Sales springing upwards

The Milkybar Milkybarn  contains a hollow milk chocolate egg and a Milkybar Cow
The Milkybar Milkybarn contains a hollow milk chocolate egg and a Milkybar Cow

The Easter confectionery market recorded solid growth in 2011, rising by +3.4% to reach an impressive value of €24.2 million, writes Gillian Hamill


Brand Central

14 February 2012

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Easter continues to be a key season for confectionery. In 2011, Easter confectionery grew strongly outperforming the total confectionery market (-1%)*. A massive 69% of Irish households purchased Easter confectionery in 2011, purchasing Easter confectionery over three times, with the average shopper purchasing a total of eight Easter packs across the season**.
* Source: Nielsen Market Track 
26th June 2011
** Source: Kantar – w/e 16th May 2011

Egg-citing range for 2012

Innovation played a central role in Easter 2011 for Nestlé and continues to be a focus for its confectionery this year as over 60% of the 2012 range is either new or renovated. For retailers seeking sales success, the number one focus should remain on immediate consumption in terms of seasonal impulse (novelty impulse treats) and mini eggs.

To build on its success in 2011, Nestlé’s Aero Lamb will be back and in response to consumer demand, will feature a bubbly mint centre. Novelty products help bring excitement back into Easter and this year Nestlé is launching the Smarties Little Choc Chick. Containing no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, this is a novelty chick shaped character filled with mini Smarties.
Smarties Mini Eggs and Milkybar Mini Eggs are also must-stocks and this year Smarties Mini Eggs will benefit from refreshed branding to increase their seasonal appeal.
For retailers with more space to accommodate a wider Easter range, Nestlé confectionery has developed an extended offering.
Small eggs have an important role at Easter, and meet a specific shopper need – allowing portion controlling of chocolate for younger kids. The Milkybar small egg also contains all natural ingredients so is ideal for permissible treating.
Novelty hollow figures are bought in addition to shell eggs and are also an ideal solution for that top-up Easter gift. After impressive seasonal sales last Spring, Milkybar Cow and Smarties Chicken and Egg will be back for Easter 2012.

Nestlé will be launching the Smarties Henhouse and the Milkybar Milkybarn for Spring 2012. The Smarties Henhouse contains a hollow milk chocolate egg and a Smarties Chicken and Egg whereas the Milkybar Milkybarn will contain a hollow milk chocolate egg and a Milkybar Cow. The henhouse and barn shaped boxes offer increased play value and an opportunity for kids to enjoy the fun of Easter even after the chocolate has gone.

Options for adults

For adults, Nestlé has re-launched its mug egg range to include Kit Kat Chunky, Yorkie and Munchies. Smarties will also be celebrating its 75th anniversary so Nestlé has designed a limited edition Smarties collectors mug.
Nestlé is also launching two new packs within its Retro range; Lion and also the perfect Easter gift for men – the retro Yorkie Digger Egg. The Yorkie Digger Egg contains a hollow milk chocolate egg and two Yorkie Milk bars in an eye-catching digger presentation box.
The Quality Street Egg is a must-stock complete with its elegant, gift-worthy packaging and sweets inside the egg. There are also two new giant eggs – Aero Lamb Mint and Nestlé’s Caramel Selection. 
Nestlé advises retailers to make the most of the seasonal opportunity that Spring offers, by stocking the four immediate consumption products from the brand. Ultimately, the boost in profits will come from immediate consumption and retailers should get off to a fast start by stocking up early and maintaining visibility throughout the season.

Sign-posting the Easter fixture

This Easter, there is a host of new Cadbury branded products to egg-cite both retailers and shoppers, which will be supported by high-profile marketing activities aimed at supporting existing Cadbury favourites.
Cadbury Creme Egg, followed by Cadbury Mini Eggs are the best selling Easter brands, so Cadbury believes it’s important to stock these from 1 January to maximise the opportunities that Easter presents. These two power brands act as sign-posts to the Easter fixture for consumers, with their instantly recognisable packaging and colours.
In new innovation from Creme Egg, the number one Easter impulse brand* will introduce a new bitesize product in 2012, a 165g share pack of Creme Egg Splats. These chocolate-covered splat shapes contain Creme goo filling and are ideally suited to sharing occasions. Creme Egg Splats will be supported in-store through sampling activity across the season.
The Mini Eggs brand has seen strong growth over the past few years and this year will see the introduction of two new formats. A new flip top re-sealable 45g carton is being introduced which is more suited to everyday snacking and in the new 195g Mini Eggs sharing pouch bag, Mini Egg fans now have a pack that is “just right” and will tap into that growing bitesize category. 
As sharing occasions continue to increase, stocking the latest Easter sharing bags, Cadbury Creme Egg Splats and Cadbury Mini Eggs, will be key. The new packs fit the sharing trend which is hugely popular and look to fill a gap in the market for Easter branded sharing confectionery. Further product news for Easter 2012 will see the introduction of the Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel Bunnies twin pack.
Ensuring that a full range of Easter products are stocked is key for retailers. This year prefilled units for Caramel Bunnies, Splats and Mini Eggs as well as a special ‘Spring treats’ unit to hold bags and multipack formats will help retailers display the entire impulse range and maximize impact and sales. 
* Source: AC Nielsen Easter Review 2011.

Visual appeal springs off shelves 

Butlers 2012 Easter collection certainly says that “Spring is in the air”. Butlers Wrapped Eggs contain a creamy milk chocolate egg accompanied by mini milk chocolate truffle and praline eggs. Available in four sizes and priced from €8.95 to €20.95, Butlers Wrapped Eggs have an excellent track record with strong visual appeal and will make an eye catching display.
Lily O’Brien’s Easter sales have risen by 80% year on year

Lily O’Brien’s Easter sales have risen by 80% year on year

Butlers ever popular boxed eggs and Butlers Easter presentations are also available and with five presentations offered, there are plenty of price points to choose from. To complete the range, Racing Rabbit and Bertie Bunny in milk or white chocolate are ideal novelty items for children – of any age. 
Butlers Chocolates are distributed by Richmond Marketing. For further information, email

A premium performance

Lily O’Brien’s is the strongest performing Irish chocolatier in the premium chocolate confectionery category according to Nielsen (sales in multiples 2011). Indeed it recorded significant sales growth during key confectionery periods in 2011, and in particular during Easter with sales up 80% year on year. Lily O’Brien’s Spring 2012 range, includes handcrafted Easter eggs, Easter bunnies and luxury gift collections at a variety of price points; distributed nationwide by Tennant & Ruttle. 

Q&A with . . . Sabrina O’Leary, Kraft Foods category manager, chocolate and candy 

What are the latest major consumer trends within the Easter confectionery category and how have you fulfilled consumers’ needs through NPD? 

The Easter confectionery market grew in 2011 by +3.4% to €24.2M (*Source: Nielsen Extended Scantrack to 24 April 2011) and is now the second most important selling period for confectionery. In total, 84% of the market is accounted for by traditional shell eggs, while impulse and novelties account for the rest. Kraft is the number one manufacturer with a share of 49.5% and has continued to lead the way in terms of understanding consumer trends and introducing new products to match. 

How significant a marketing investment has Cadbury delivered for the key Easter period?

We have a very significant marketing investment committed for Easter 2012 aimed at exciting consumers and retailers alike. 
A new marketing campaign has just launched bringing the unique personality of Creme Egg to the Cadbury sponsorship 
of the London 2012 Olympics. 
The campaign includes TV, consumer promotions, experiential, Facebook activity and more. 
In addition to this Kraft Foods will introduce a new campaign for Easter which will look to support egg trail organisers 
across the country and help them provide even more moments of family fun this Easter. In addition to this we have 
developed innovative new POS to capture the attention of shoppers in-store.

What tips would you give retailers in order to ensure they gain the best possible result from potential Easter sales?

Retailers can maximise their Easter sales by using theatre and dedicated floor displays to drive purchase. Locating these displays in high traffic flow areas and ensuring they are well stocked is also key in maximising returns. Easter impulse displays for convenience are the perfect way to launch the Easter season.

Q&A with . . . Betty Quigley, chocolate category director, Mars Ireland 

How well is the Maltesers brand currently performing within the Irish market? 

Maltesers, one of Ireland’s biggest and best loved confectionery products, is performing exceptionally well at the moment. It is the number one bitesize brand within the Irish chocolate market with €8 million CSV. Maltesers is universally loved across all ages and by both women, and men. The strength of the brand is evidenced by the fact that despite continued new product development by competitors in the bitesize sector, 86% of Maltesers shoppers stay loyal to the fun and playful brand, which is all about the lighter way to enjoy chocolate.

How important is NPD to a brand like Maltesers?

New product development is key to sustaining our success and share of voice in the market. 2010 saw the hugely successful launch of MaltEaster, which was voted confectionery product of the year. The MaltEaster is back again for 2012 and set to hop off shelves.
With 2012 marking the 75th anniversary of Maltesers, what can customers expect from the brand this year?
We are incredibly proud to be celebrating 75 years of Maltesers in Ireland this year and want to use the occasion as an opportunity to thank our fans and everyone in the trade who has supported us throughout the years.
We are going bigger and better than ever with our new campaign “Celebrating 75 years of lightness with Maltesers”. The centre piece of the campaign is the bespoke new 75th anniversary TV ad. We are really excited about this creative which cleverly revisits the much loved journey of the brand over the past 75 years. 
The ATL campaign will be complemented by strong in-store activation. We have developed stand-out birthday themed point of sale to bring the party to stores nationwide and create in-store theatre. We will also be running promotions on take home pouch throughout the year. 
Tell us about Mars going Fairtrade?
Aside from our birthday celebrations, 2012 will see Maltesers become the first of Mars’ products to carry the Fairtrade Mark. A move that will contribute more than US$1 million annually in Fairtrade Premium funds for cocoa farmers to invest in their farms, business organisations and communities.
How significant a marketing investment has Maltesers placed behind the 75th anniversary campaign?
Maltesers will be investing heavily. There will be a total spend of €650K in 2012 on media, supported by digital and social media, PR, sampling and sales promotions.  
What are the latest consumer trends within the bitesize confectionery category?
The bitesize sector is in growth at present with a sales value of €45.4m. The two big trends that continue to drive confectionery sales are sharing and the ‘big night in’.
The recession and recent austerity measures, which have negatively impacted on some sectors have actually represented a growth opportunity for the bitesize confectionery category. Consumers are opting to stay in and save money rather than going on the more traditional night out. Sharing confectionery such as Maltesers pouches is the ideal way to make the most of the ‘big night in’.
Bitesize chocolate treats have real staying power. They are seen by many consumers as a form of guilt free indulgence without compromising on taste which is good news for Maltesers. 


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