Sweet sensations!

According to market analyst Mintel, the cost of living crisis is likely to maintain the sugar confectionery trend of enhancing at-home leisure occasions, reinforcing the image of sweets as an affordable treat for consumers. With that in mind, make sure you are fully stocked up on the leading brands tantalising tastebuds within this vibrant sector


Brand Central

25 April 2023

Share this post:



Although the Irish are becoming more health conscious as a nation, taste remains the top priority for consumers when it comes to confectionery. So while natural confections, as well as sugar-free and reduced sugar products are gaining momentum in the category, there’s still plenty of demand for indulgent treats.

Indeed, today’s sugar confectionery market is growing at a steady pace thanks to demand for on-the-go snacks, an increase in gifting, and the introduction of new products with innovative flavours. In a constantly evolving sector, it is critical for retailers to ensure they are stocking the biggest brands to drive a strong rate of sale and therefore profit.

Euromonitor International made a number of pertinent findings in a report entitled ‘Sugar Confectionery in Ireland’, which was published in July 2022. According to the analyst, “healthy trends are likely to impact the shape of sugar confectionery in the forecast five-year period with brands focusing on reducing the amount of sugar and adding extra vitamins to provide some nutritional value, which will be seen primarily in jellies and other sugar confectionery products. Manufacturers will focus on modifying and improving recipes of existing brands, which will likely reduce the amount of sugar to help support the category moving forward.”

Euromonitor International also reports that to combat increasing prices, producers will introduce larger packaging sizes of sugar confectionery to create more affordable options for consumers.

Mintel has also reported that sweets have forged a firm foothold in evenings in since many people turned to treats to elevate evenings during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Mintel, the cost of living crisis is likely to maintain the sugar confectionery trend of enhancing at-home leisure occasions, reinforcing the image of sweets as an affordable treat for consumers.

Looking at future trends in the sugar and gum confectionery market, Mintel states that improvements in flavour will shape future sugar confectionery innovation with increased consumer interest in having a wider range of sweet flavours available and a broader variety of sophisticated sweets targeted at adults.

A fresh new look

The best-selling Sonas Sweets €2 Mix-up contains classic favourites and unusual jellies

Ampersand, the leading distributor to the convenience channel, is proud to present a new look for its Sonas Sweets range of bagged jellies developed for sweet lovers. The new packaging is eye-catching and colourful just like the jellies within, with bursts of colour and sunshine in every bite and is 100% recyclable!

The new branding has been modernised while still featuring “sunshine and rainbows” on the packaging to reflect the brand name Sonas, which means “happiness” in Irish. In addition to the new packaging design, Ampersand has also rebranded the Sonas Sweets logo to feature a memorable mascot in the form of a smiling sun, incorporated modern typography and have included vibrant rainbow colours throughout the new logo and packaging designs.

The packets are now colour-coded to reflect the three categories of jellies within the delicious 24 flavours of the hanging bag range. The “Jellies” are now packed in striking red packs, the “Fizzy” and sour sweets are in vibrant yellow and orange packs and the “Nibbles” range of bite-size treats are packed in bright blue bags. The new look packaging has been designed to appeal to both children and adults alike.

Retailing from €1, Sonas Sweets hanging bags will bring a smile to your face with every flavour. Also available, is the best-selling “€2 Mix-up” which contains classic favourites and unusual jellies in distinctive colourful and cheery packaging. The Mix-up packaging has also been refreshed in the rebrand and in addition an exciting mix of confectionery in a rainbow of flavours has been added.

The new Sonas Sweets packaging is eye-catching and colourful just like the jellies within

Sonas Sweet’s new and improved packaging has been designed to stand out in-store. To further encourage and drive sales, Ampersand have available some bright coloured stands, branded header boards and dump bins which will also brighten up any retail outlet.

“We are thrilled to relaunch the new and improved look for Sonas Sweets jellies, which we believe will be a hit with sweet lovers of all ages,” says Sinéad Smith, marketing manager at Ampersand.

“Our focus is to provide our customers with the highest quality products, and this rebrand for Sonas Sweets is no exception,” she adds. “We are confident that the colourful packaging and delicious flavours will make our jellies a popular choice for those who are looking for a sweet treat. We are also planning some more exciting updates for our wider confectionery range this year which will reflect and reinforce Ampersand’s commitment to quality within our portfolio.”

The new Sonas Sweet range of jellies are now available for sale from Ampersand. For more information, contact your Ampersand representative or the Ampersand sales line on 01 4130150.

A firm favourite

Rowntrees, a brand long synonymous with sugar confectionery and one of the Ireland’s favourite confectionery brands for over 140 years, has been performing strongly with MAT value growth +13.8% and YTD +27.3%.

Rowntrees has launched a new range of sharing bags containing real fruit juice and 30% less sugar, with no artificial flavourings, colourings, or sweeteners

Rowntrees continues to develop exciting products and in the last year expanded its vegan friendly offering to ensure as many people as possible can now enjoy its fruity chews. Vegan friendly Rowntrees Fruit Gums and Rowntrees Pick & Mix joined the existing range alongside vegan friendly Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles and Rowntrees Jelly Tots. Suitable for those following vegetarian, vegan and religious diets, these new offerings are likely attracting incremental shoppers.

Further innovation this year includes the launch of a Rowntrees range of sharing bags containing real fruit juice and 30% less sugar, plus they have no artificial flavourings, colourings, or sweeteners.

The new range includes:

  • Berry Hearts– Squidgy hearts in flavour favourites strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant.
  • Safari Mix– Giraffes, elephants, hippos and paw prints make up this fun mix with strawberry, orange, lemon and apple flavours.
  • Gummy Bears– Nostalgic gummy bears in strawberry, orange, lemon and apple flavours.

In other Rowntrees news, Tropical Tots from the Jelly Tots range are now being rolled out nationwide with fruity flavoured sweets in five tasty flavours: passion fruit, peach, pineapple, grapefruit and mango.

The full Rowntrees range of singles, multipacks and sharing bags contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

As well as on the main fixture, off-shelf displays are also invaluable to sugar confectionery, as a significant amount of purchases are made on impulse. In terms of sugar sharing bags, a good secondary location to target would be other categories associated with the ‘big night in’ occasion such as crisp sharing bags, large soft drinks etc. When considering the main fixture, sugar sharing bags should be merchandised together and not combined with chocolate sharing bags, with a vertical split between the two on the sharing bags fixture.

Mints also play a critical role in achieving the optimum sugar singles range. Mints are very much a functional/destination segment of the confectionery market, with shoppers actively seeking out products to freshen their breath after a coffee or lunch break. When shopping patterns were impacted by various lockdowns over the past few years, mints sales were affected as shoppers stayed at home and this resulted in fewer out of home consumption occasions.

However, with a return to more normal living patterns over the past year with people returning to work and travel, retailers have had an opportunity to boost their mint category sales once again. To continue to capitalise on this growth, retailers should ensure they are always stocking the best-selling packs across a range of usage occasions. Focusing on big brands which consumers know and trust will also capture shoppers’ attention in store. When it comes to mints, Polo is the original ‘mint with a hole’ providing minty crunchy refreshment. The Polo brand is growing MAT + 26.2% and YTD +29.1% and the Polo portfolio includes Original, Sugar Free, Spearmint and Fruit variants. Key locations to consider in-store space for Polo include displays at the till and secondary siting especially if located next to food and drink to go categories.

*(Source: Nielsen total scantrack incl. Dunnes & Discounter estimate data to wk 26/02/23)

Demonstrating resilience

Mints and gums are seeing positive signs of growth as more people continue to return to work following the Covid-19 lockdowns. Jason Sutherland, UK & Ireland sales director at Ferrero, reports that the Tic Tac brand also showed great resilience and overall, the sugar confectionery segment is on an upward trajectory, driven by mints and gum which is the second growing segment, rising with double digits. The sugar category is now worth £1.5bn, up 10% in the past year. Within that, Tic Tac has shown steady growth, up 31% compared to two years ago and increasing by 13% this year, meaning this iconic brand is now worth £24.9m.

While the category is traditionally aimed towards providing refreshing on the go moments, the introduction and popularity of fruit flavours in the last few years has enabled Tic Tac to expand its portfolio, offering products for different occasions with fruity flavours that work as a little treat throughout the day.

Tic Tac mints are showing rising penetration, with half of these buyers aged at 55 and 65+, translating into 1.3m additional shoppers who are spending 8% more . Tic Tac has gained more than £1m in sales through winning shoppers with its fruit flavours which are predominantly gaining traction with a younger audience under 35, and the brand is seeing many switch from more traditional hard candy or boiled sweets towards its vibrant, fruity flavours. The expanding Tic Tac Fruits range has also supported the brand’s results, bringing in five million incremental value sales by attracting a younger demographic.





Share this post:

Back to Top ↑

Shelflife Magazine