Category Focus: Sweet Dreams

With sugar confectionery experiencing growth of 2.5% and premium lines continuing to drive sales within chocolate confectionery, it is a positive time for confectionery, where the demand for indulgence and a luxurious treat remains high, writes Gillian Hamill


Brand Central

23 September 2019

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Without a doubt, Ireland as a nation has something of a sweet tooth. According to analyst Euromonitor, per capita consumption of chocolate confectionery is noticeably higher in Ireland compared to its consumption in other markets, coming in at almost double the average for Western Europe. In fact, Euromonitor reports that although Ireland is, to a certain extent, in the midst of an obesity epidemic, chocolate continues to grow in size and ‘chocolate pouches and bags’ is the fastest-growing category within chocolate confectionery.

In its latest report on ‘Confectionery in Ireland’ published in August of last year, the analyst reported that rising consumer confidence is prompting Irish consumers to spend more on premium treats. Within chocolate confectionery, Irish consumers are currently spending more on indulgent, premium treats and are not only spending more but are also consuming premium chocolate more frequently.

Euromonitor also emphasizes that product reformulation will be important to remaining competitive. With many within the industry fearing a wider rollout of the sugar tax, many key players are reformulating their products to avoid sugar as much as possible, either by reducing the sugar content or by increasing the use of artificial sweeteners.

Meanwhile, within the sugar confectionery category, ‘pastilles, gums, jellies and chews’ recorded the highest value growth in 2018. A significant category, it is currently full of new products and flavours which is helping to boost sales, particularly around Halloween, Easter and Christmas.

Interestingly, Euromonitor also reports that the ‘kidulting’ trend is providing a boost to confectionery manufacturers. The term ‘kidulting’ refers to the consumption of sweets and treats that are geared towards adult consumers who are looking for ways to relive their childhood.

“As it is becoming increasingly common for consumers to transition from focusing on possessions to experiences, this is a major factor in what is psychologically driving the ‘kidulting’ trend,” Euromonitor reports. This trend is reflected in the rise of retro brands which feature traditional recipes and nostalgic packaging.

Category Insights: Confectionery (click image for full size version)

Something for everyone

Valeo Foods has a broad range of confectionery to suit your customers’ tastes, as outlined below.

Return of the MAC-aroon

The Wilton brand is over 80 years old, so it was time for a refresh! The new look stays true to Wilton’s retro roots, tapping into the nostalgia around the brand and its two unique treats. Both Wilton bars have new and improved recipes with real milk chocolate and are made locally in Dublin.

Firstly, for consumers who are nuts about coconuts, the Wilton Macaroon is the ideal bar. This smooth milk chocolate bar is made with delicious desiccated coconut pieces and is bursting with flavour.

‘Mint’ to be!

With Wilton Mint Crisp returning too, these two old favourites were ‘mint’ to be! A delicious milk chocolate bar, this is made with peppermint oil and studded with crisp sugar pieces for added bite.

Bean mine!

Since appearing on the highend jelly bean scene back in 1998, The Jelly Bean Factory’s Dublin plant has exported a gazillion moments of happiness to millions across the planet. By combining curiosity, passion and the will to surprise, the brand is reinventing jellybeans for the 21st-century.

Colourful and charismatic Gourmet Jelly Beans “defy reality”, with 36 huge flavours that punch way above their size and weight. Perfected over two weeks’ time, each one of these beans is produced with no artificial colours or flavours and is also gluten-free, gelatin-free, nut-free and veggie-friendly.

As the brand’s marketing states: “Individually, each bean is outrageous and awesome. Together, they’ll magically transform an everyday ordinary treat into a sensational candy experience.”

New innovation available now includes The Jelly Bean Factory Super Sours gourmet jelly beans (50g) and The Jelly Bean Factory gourmet jelly beans (50g), are great value at €1 a bag, perfect for on-the-go or a little treat. These contain all natural flavours and colours.

Favourite retro classics

The Barratt brand has a broad appeal and taps into consumer demand for retro and nostalgia as consumers are returning to these favourite retro classics like Dip Dab, Wham, Flumps and Black Jack. Halloween is a key season on the calendar and Barratt has a new Tricks Mix pack (180g) coming out. Containing a mix of some of the most iconic retro brands, it is ideal for all those trick or treat occasions.

Traditional recipes

Since 1927, Oatfield has been making mouth-watering sweets from the finest ingredients, sourced from around the world. Working to traditional recipes, all Oatfield sweets are still made with great care for consumers today to enjoy. Recently added to the range are three new pouch bags: Oatfield Milk Chocolate Peanuts (150g), Milk Chocolate Toffees (150g) and Milk Chocolate Raisins (150g). The individual packs are brightly coloured for strong standout on-shelf and for ease of navigation for consumers.

A winning treat

Butlers Chocolates, Ireland’s premier family-owned chocolatier, is thrilled to have been selected once again as the chocolate partner for the National Lottery’s Hampers, Sweets and Treats scratch card game, which launches in October.

The chocolate prize in the game is Butlers 225g Chocolate Ballotin, containing a collection of 20 alcohol-free truffles and pralines and caramels in milk, dark and white chocolate including Dark Salted Caramel, Crème Vanille and Honeycomb Crisp.

The beautifully festive ballotin is hand-wrapped in a luxury red and gold paper and finished with co-ordinated seasonal red ribbon and swing tag. All the delicious chocolates inside the box have been crafted using sustainably sourced cocoa under the Cocoa Horizons initiative – a verified programme that supports the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their families in West Africa.

Retailers can make a margin on both the Hampers, Sweets and Treats ticket and the Butlers Ballotin – an excellent opportunity to maximise revenue. The brand advises National Lottery stockists to order early in order to make the most of the festive season ahead.

Butlers 225g Chocolate Ballotin is distributed by Richmond Marketing. Display stands and point of sale materials are available on request.

Call 01 6233222 or email for more information or to place an order.

Sparking children’s imaginations

Kinder, the number one kids confectionery brand since 2012*, is bringing a world full of adventures to shoppers with the launch of its first-ever owned license: Animal Adventures.

“Kinder has a long heritage of sparking the imagination of children and the launch of our new owned license will be a really important milestone in the brand’s history,” says Levi Boorer, customer development director for Ferrero UK & Ireland. “As a massive brand with a global market share of 7.2%, and as the number one kids’ confectionery brand, this launch reinforces our credentials as leaders in inspiring children through play.”

Covering Kinder Surprise and Kinder Chocolate, the Animal Adventures range aims to provide families with creative play and fun education. With eight wild fact cards/stickers available within Kinder Chocolate packs, consumers can learn fun and interesting facts about the animals that will tap into children’s thirst for learning.

Kinder Surprise will also inspire children with 21 different animal-themed toys to help spark their imaginations and create memories as they play with their families. Each toy will include special features, such as different fabrics to replicate fur or feathers or realistic movements to mimic the animals.

Shoppers will also have the chance to win one of 3,000 play packs, which includes a case that they’ll be able to store and keep their toys and wild fact cards in to help kids play and learn for longer. Shoppers can find more details at

“Kids are fascinated by animals and the worlds they live in, so our Animal Adventures range will be the perfect source of inspiration to aid play and learning,” adds Boorer. “This new range will bring shoppers even closer to what Kinder is all about – encouraging imagination through play and learning. We’re always looking to add extra value to our products, and we’re delivering that by ensuring that we provide interesting bite-sized facts alongside the realistic features on our toys. These will help our products last beyond that initial moment of excitement to support sustained imaginative play.”

*(Source: Nielsen – MAT to W.E 26.06.19, Value Sales, Total Kinder Surprise)

Festive sales set to sparkle

As retailers are only too well aware, Christmas is a vital sales period for confectionery and Ferrero has come up trumps again this year in providing a festive range to suit every need. The boxed chocolates category, worth €35m at Christmas in Ireland*, is one that Ferrero is synonymous with through its Rocher, Collection, Raffaello and Thorntons ranges, and this presents a great opportunity for retailers to drive sales over Christmas.

“Christmas is a key seasonal trading spike for the confectionery category, and it’s important that retailers stock the right range of quality products to cover every shopper’s needs,” says Levi Boorer, customer development director at Ferrero. “That’s why we are providing customers with the right support for them to grow their sales through a winning core range and exciting new products.

“Ferrero’s diverse portfolio contains a number of best-selling, quality brands that help to drive category growth, offering shoppers great tasting products to gift and share during the Christmas period,” he adds. “Many shoppers love Ferrero products throughout the entire year, and when stocked alongside our seasonal launches that add more interest to the category, it gives retailers the opportunity to excite their shoppers over the Christmas period.”

*(Source: Nielsen ROI, 18 weeks to 30.12.18)

A delicious dilemma: Share or keep!

Premium Irish chocolate brand, Lily O’Brien’s, has launched a new flavour to its highly successful share bag collection.

The new flavour, Crispy Butterscotch combines Lily O’Brien’s milk chocolate with crispy butterscotch pieces, to deliver an outstanding and indulgent taste experience. Each re-sealable snacking pouch contains contains 11 mouth-watering chocolate discs and weighs 110g. The new Crispy Butterscotch share bags are part of the wider Lily O’Brien’s share bag collection which includes five flavours; 40% Mega Milk Chocolate, 70% Dark Belgian Chocolate, Crunchy Salted Almond and Creamy Caramels with Sea Salt and new Crispy Butterscotch.

The share bags range are all priced at €2.99 and are available in selected retailers nationwide. The share bags are designed for consumers to ‘Share Wisely’, and the launch of the new Crispy Butterscotch share bags coincides with the brand’s new above-the-line ‘Share Wisely’ campaign, including its first TV airing across Ireland and the UK this year. The campaign explores the delicious dilemma between sharing and keeping, when it comes to something as good as Lily O’Brien’s chocolate. The creative platform playfully showcases the fact that there are some things we’re happy to share, and others we should maybe keep to ourselves.

Share bags by Lily O’Brien’s offer the perfect treat for sharing or self-indulgence and are a welcome addition to the sharing category.

A moment of bliss wherever you go

The smooth melting Lindt Lindor Treat Bar is Ireland’s number one premium chocolate countline and is a proven must-stock product for retailers this year*. Available in a slim stick format, it is an ideal on-the-go treat and is available in three delectable flavours – the classic Lindor milk recipe, an orange flavoured
milk chocolate and a new mint flavoured chocolate for those looking for something with a little twist.

The Lindor Treat Bar range also includes Lindor Milk and Milk Orange Multipacks, with the same slim stick packaging but in a convenient multipack format. These are perfect for filling lunch boxes or as a little picnic treat while consumers are out and about.

The Lindor Treat Bar 38g range retails at €1.29 and is available nationwide, while the Lindor Multipack is also available in all leading retailers and retails at €2.69.

As the brand points out, now you can give your shoppers a moment of bliss wherever they go with the Lindor Treat Bar.

*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack MAT – Snacking Countline Market – to 19 May 2019)

Premium performance

Premium chocolate is performing strongly this year with Nestlé adding growth through the launch of indulgent versions of its much-loved confectionery brands.

KitKat remains one of the most iconic and enduring confectionery brands of all time and continues to grow through ongoing innovation in terms of flavours and formats.

Earlier this year saw the launch of a Ruby chocolate KitKat – a unique variant offering consumers a new taste experience. The crispy, four-finger wafer bar is coated with Ruby chocolate*, a fourth chocolate after dark, milk and white. This chocolate is derived from Ruby cocoa beans, which has an intense naturally occurring berry-fruitiness taste without the addition of any flavour or colour. KitKat is the first major brand to feature this exciting new chocolate and news of the launch received much coverage across social media.

KitKat Senses also extended from a sharing box into a single format delivering the perfect combination of KitKat chocolate and wafer with a thick layer of indulgent salted caramel filling infused with crunchy caramel flakes (Salted Caramel variant) or a layer of sumptuous praline and crunchy hazelnut pieces (Hazelnut variant).

New from Aero this year is Aero Bliss, a premium version of the iconic bubbly chocolate. Aero Bliss consists of individually wrapped velvety, smooth milk chocolates in three luxurious flavours: Milk Chocolate, Praline and Salted Caramel. Aero Bliss chocolates are filled with a cocoa aerated whipped centre (Milk Chocolate flavour), a salted caramel aerated whipped centre (Salted Caramel flavour) or velvety, whipped praline bubbles with crispy pieces (Praline).

The light chocolate bubbles inside the smooth chocolate shell melt effortlessly in the mouth with every bite, creating a deliciously smooth chocolate sensation. These chocolates come in an innovative pop-open box perfect for sharing with family and friends. More recently, Aero Bliss has extended further to launch in a single format with three tasty chocolates in each box, perfect for consumers looking for an indulgent ‘me time’ special treat.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s leading white chocolate Milkybar has for the first time also extended to include milk chocolate in its range through Milkybar MixUps. Mixed white and chocolate discs with creamy fillings, Milkybar MixUps are available in both single and sharing bags.

Extending further its offering of sharing bags this year, Nestlé is launching Munchies Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Original Munchies are already one of Nestlé’s most popular sharing bags, so Irish chocolate fans will be delighted with the new extension to the flavour choice. This summer it was all about the llama with the launch of fun and special edition Smarties, Llama edition. Available for a limited period only, these colourful sweets were available in a single and sharing bag format. Available in 101g sharing bags, new Munchies Chocolate Fudge Brownie is the first new Munchies product since 1996.

“We are thrilled to bring this tasty new flavour to our Munchies family,” says Maria McKenna, marketing manager and confectionery brand manager, Nestlé Ireland. “Our teams in York and Fawdon have worked tirelessly over the last six months to bring these new flavours to our loyal Munchies fans. It’s a real delight to see (and taste) the results of our hard work, reaction so far has been amazing and we can’t wait to see what’s next for Munchies.”

Research revealed that Chocolate Fudge Brownie was the most preferred new flavour for a new variant of Munchies. The new Munchies flavour innovation took just six months from concept to market thanks to the expertise and creativity of the expert chocolatiers at Nestlé’s Fawdon factory in Newcastle. Original Munchies are one of Nestlé’s most popular sharing bags, so Irish chocolate fans will be delighted with the new choice on offer.

The Chocolate Fudge Brownie Munchies sharing bags are available now, stocked in Tesco, SuperValu and Centra.

To go behind the scenes at Nestlé, check out the company’s YouTube Channel and see how the new Munchies flavours are made at its confectionery factory Nestle’s YouTube channel.

Happiness is sweet

The word Sonas comes from the Irish word meaning happiness, and this confectionery range is sure to create smiles!

Sonas Sweets have been developed and distributed by Ampersand, which has been working within the confectionery area for the last few years. After seeing the demand in Ireland, Ampersand decided to create its own brand of sweets and launched Sonas Sweets, a quality range that is fully compliant, with vibrant packaging and gives a nod to its Irish heritage.

The Sonas Sweets range includes a €2 mix up bag and €1 hanging bag which has now been extended to 22 different varieties since its launch last year. The Sonas Sweets range has all 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 and 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 have bright and colourful packaging with a rainbow theme, which has an 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.

If you are interested in stocking Sonas Sweets, contact your Ampersand representative or call the sales line on 01-4130100 or email at

Vintage appeal

Ampersand’s popular Cleeve’s Chocolate bar range has had some exciting new line extensions. Cleeve’s has added three new flavours to sell alongside its existing range which has become a huge favourite with Irish chocolate consumers. New to the range is Classic Milk Chocolate, Classic Dark Chocolate and Honey Crisp. The Cleeve’s Chocolate bar selection is now made up of six luxurious and deliciously creamy Irish chocolate bars at an everyday low price of €1.

The packaging on the three new bars continues the vintage feel of the Cleeve’s branding that was so iconic and formed an integral part of the Irish confectionery landscape throughout the 20th century. Each bar is also foil wrapped for freshness and as a nod to its vintage roots, offering a unique and memorable consumer experience.

The chocolate used is of the finest quality and the range offers some unique propositions that fill gaps within the Irish confectionery market. Cleeve’s range of chocolate brings something a little different to those consumers who want to try something outside the norm. With a range of tasty favours and a retro look, it is a brand that appeals to all ages.

Cleeve’s also has a range of six hanging bag lines with an RSP of €2. The range consists of the classic lines, Iced Caramels, Original Toffee, Chocolate Caramels and Original Fudge with some new exciting additions, Macaroon Bites and Irish Golden Days.

All of Cleeve’s products are produced in Newbridge and carry the Guaranteed Irish logo to reflect that they are manufactured in Ireland, something of a rarity in the confectionery industry these days.

Cleeve’s is an Irish brand to re-live nostalgic memories with the older generations, and to create new memories with the younger ones. If you are interested in stocking the new lines or any Cleeve’s products, contact your local Ampersand representative or call the Ampersand sales line directly on 01-4130150.

30% less sugar

Ireland’s number one chocolate brand* is introducing a reduced sugar variant to its much-loved range: Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% Less Sugar. This latest innovation from Cadbury Dairy Milk will allow retailers to tap into this clear demand with a category-leading brand.

Available in an 85g tablet and 35g single bar, Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% Less Sugar contains no artificial sweeteners. The launch follows three years of development by Cadbury’s science and innovation teams in Reading and Bournville. Harnessing the company’s leading-edge understanding of flavour technologies and material science, experts have replaced the sugar with fibre in a way that reduces the sugar while staying true to the iconic texture and taste profile of Cadbury Dairy Milk.

The launch will be supported by a heavyweight marketing campaign with out-of-home and digital marketing activity, including impactful in-store materials such as eye-catching SRPs and POS units to help retailers capture the attention of shoppers at launch and beyond.

The new bars are a new addition, not an alternative to the wider range and so should be ranged among the rest of the Cadbury Dairy Milk portfolio. The brand advises retailers should stock up now to ensure they’re making the most of this exciting new lower-sugar addition.

*(Cadbury Dairy Milk brand is worth over €65 million and still growing +1%, the brand has over 21% share of the chocolate category – Source: Nielsen Total Scantrack ROI (excl. Dunnes & Discounters) 52 w/e 16.06.2019)


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