyed strong success. The range continues to be Swizzels’ strongest performing brand, worth £36m, and the fastest growing sugar confectionery brand in the marketplace, +62% year-on-year. Furthermore, two of the top 10 bestselling sugar confectionery products in the UK are Squashies*.

In particular, the Drumstick Squashies variant is Swizzels’ bestselling product; it is also the bestselling item on the confectionery fixture in many instances, so making this prominent within a share bag display is sure to boost sales.

The new Loadsa range is a new range performing very well

The new Loadsa range is a new range performing very well

Alongside the original Refreshers and Drumstick Milk & Raspberry flavours, the range now includes Drumstick Bubblegum and Sour Cherry & Apple flavours.

Another strong performing PMP range offering value for money is Swizzels’ Loadsa Sweets, Loadsa Lollies and Loadsa Chews range. These include a variety of the brand’s most popular products, while each individually wrapped sweet is under 100 calories. The newly-designed packaging includes a clear window to showcase the treats inside, and a flash clearly stating how many individual sweets are in each pack, meaning shoppers know exactly what they are getting for their money.

*(Source: IRI total Marketplace sugar confectionery data 52 weeks to 28.01.18)

Sweet memories

Historic Irish brand Cleeve’s is back on the market with a new range of varieties, including unique Iced Caramels

Historic Irish brand Cleeve’s is back on the market with a new range of varieties, including unique Iced Caramels

2018 is about to see the relaunch of an iconic Irish confectionery brand. Back on shelves after a 30-year absence, Cleeve’s was produced in Limerick from the late 1800s and exported all over the world. Best known for its slab toffee, Cleeve’s was an integral part of Ireland’s confectionery industry for most of the 20th century.

Now the brand is back with a new home (Newbridge, Co. Kildare) and a new line featuring a range of hanging bags and bars. Original Toffee, Original Chocolate Fudge, Lucky Numbers and Original Iced Caramels all come in hanging bags, priced at €2 (RRP).

Iced Caramels are a unique product, produced only in Ireland by Cleeve’s using a complex process developed in the early 1990s. Since 1990, the Cleeve’s factory produced Iced Caramels under the Clarnico brand for Cadbury, then since 2007 under the Lemon’s brand and now in 2018 under its own Cleeve’s brand.

All Cleeve’s products are produced in Newbridge and carry the Guaranteed Irish logo to reflect the brand’s Irishness – relatively rare in the modern confectionery industry. The brand aims to help relive nostalgic memories with older generations, while also creating new ones with the younger.

Cleeve’s is exclusively distributed by Ampersand. If you are interested in stocking, you are invited to call the Ampersand sales line on 01-413-0100 or email

Creating smiles

Sonas’ sweet bags will bring a smile to faces with its mix of varieties

Sonas’ sweet bags will bring a smile to faces with its mix of varieties

The Irish word for happiness is Sonas, and that’s a perfect moniker for this sweet brand whose main objective is to put smiles on the faces of consumers with every bite. Sonas Sweets are manufactured and distributed by Ampersand, which has been working within the confectionery space for the last few years. After seeing the demand in the Irish market, Ampersand last year decided to create its own brand of sweets. The objective was to produce a quality range that was fully compliant, with vibrant packaging, which also gives a nod to its Irish heritage.

The Sonas Sweets range includes a €2 mix up bag and €1 hanging bags containing 17 different varieties. The sweets are all of the favourites including jellies, sour sweets, bonbons, and liquorice pencils.

The 230g mix up bags are great for sharing and on-the-go convenience, ideal for school bags or car journeys. Plus, seeing as the bags can be resealed it means they don’t have to be eaten in one sitting. The 100g hanging bags are a perfect treat sized portion priced at €1.

Sonas Sweets’ bright and colourful rainbow packaging will appeal to both younger and older generations. The hanging bags are merchandised on a 21 or 28-hook branded FSDU, and the mix ups in a dump bin with poster.

The mix ups are hand packed in Ireland, with a re-sealable tab using a double laminate bag which ensures no bag rips. All Sonas Sweets products are fully traceable and compliant with EU regulations.

To inquire about stocking Sonas Sweets please call the Ampersand sales line on 01-4130100 or email

Smart move

Sweet producer Nestlé is responding enthusiastically to enormous consumer demand by bringing back the much-loved Orange Smarties this spring. The brand’s instantly recognisable “hexatubes” are now available across the wholesale and convenience sector – consisting entirely of the delicious orange variety.

“A return for Orange Smarties has been our number one consumer request,” says Maria McKenna, confectionary marketing manager for Nestlé Ireland, “so we simply had to bring them back this season. People love their distinctive flavour, so much so that the tubes were sold out in some stores just a few weeks after launch. Since then we have been inundated with requests from all over the country asking where they could be purchased!”

Due to their unique flavour, Orange Smarties are slightly more difficult to manufacture, but McKenna says that the sweet factory experts have been hard at work, and the sweets are once again on offer this spring.

Smarties have been around since 1937, when Rowntree’s renamed their existing product, originally known as Chocolate Dragée, or Chocolate Beans! After all these years the brand is still going strong, and even began manufacturing without artificial colours or flavours since 2006.


Fresh choice

The key to driving mint sales is position for impulse purchase, says Ferrero

The key to driving mint sales is locating them in a strong position for impulse purchase, says Ferrero

Ferrero has offered extensive research on Ireland’s pocket confectionery category, which is growing at +2.1% year-on-year and worth €33.3m. More than 1.7m Irish households make purchases in this segment, with purchase frequency growing at 4.2% year-on-year. This growth offers more opportunities for retailers in the mints and gums segment in particular, and much-loved Tic Tacs is one of those offerings.

Worth more than €1.5m in the market, the extensive Tic Tac’s range offers a selection of mint and fruit variants. The fruit offering was developed over recent years following an increased demand for fruit flavours, which Ferrero acted upon by developing insight driven NPD, ensuring retailers can satisfy shoppers’ needs.

Pocket Confectionery is one of the most impulsive categories in the confectionery market, with seven out of 10 purchase acts being unplanned. Meanwhile, 31% of shoppers purchase only one item in a convenience store visit. Maximising sales opportunities means locating the produscts in disruptive locations. Many shoppers will also browse for longer at place such as the newspaper or magazine fixture – retailers can capitalise on this by implementing magazine hook-over units.

Tic Tacs has responded to consumer demand with an ever-growing range

Tic Tacs has responded to consumer demand with an ever-growing range

At Ferrero, we understand how important it is for retailers to implement visually-striking displays in-store,” says Levi Boorer, customer development director at Ferrero. “This will encourage repeat purchases, entice new shoppers and contribute to the overall appearance of the store.”

In light of this, the Ferrero trade website features a dedicated page for point of sale where the latest items are uploaded for retailers to order free.

“To be on the front foot for the future,” says Boorer, “retailers must focus on their shoppers’ needs and tailor their ranges to successfully accommodate this. With Tic Tac acting as a favourite with young adults, we are confident that our new flavours will continue to entice new shoppers who are looking for something different.”

Ferrero anticipates that Tic Tac will continue to grow within the category, thanks to strong NPD, strong media investment and commitment to retailers to ensure that the category is being effectively merchandised.


Merchandising advice from Ferrero

  • Ensure you keep your shelves full of product and well-organised so that customers can easily find what they are looking for
  • Use bespoke POS to help create in-store theatre and draw attention to new products
  • Stock the bestsellers as they will provide a greater rate of sale
  • Be aware of which brands are being heavily supported by marketing, as this will drive consumer awareness which you can translate to sales

Sugar tax – is confectionery next in line?

One of the biggest topics of the moment in FMCG is the imminent sugar tax, which will apply levies to soft drinks depending on their sugar content per 100ml. While controversial, it seems likely to have the desired effect, as it has led to almost immediate reductions across the board from some of the major soft drinks manufacturers.

Now, according to reports, lobbyists in the UK plan to next set their sights on sugar confectionery, which can have what Kawther Hashem, spokesperson for a group called Action on Sugar calls “excessive levels of sugar”.

In an interview with UK publication Better Retailing, Hashem acknowledged that manufacturers were taking steps to reduce their products’ sugar content, but that they had not yet gone far enough.

“Even if you make the serving very small,” he said, “bestsellers are still going to contain more than 100 calories.”

The big companies are moving in that direction, for sure. One needs only to look to Mars’ Goodness Knows bar, which features less cocoa and less calories, to know that brands are aware of, and attempting to tap into, consumers’ hunger for healthier options.

Whether or not the conversation will lead to a similar tax on edible sugar confectionery remains to be seen. There is every chance that manufacturers will see which way the wind is blowing this time, and pre-empt a new sugar tax. Until then, consumers will be free to make their own choices!







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