So sweet!

With Christmas on the horizon, now’s the time to check you’re stocking the latest confectionery innovations and brand extensions alongside the fun, novelty items and gift boxes that are sure to create a buzz in-store


Brand Central

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25 September 2020

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The Irish sweet tooth may well be legendary but it’s certainly not just the stuff of legend! Per capita consumption of chocolate confectionery is still very high in Ireland compared to Western Europe as a whole, Euromonitor reports. In fact, after Germany and Switzerland, Ireland is the third largest consumer of chocolate in the world.

The healthy snacking trend has nevertheless seen big players introduce low-sugar versions of chocolate confectionery. The rise of veganism has also lead manufacturers to develop options suitable for vegan and vegetarian customers, as well as gluten-free options for coeliacs.

And with Christmas just around the corner, manufacturers have been working hard to ensure their festive portfolios can still generate excitement and emotional engagement in what has been a particularly tough year, not to mention options for the rise of the ‘working from home’ coffee break occasion and indulgent, little pick-me-ups.

Smarties Bites are disc-shaped milk chocolate sweets each containing mini Smarties; a completely new way to enjoy the colour and fun of Smarties

Outperforming the market

While the past few months have proved challenging for the total confectionery market, Nestlé has continued to outperform the market and drive value sales growth. This has been achieved through strong growth across take-home formats and new product innovation across single packs.

Earlier this summer, Nestlé introduced a completely new way for consumers to enjoy the colour and fun of Smarties, with the launch of Smarties Bites, disc-shaped milk chocolate sweets each containing mini Smarties and available in both a single and sharing bag. Maria McKenna, marketing manager, Nestlé Ireland Confectionery describes it as ‘Smarties reimagined’ and a tasty new way of enjoying this well-loved brand. Within sugar singles, Rowntree’s Fruit Gums have relaunched from a tube into a bag format with softer fruit shaped sweets included within the mix.

KitKat Chunky Cookie Dough features a thick layer of cookie dough filling with chocolatey pieces

While Nestlé Confectionery’s number one brand KitKat first launched a chunky variant in 1999 it has, over the years, seen KitKat Chunky frequently innovate to deliver exciting flavours including Peanut Butter, Hazelnut, Coconut, and Salted Caramel Fudge. This month sees the return of two of the brand’s most popular flavour variants – KitKat Chunky Cookie Dough and KitKat Chunky Mint. KitKat Chunky Cookie Dough features a crisp wafer finger coated in a thick layer of cookie dough filling with chocolatey pieces, all covered in a layer of thick KitKat chocolate. Meanwhile, KitKat Chunky Mint features a crisp wafer finger covered in moreish mint flavour milk chocolate. KitKat Chunky Mint is a limited edition and with just one production run planned, the brand advises retailers to stock up while they can.

The KitKat brand will be celebrating the ultimate collection of chunky flavours with an outdoor and social media and broadcast campaign that will also include KitKat Chunky Milk and KitKat Chunky Peanut Butter. Prefilled displays will be available to highlight this campaign in-store.

New for Christmas 2020, the KitKat Santa is a novelty shaped chocolate single that doesn’t just taste delicious, but will no doubt be in high demand as it is also gluten free.

Within the biscuit category, KitKat is launching two new flavours to its two-finger range – KitKat Chocolate Hazelnut Spread and KitKat Honeycomb, both of which are sure to prove popular, especially with the increase of the ‘working from home’ coffee break.

Munchies are already one of Nestlé Confectionery’s most popular sharing bags no doubt due to new variants such as the Munchies Cookie Dough and Munchies Chocolate Fudge Brownie and launching next month the Munchies White Chocolate variant.

Aero, a brand renowned for its unique bubbly texture continues to see double digit share growth YTD and this is set to continue following the recent launch of the rather indulgent Aero Caramel sharing block. White chocolate fans will also welcome the arrival of a Milkybar Cookies & Cream sharing block from the leading white chocolate brand.

Aero has also extended into gifting with Aero Bliss, a box of individually wrapped, smooth milk chocolates filled with a cocoa, salted caramel or praline aerated centre and delicious chocolate pieces.

Nestlé’s new premium gift offering, Quality Street Intrigue, features individually wrapped chocolate truffles

Fans of Quality Street will no longer have to wait until the festive season for a taste of their favourite treat as Nestlé has launched a new premium gift offering –   Quality Street Intrigue. These individually wrapped chocolate truffles take the essence of Quality Street and have added a contemporary twist. With two variants, Salted Caramel and Chocolate Praline, these make the perfect gift whatever the occasion. Prefilled displays and point of sale material are now available to drive additional in-store visibility.

Quality Street will be supported with an extensive advertising campaign across TV, outdoor, social and digital in the run up to Christmas. Other new news in Nestlé’s seasonal range includes the After Eight Gin & Tonic & Mint limited edition, a ‘spirited’ take on the number one after-dinner mint.

With such a focus on bringing new news to the confectionery market, Nestlé Confectionery looks set to continue driving value share growth into the category.

Match and win!

The marketing campaign for Cadbury’s Match & Win promotion will feature a host of famous faces

Cadbury is working with Arsenal F.C, Chelsea F.C, Liverpool F.C, Manchester City F.C, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur F.C, to offer consumers the chance to win thousands of football related prizes.

The competition is running from 22 August until 15 November across packs of Cadbury chocolate, including Cadbury Twirl, Cadbury Boost, Cadbury Wispa, Cadbury Crunchie and Cadbury Double Decker and a range of formats such as singles, tablets, bags, and multipacks.

The Match & Win competition will run across a range of formats such as singles, tablets, bags, and multipacks

To enter, shoppers will need to buy any participating Cadbury product, visit the website, and enter the barcode and batch code to receive a personalised score for an upcoming football game.

If the predicted score matches the actual match score, they are guaranteed to win a prize. Prizes include VIP Matchday experiences, match tickets and Club Shop e-vouchers.

Players such as Harry Kane, Cesar Azpilicueta, Joe Gomez, Kieran Tierney, Aymeric Laporte, and Aaron Wan Bissaka will feature in an extensive advertising campaign to support the competition. This will also include POS material, out-of-home advertising, social media support on Cadbury’s social media channels and partnerships with and Off The Ball.

For more information, visit

The gift of bliss

Ireland’s leading boxed chocolate brand, Lindt Lindor continues to outperform the market

Maintaining its position as the number one boxed chocolate brand, Lindt Lindor continues to outperform the market, achieving double digit growth of +11.9% and a holding a market share of 15.7%. Lindor’s success comes not only from the much-loved classic Lindor milk recipe but also through its continual innovations to the market which excite and delight shoppers.

This autumn welcomes the launch of the latest edition to the Lindor cornet range: Lindt Lindor smooth melting salted caramel chocolate truffles. The Lindt master chocolatiers combine expertise and the finest ingredients to produce the perfectly round milk chocolate shell with salt crystals filled with an irresistibly smooth melting caramel centre: certain to be a hit this Christmas.

For Christmas 2020, Lindor Salted Caramel will join the exciting Lindor line-up of flavours and formats. From the classic milk cornet in a variety of sizes to the wow impact gift of Lindor Maxi Ball 550g, the new Lindor 400g Assorted Tin, to the prewrapped understated elegance of the Lindor gift box 287g, Lindt has Christmas gifting covered, with a format for every occasion.

As market leaders, Lindt will deliver a massively up-weighted national support plan this Christmas behind the Lindor brand, with Lindor TV advertising returning to screens from October and a strong push in-store with premium point of sale and display.

Lindt Lindor 200g retails at €6.99 and the Lindor Gift Box 287g retails at €12.

*(Source: AC Nielsen 52 weeks; Market Pralines – Data to 9th AUG 2020 – MAT)

Sparkling sales

Ferrero is launching an array of new products across its seasonal product portfolio of novelties, figures and boxed chocolates for Christmas 2020.

As Christmas is such an important time for the confectionery industry, Ferrero has worked hard to offer the right products that meet the different shopper missions and needs, and will help retailers to grow their sales during this period.

“In addition to the popular established lines, we have been developing a number of new products to offer for Christmas 2020,” says Levi Boorer, customer development director at Ferrero, who is confident Ferrero’s best-selling all-year-round products together with new seasonal launches will help to excite shoppers.

“Despite the recent challenges we have all faced, Christmas remains a time for families to celebrate,” he adds. “We’re optimistic that we can still deliver the same levels of emotional engagement in the shopping moment – regardless of how and where the celebrations take place this year. We are continuing to monitor the Covid-19 situation, ensuring our festive plans are in tune with the situation.”

Adult seasonal confectionery

Thorntons Classic will be introducing new and remastered flavours ahead of Christmas 2020

Ferrero has a long-established association with the boxed chocolate category at Christmas, with many shoppers associating the Rocher, Collection, Raffaello and Thorntons ranges with celebrations during the festive period. Ferrero Rocher, worth €2.19m at Christmas in Ireland*, will look to build on its strong position in the boxed chocolate category, by launching a marketing campaign. Raffaello will also look to build on its strong performance in the boxed category, having grown by 17.4% over the Christmas period last year**.

Following the revitalisation of the range in 2019, Thorntons Classic will be introducing new and remastered flavours ahead of Christmas 2020, with revamped recipes for Nutty Caramel, Tempting Toffee and Creamy Fudge as well as the inclusion of a new Orange Blush option.

Thorntons Continental also had an impressive Christmas 2019, with the Continental Winter Markets proving popular with shoppers. Thorntons Continental will help retailers to build on this success by introducing remastered recipes for its Hazelnut Milano and Viennese Deluxe selection.

Kids confectionery

Kinder Surprise is returning this Christmas with a new exciting range of festive toys

“As the number one kids confectionery brand, Kinder is synonymous with Christmas,” says Levi Boorer, “with our offering of novelties and figures helping to add extra magic throughout the season for shoppers.”

Kinder Surprise will build on the successful performance of its popular 75g Santa figure, with the addition of new toys in the form of eight festive friends that can all link up to make one big team. A 36g version will include models of Santa, a penguin, a snowman and a bear.

Kinder Surprise will return this Christmas with a new exciting range of festive toys as part of the Kinder Surprise 100g Egg. Using Kinder’s long heritage of stimulating consumers’ imaginations through play, the toys in the new ‘Reindeers in Lunapark’ range have bespoke parts that allow the toys to spin, twist and move. The larger Kinder Surprise 220g egg will also be updated with two new toy ranges: Magical Enchantress and Jungle Trucks toys both ensure great playability and a larger sized toy.

Kinder Chocolate will also launch two new additions to the popular fluffy toy novelties range from Christmas 2019, with the addition of squirrel and sloth toys. Kinder Chocolate will also add a new 55g and 110g hollow Santa figure; an ideal stocking filler.


The Ferrero Collection Advent Calendar contains a premium range of Ferrero Rocher, Raffaello and Rondnoir products

The advent calendar category is a key sector for retailers to drive sales in the build up to Christmas.

Kinder will be refreshing the look of its 135g advent calendar, after it was the third most popular advent calendar in Ireland last Christmas***. Following the strong launch of the Ferrero Collection Advent Calendar in 2019, Ferrero will be introducing an additional new façade design to the range. The Collection advent calendar is set apart from other calendars on account of its unique opening and premium range of Ferrero Rocher, Raffaello and Rondnoir products within.

*(Source: Nielsen, Total Xmas Coverage, 18wks to 29.12.2019, Boxed Chocolate Database)

**(Source: Nielsen; Total market 18 weeks to 29.12.2019; 18W Christmas Boxed Chocolate Product Range Raffaello)

***(Source: Nielsen ROI, Total Christmas Kids confectionary, 18 weeks to 28.12.19)

Ireland’s sweet sensations

Now more than ever, we know the importance for Irish consumers, retailers and businesses to support each other during these challenging times. By supporting Irish brands and companies and by shopping local we are all working together to rebuild the economy and support Irish businesses and jobs. For retailers looking to support Irish brands in their store, Ampersand’s confectionery range ticks a lot of boxes.

Sharing happiness

All the favourites including jellies, sour sweets, bonbons, and liquorice pencils, can be found in a bag of Sonas Sweets

Sonas Sweets is Ampersand’s Irish sugar confectionery brand that was developed and launched back in 2018. The word “Sonas” comes from the Irish word meaning happiness, and Sonas Sweets bring a little happiness and sunshine to Irish consumers every day! The Sonas Sweets range includes a €2 mix-up bag and a selection of €1 hanging bags which has now been extended to 23 different varieties since its launch. The Sonas Sweets range has all the favourites including jellies, sour sweets, bonbons, and liquorice pencils. The 100g hanging bags are a perfect treat-sized portion priced at €1.

Ampersand is also extending the €1 range further in September with some gluten free options and promotional packs offering 25% extra free. The Sonas Sweets 230g mix up bags are also packed with the highest quality jellies and are great for sharing and on-the-go convenience. They are ideal for after-school treats or car journeys and as the bags can be resealed it means they don’t have to be eaten in one sitting.

Steeped in Irish heritage

Cleeve’s Irish Confectionery features a quality range of milk chocolate confectionery, bars, toffees and caramels

Cleeve’s Irish Confectionery features a quality range of milk chocolate confectionery, bars, toffees and caramels

Cleeve’s Irish Confectionery is the longest established surviving Irish confectionery brand manufacturing today in Ireland. Ampersand re-launched the brand in 2018 after a 30-year absence much to consumers’ and retailers’ delight. Cleeve’s is an iconic Irish brand fondly remembered as being an integral part of Ireland’s confectionery industry for most of the 20th century.

Today, Cleeve’s 2,000sq m factory is located in Newbridge, Co Kildare and employs 22 people in the factory and supports Irish jobs right throughout the supply chain. The new confectionery line distributed by Ampersand features a quality range of delicious milk chocolate confectionery, bars, toffee and caramel products, which continue the Cleeve’s tradition of using the finest Irish dairy ingredients, a tradition dating back to 1882 when the Cleeve brothers first established the business in Limerick.

Cleeve’s Irish Confectionery is a Guaranteed Irish brand that is steeped in Irish heritage and gives consumers the opportunity to re-live nostalgic memories with the older generations and create new memories with the younger ones while also supporting Irish brands and jobs in the process.

If you are interested in stocking Sonas Sweets or Cleeve’s Irish Confectionery, get in touch with your sales representative or call the Ampersand sales line on 01-4130150 or email

Something for everyone

The Look-O-Look Candy Pizza can be merchandised in pizza-oven floor stands

There are several leading brands featuring in the Shelton portfolio, including Look-O-Look hanging bags and Candy Take-Aways, Walker’s Non-such Toffees, PEZ dispensers, Trolli, Zaini Italian Chocolates, Hamlet and Cupido Belgian Chocolates, Cavendish & Harvey Travel Tins, and Lutti from France.

Caring is sharing – especially these days. The Look-O-Look Candy Pizza fits the bill perfectly for a family night in, or for a picnic treat, so long as everyone can agree on who gets the last tasty piece! In-store pizza-oven floor stands are available to help to display this Candy Take-Away favourite, and online sales are growing substantially every day.

Pimlico’s Fruit Jellies, Wine Gums and Jelly Babies in 200g gift boxes, make an ideal festive treat

Walker’s Double-Chocolate Toffee Tubs are also proving an online favourite, and with 200 x 10c pieces per jar, it is a fantastic sale in-store or online at €20. As they are also gluten free, they make a great treat for those with a gluten intolerance too.

More and more people are looking for vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian products, and Pimlico 200g gift boxes of delicious Fruit Jellies, Wine Gums and Jelly Babies are fantastic sellers all year round, and especially so at Christmas time.

Elf and Friends milk chocolate coins have an enticing RRP of just €1.20





Chocolate coins are always a great Christmas favourite too, and take up residence in many Christmas stockings. New for 2020 are nets of Elf and Friends milk chocolate coins with stickers, with a great RRP of €1.20.




Always a family favourite, Zaini’s range of filled Cloth Christmas Stockings feature many Disney licences such as Mickey & Friends, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2 and Marvel Heroes. These fun stockings containing chocolates and surprises can also be used year after year.



Pez is an iconic brand which creates special Christmas memories for young and old


Disney characters are always very popular gifts, and often start children on a long-term adventure gathering collectibles across toys, ceramics, games and more. In creating and capturing such memories, Pez is an iconic brand which helps deliver such an experience for many people, both young and young at heart. Pez dispensers will be available in special Gift-Boxes and Surprise Bags for 2020.




Cupido Choco-Mallows are an ideal treat to go with a relaxing cuppa over the busy Christmas season

Cupido Choco-Mallows are an ideal treat to go with a relaxing cuppa over the busy Christmas season



It’s always nice to spoil yourself with a tasty treat to share with your favourite cuppa. Launching in time for Christmas, Cupido’s luscious Belgian dark Choco-Mallows will make your customers feel just a little more special. With a launch RRP of just €2.99, they are set to become an annual Christmas favourite.

And just to finish off the cuppa, consumers can also enjoy an indulgent Cupido Irish Whiskey & Cream or Cupido Gin Chocolate. Both options deliver great value at just €3.50 for 150grm, and so it’s not surprising that the Gin Chocolates were one of Cupido’s best sellers in 2019.


Campbell’s Shortbread tins featuring cats and dogs will make fantastic gifts for animal lovers


Campbell’s Shortbread is Scotland’s oldest bakery. To celebrate another special year in business, Campbell’s is introducing a special edition set of octagonal tins featuring fabulous family pets. Products with cats and dogs are always great gift ideas, and these tins will look perfect on any dressing table, shelf or coffee table. Recommended to retail at €5.95, they should also prove to be a great online addition to any retail website.

These products are all available from Shelton, based in Rathcoole, Dublin. Contact Shelton at 01-4018455, or email







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