Category Focus: Taking the biscuit

With Irish people consuming a whopping €230 million worth of biscuits on an annual basis, it’s vital to have the right selection in-store for every occasion throughout the day


Brand Central

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18 September 2019 | 0

The biscuits category neatly covers two major twin trends at present; health and indulgence.

“Both more indulgent features, such as a thick covering of chocolate and indulgent fillings, and naturally healthy ingredients, are of strong interest to eaters of sweet biscuits,” says Richard Caines, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “Tailoring NPD to both these demands is needed to maximise the number of usage occasions for biscuits.

“Limiting the amount of sweet biscuits eaten,” he adds, “is on the minds of most eaters, so products that offer portion control or that are a healthier substitute will appeal as permissible treats.”

Innovations of this nature also help brands stand out from private label imitations in a market where competition is fierce; emphasising the premium nature of branded ranges and encouraging consumers to trade up.

Meanwhile, within the savoury biscuits sector, the manufacturers that are performing well are those who have adapted and innovated to suit consumer demand for healthier options, such as wholegrain versions or products containing ancient grains such as quinoa. Within both the sweet and savoury segments, individually wrapped bars and biscuits fulfil an important consumer need for on-the-go options that fit in with their busy lifestyles.

Category Insight: Biscuits (click image for hi-res version)

A Club for everyone

Club is introducing two new tasty Club Chunky variants, comprising wafer bars with chewy caramel and milk chocolate. Hot on the heels of the popular Club wafers, the newest Club members are ideal for those who prefer a chunkier eat.

This September, Jacob’s is celebrating the diverse range of different clubs held across Ireland. From roller derbies to street performing, unique clubs across the country attract a massive variety of people, with all sorts of interests and activities. No matter what you’re into, there’s a club for you and with the launch of the new Jacobs Club Chunky, there is now a Jacobs’s ‘Club for Everyone’ too.

The campaign, highlighting the full Club range of chocolate bars, will feature the new Jacob’s Club jingle on national radio which is sure to grab the hearts and minds of consumers. The campaign will also include TV stings (continuing the brand’s sponsorship of Home & Away on RTÉ), video on demand (VOD), PR and digital. A full in-store activation plan will also be in place as well as a sampling roadshow, so consumers can try the newest members of the Club.

Continual innovation

Burton’s Biscuit Company has a broad-ranging portfolio with biscuits for every occasion from Wagon Wheels, Jammie Dodgers to Toffypops and Viscount. However, Maryland continues to lead the way as Ireland’s favourite cookie brand and Burton’s continues to innovate the brand, looking to offer indulgence in a convenient format with its Maryland Chocolate Cookie Bars.

Maryland has now entered the chocolate biscuit bar market for the first time, with an exciting new launch, Maryland Chocolate Cookie Bars. Each 19g portion contains fewer than 100 calories, offering a permissible treat, ideal for after school snacking or a weekend treat.

The new cookie bars come in packs of eight (RRP: €2.49) and each one is individually wrapped, coated in chocolate and filled with chocolate chips.

Kate Needham, Burton’s Biscuit Company’s marketing director says the new offering delivers a compelling proposition. “Maryland Chocolate Cookie Bars combine great-tasting chocolate and cookie indulgence with an individually wrapped portion pack at just 97 calories per bar,” she says. “A compelling proposition for the growing number of consumers who want to treat themselves but who are also mindful of calorie control.

“We’re hoping to invigorate the out-of-home treat occasion by offering the Ireland’s only fully coated chocolate choc chip cookie in a single serve bar that’s ideally suited to on-the-go,” Needham adds.

Top secret

The Mars biscuits range has seen exceptional growth since launch, with the core range including Galaxy Cookies, M&Ms Cookies and Bounty Cookies. ‘Mars chocolate drinks and treats’ has recently introduced three new SKUs to the category, as additions to its already successful range of branded biscuits. The Bounty Secret Centres and Galaxy Caramel Secret Centres (RRP €2.49) are fully-coated biscuit treats, bringing a new look product to the range.

The Bounty Secret Centre biscuit features a shortcake cup filled with Bounty coconut cream, coated with chocolate and sprinkled with desiccated coconut while the limited-edition Galaxy Caramel Secret Centre Biscuit comprises a shortcake cup filled with caramel and covered in Galaxy chocolate. These indulgent biscuits are perfect with a cuppa to unwind in the evening after a long day.

Also joining the range is Mars Soft Centres; a crunchy cookie biscuit base, containing chocolate and caramel pieces, filled with oozing caramel.

“We believe that our new launches, combining the strength of our brands and product innovation, will help to drive sales within the category,” says Michelle Frost, general manager at Mars chocolate drinks and treats.

The ranges are available to order now from SHS Sales & Marketing. Call 014016200, email or visit

Baking better biscuits

At East Coast Bakehouse, the team truly believes in ‘Baking Better Biscuits’, baked locally in Drogheda, Co. Louth. The group combines age-old baking expertise with some great new recipes and some interesting new ingredients. Since launch in 2016, East Coast Bakehouse’s range has proven popular with Irish biscuit lovers and is now available nationwide in all major retailers.

The company is proud to have received numerous food awards recognising the superior quality of its biscuits. Likewise, East Coast Bakehouse is a proud member of Love Irish Food, highlighting its local provenance and commitment to Irish producers.

With biscuit lovers seeking new indulgent offerings, East Coast Bakehouse has sourced the finest ingredients to create its new range of indulgent chocolate ‘Enrobed’ biscuits, available now. The company is thrilled to bring the new ‘Enrobed’ range to market, which features three of its favourite biscuits fully enrobed with scrumptious milk chocolate. Namely, Ginger Crunch, Coconut Crunch and Double Choc Chunk Cookies, all made with pure Irish butter and smothered in milk chocolate.

East Coast Bakehouse is confident its foil-wrapped packaging design will also create a big impact on-shelf. Competitively priced at RSP €2.99* for 160g and 170g packs, strong promotional support and display solutions are available.

*(Pricing is at the sole discretion of the retailer)

Merry biscuits everyone

Pladis, the global snacking company behind some of the UK’s most loved and iconic brands, has revealed the festive range from the UK’s biggest biscuit brand*, McVitie’s, launched under the 2019 Christmas campaign ‘Merry Biscuits Everyone’.

The McVitie’s 2019 Christmas selection taps into the enduring popularity of giftable tins and sharing formats, comprising consumer favourites such as McVitie’s Victoria, McVitie’s Family Circle, McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Christmas Pole, and McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Christmas Tin. Furthermore, the brand has added some new products for 2019 to drive excitement around alternative consumption occasions. New product development includes McVitie’s Gingerbread Men Decorating Kit and McVitie’s Luxury Chocolate Biscuit Selection.

Jonathan Bull, head of McVitie’s commercial & seasonal brands at Pladis UK and Ireland, says a lot of thought went into getting the range just right. “Christmas is the time of year when being with loved ones is at the top of the agenda,” he says, “and every product in the McVitie’s Christmas range has been carefully crafted as the perfect sharing treat for these moments. Whether consumers are gathering with friends and family, work colleagues or neighbours, there’s something for every occasion in our latest seasonal range.

“By combining long-standing favourites – such as the iconic McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Christmas Pole – with enticing NPD,” he adds, “we’re not only delivering the festive products loyal McVitie’s fans know and love, but also appealing to a new generation of Christmas shoppers – and giving retailers the chance to grab their slice of the £207 million seasonal sales opportunity**.”

Putting the fun into the festive season, the brand-new for 2019 McVitie’s Mini Gingerbread Men Decorating Kit will bring festive cheer to the young – and the young-at-heart. Using five packs of Gingerbread Men and two icing pens, shoppers can get creative with their own personalised designs.

Another brand-new for 2019 launch is McVitie’s Luxury Chocolate Biscuit Selection – which is the brand’s most premium Christmas product yet. Comprising 24 fully-coated chocolate biscuits – with milk, dark and white chocolate options – the assortment makes for the perfect gift for both biscuit lovers and chocoholics. With luxurious festive packaging that will ensure standout on shelf, McVitie’s Luxury Chocolate Biscuit selection is available in a 400g box.

Meanwhile, McVitie’s Victoria biscuit selection is a returning favourite – and it’s not hard to see why. The number one premium assortment in the UK*** is returning for another year, packed with a selection of chocolate coated and uncoated indulgent biscuits, including some McVitie’s favourites such as the Fully Coated Chocolate Digestive and Milk Chocolate Shortcake.

McVitie’s Victoria is available in 100g, 300g, 825g and 550g boxes. McVitie’s Family Circle, the number one everyday assortment brand***, offers shoppers an everyday selection of biscuits which appeals to the whole family. This year, the assortment will be available in 360g, 900g and 620g boxes.

The iconic McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Christmas Pole (40 Jaffa Cakes) is expected to remain a key player, while the returning McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Christmas Tin (292g), shaped as a larger-than-life Jaffa Cake will build momentum for the £42 million** brand over the 2019 festive season

For Jaffa Cakes enthusiasts, 40 Jaffa Cakes will always be better than one – so stocking up on these novelty limited-edition products is a sure-fire way to drive excitement and sales in the lead up to Christmas.

*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack value sales 52 w/e 30.12.18)
**(Source: Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 30.12.18
***(Source: Nielsen data 13.07.19)



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