Sweetness and light

With no shortage of innovation taking place within the sugar confectionery sector, we highlight all the latest news and developments that will help drive your sales below


Brand Central

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15 April 2020

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We’re all more health conscious than ever, but that doesn’t mean that a little indulgence in the sugar confectionery area isn’t out of the question. The total value of sugar confectionery sales in Ireland has been estimated to stand at circa €180 million in 2020, according to Euromonitor.

Sugar confectionery has particular importance with regard to impulse purchase for retailers. And of course, it is a key area among school children, which in turn drives innovation among manufacturers. The latest SKUs from the bestselling brands, sure to keep kids enthralled this summer, are highlighted below.

A recent report by Euromonitor entitled ‘Sugar Confectionery in Ireland’ published in August 2019, shows that brands are increasingly extending their ranges to cater to a growing number of vegans. Bord Bia estimates that 2% of the Irish population are vegan and recognises that veganism is a growing trend in the country. “Purchasing sugar confectionery that is suitable for vegans is also a growing trend among consumers in Ireland,” Euromonitor states.

Another major trend reported by Euromonitor is that consumers are increasingly demanding natural products with reduced or no sugar. “Products made with natural ingredients, no artificial colouring, and reduced sugar are becoming very appealing to Irish consumers,” the analyst reports.

Strategic partnership with BR Marketing

Swizzels has been operating in Ireland (ROI) for over 30 years and is responsible for many much-loved brands including Squashies, Love Hearts, Stinger bar, Drumstick lollies and Refreshers chew bars.

Swizzels is delighted to announce BR Marketing as the sole distributor for Swizzels products in the ROI market. In August 2019, Swizzels appointed BR Marketing to service multiple and symbol retail operations. The company is now announcing the further addition of wholesale and cash and carry operations for ROI.

This partnership offers significant synergies for both parties, allowing a streamlined and consistent approach to further enhance Swizzels’ market position in Ireland. Both companies share a common mission, culture and values. The partnership will allow both parties to expand their customer base and product ranges. “We look forward to a long-lasting relationship with BR Marketing,” said Simon Demery, country manager, Swizzels Ireland.

BR Marketing, founded in 1983 by William and Michael Rochford, is a well-respected importer and distributor of key food brands to the Irish market.

“We are excited to welcome such an iconic brand to our portfolio,” said Gordon Kennedy, CEO of BR Marketing, commenting on the partnership with Swizzels. “It provides us with a great opportunity to strengthen our position in the confectionery category and is consistent with our long-term strategy of expanding our range of quality brands that consumers love to enjoy. The global confectionery market continues to grow, and we look forward to working in partnership with Swizzels to develop the brand and reinforce its position as a leading confectionery brand in Ireland.”

 ‘Choos’ a new option


The first product to receive an official launch in Ireland (ROI) under the new partnership will be Swizzels Drumstick and Refresher Choos hanging bags.

Choos were developed to satisfy growing consumer demand for softer sugar confectionery products which has seen the soft fruits segment continue to grow above the market rate. The hanging bag format works well for the product and is seen as the future of the category, now accounting for 50% of total sugar confectionery sales.*

The recipe was purposefully developed to ensure it is suitable for vegans, a trend that has continued to grow across confectionery.

Drumstick Choos provide five double flavour combinations including Peaches & Cream and Strawberry & Banana, while Refreshers Choos offer five fizzy flavours with the unique sherbet centre, including Pineapple and Apple. The vegan-friendly recipe creates a soft, chewy texture.

Choos will officially launch in the ROI market from June 2020.

Number one hanging bag brand

Squashies is currently the number one sugar confectionery hanging bag brand in the UK

Squashies continues to be a huge success story for the Swizzels business and in fact, is now the number one sugar confectionery hanging bag brand in the UK*.


Drumstick Squashies original flavour has the highest rate of sale out of all Swizzels’ ₤1 price- marked sugar confectionery packs*, making it a must-stock hanging bag. The price-marked packs represent a key opportunity for convenience retailers as consumers look for price reassurance to ensure they are getting value for money. Price-marked packs account for 90% of Squashies that are sold in symbols and independents**.

For those customers seeking a single portion sweet treat for on-the-go consumption, the range is also available in 45g bags in Original Raspberry & Milk, Sour Apple & Cherry and Bubblegum flavours.

Count lines

Initially launched back in 1954, Love Hearts offer a fun way to share romantic messages

As many manufacturers move away from lower price points, Swizzels is committed to providing value to consumers with its 10c, 20c and 50c count lines range. Over 3 million of these count lines were sold in Ireland alone last year.**

Most of the count lines have benefited from the trend towards vegan and vegetarian products. Swizzels has developed many of its products to be suitable for these dietary needs, offering shoppers more choice and making it easier for them to select appropriate products.

This includes some of Swizzels’ most popular brands such as Choos, Drumstick and Refresher stick packs, Love Hearts and chew bars including Drumstick, Stinger and Refresher, with many of the products having been reformulated specifically to make them suitable for these diets. According to Swizzels, these are a must-stock as shoppers continue to seek out sweet treats from brands they know and love.

*(Source: IRI Total Market data, Sugar Confectionery, 52 WE 26.01.20, value sales – brand-level bag SKUs 100-199g)

**(Source: Swizzels Internal sales database, 52 WE 31.12.19)

New members join the family

The Natural Confectionery Company’s Sour Splash range has reached almost half a million euros in sales, since launching last yea

The Natural Confectionery Company, one of Ireland’s favourite confectionery brands, keeps growing and closed 2019 with a +15% sales increase*.

The brand recently introduced more products to its range that respond to consumer market trends. These are Sour Splash and Superfruit Jellies.

Superfruit Jellies from The Natural Confectionery Company, are available in a variety of flavours

Sour candy is very popular among consumers. That is why The Natural Confectionery Company presented Sour Splash in early 2019. These sweets are shaped as fish (to tap into consumers’ more playful side) and come in a variety of consumers’ favourite flavours: Orange, Strawberry, Blackcurrant and Lime. They are all made with natural colours and flavours. Sour Splash has had amazing success since its launch in 2019, reaching almost half a million euros in sales.**

Candy is all about emotional connections, however, authenticity is a key trend. Consumers look for products that contain ‘real’ and high-quality ingredients. Superfruit Jellies are tapping into consumers’ desire for authenticity perfectly, with higher real fruit content and added benefits. The range includes an exciting variety of super fruit flavours: Papaya, Cranberry, Blueberry and Pomegranate. The sweets are shaped after these fruits, they are made with 30% fruit juice***, they are a source of Vitamins C and E and they are of course made with natural colours and flavours. You will be seeing more of these jellies in stores soon, with the brand advising retailers to stock up on new Superfruit Jellies now.

*(Source: Value sales TNCC total market 2019 vs 2018)

**(Source: Value sales Nielsen data 2019)

***(Made with concentrated fruit juice. Vitamin C contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. The beneficial effect is obtained with a consumption of four sweets per day. Enjoy as a part of a varied and balanced diet and healthy lifestyle)

A mouth-watering portfolio

Shelton Distributors serves the Irish market with a wide range of confectionery and snacking options. Below, we outline the company’s core sugar confectionery brands.

Walk this way

Walker’s Nonsuch only manufactures high-quality toffees. The company recently launched its unique Double-Choc Toffees, which have been extremely well received by the public. The creamy butter toffees are enrobed twice in a high-quality milk chocolate to give an intense and full-flavour taste, and each piece is individually flow-wrapped to seal in that fabulous flavour. Recommended to retail at €2.

Full of characters

Children’s novelty products sell consistently all year round, with even better sales in the summer months. Pez is famous for producing collectible character dispensers, and has a long association with all the major licensing brands, including Disney, Frozen 2, Toy Story 4, Peppa Pig, and many more.

The major seller for summer 2020 is expected to be Trolls, with a new movie scheduled for release shortly, when the cinemas return to normal service. With several innovative point-of-sale fixtures, Pez can be easily marketed in-store, retailing at €2.

Worth a look

Look-O-Look celebrated 50 years in 2019, and to mark the brand’s new vision at the start of its next 50 years, it is launching a new logo on the 2020 range of Look-O-Look hanging bags.

These feature a more grown-up approach to appeal to the brand’s loyal fans who have grown up with these products over many years. Each bag will feature a uniquely designed header card, with fresh graphics, and even better nutritional information. The RRP is €2.

Bite into fun

The Trolli Gummi Burger display stand has proven to be highly effective in-store.

It is compact, can be set up in seconds, and offers 50g of tasty Gummi jelly Burger bites for great impulse purchases. The RRPs of €1 or £1 are ideally priced for a one-coin purchase.

America’s favourite lollipop

America’s most popular Lollipops are manufactured by The Original Gourmet Candy Company. Launched in Ireland in 2016, and with original flavours such as Cotton Candy, Pink Lemonade, Wild Cherry and many more, this 3g deposited candy Lollipop has featured in several famous American movies and TV series.

Consumer awareness is growing all the time, and consistent repeat sales confirm this. There is an assortment of special magnetic fixtures, counter and floor stands available for in-store placement. The RRP is €1 per piece, with excellent margin.

Tastefully intense

‘Tastefully Intense Mints’ is how Barkleys describes its range of premium designed tins of breath-mints. Cinnamon, Ginger, Liquorice, Peppermint and Spearmint flavours comprise the range currently available in Ireland. Retailing at €2, and with counter stands and floor stands on call, Barkleys can fill a hole in your mint sales, with the tins having many after-uses.

Fruitful results

With global sales establishing Cavendish & Harvey Travel Tins of hard candies as the leading international brand, the latest innovation is sugar-free candies.

The regular range of 11 flavours includes Mixed Fruit Drops, Wild Berries, Multivitamin, and Tropical Mix. The bestsellers are now also available in sugar-free tins, for those looking to reduce their sugar intake. Priced from €2.50, the Cavendish & Harvey range also includes Gift Jars for seasonal gifting.

For more details or to order any of the products in Shelton Distributors’ portfolio, contact:

Shelton Distributors Ltd
Telephone:  (0)1 401 8455
Address: Unit K7, Greenogue Industrial Estate, Rathcoole, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Web: www.shelton.ie

Email: info@shelton.ie

Q & A with…Claire Allen, snacking marketing manager, Valeo Foods

Claire Allen

Now consumers can enjoy the classic Dip Dab brand as a soft chewy sweet within the Softies range

Q: What are the latest consumer trends within sweet confectionery and how does Barratt meet these?

A: A key trend we are seeing is the growing appetite for retro confectionery as consumers look for novel ways to enjoy their childhood favourites. We are also seeing growth within soft confectionery such as gums and jellies and sharing bag formats. The Barratt Softies range combines all these trends in one bag. The latest addition, Wham Softies, for example, offers the same tongue-tingling taste consumers expect from their Wham bar in a soft chewy sweet.

Ingredients continue to be high on the agenda as consumers look to avoid artificial colours and flavours. Our range includes all-natural colours and flavours and it is a claim that we call out on our packs. It is important for us to highlight this to reassure our consumers that we don’t compromise on our ingredients and our products are always of the highest quality.


Q: What are the bestselling brands within the Barratt portfolio and what have been the key factors behind their success?

A: Classic brands such as Milk Teeth, Fruit Salad, BlackJack, Dip Dabs and Wham Bars continue to drive growth for the Barratt brand. New formats such as Softies and sharing bags have proven successful, offering consumers a new way to enjoy their favourites. The success of the Barratt range can be attributed to a number of key factors. The iconic brand portfolio has an extensive range with strong appeal for both young and old. Barratt offers a range of high-quality sweet confectionery at a competitive price point. Finally, the strength of our field sales team ensures maximum visibility in-store with best-in-class merchandising solutions.

Q: The Barratt company has a rich history. How does the tagline ‘Make Sweet Memories’ build on this heritage?

A: The Barratt brand has been producing sweet confectionery for over 170 years. We are lucky to have several famous confectionery brands within our portfolio. From Fruit Salad, to BlackJack to the Wham Bar, many adults fondly remember the first time they tried their favourite Barratt sweets. The Barratt range continues to evolve to ensure that young people today share the same unforgettable experiences with the brand. Our tagline ‘Make Sweet Memories’ captures that feeling of wide-eyed enjoyment that consumers share with Barratt past and present.

Q: How does Barratt plan to support the brand over the next 12 months?

A: We understand that we need to continuously evolve the Barratt brand to ensure that it remains relevant to consumers of all ages. We are developing new products within gums and jellies that we will be launching in June of this year. Extending our range gives retailers a versatile and flexible offering that keeps consumers engaged in this very dynamic category.

Over the next 12 months, we want to continue to maximise our visibility in-store by developing merchandising solutions that work for all store formats both small and large. This creates a destination within retailers’ stores where consumers can effortlessly shop the category and easily discover new product offerings.

Creating smiles

The 230g Sonas Sweets Mix-Up bags are great for sharing and on-the-go convenience

The 230g Sonas Sweets Mix-Up bags are great for sharing and on-the-go convenience

Sonas Sweets’ 100g hanging bags offer a perfect treat-sized portion, priced at €1

The word Sonas comes from the Irish word meaning happiness, and this confectionery range is sure to create smiles! The Sonas Sweets brand has 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 bags selection, 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. 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.

Retailers and consumers can also be assured in these challenging times where hygiene, health and food safety are at the fore of people’s minds that the Sonas Sweets range is a premium quality offering and the highest standards of food safety and compliance with legislation have been ensured for the wellbeing of consumers. Sonas Sweets Mix-Ups are all hand-packed in a factory in double laminate bags with a re-sealable tab which are fully compliant with trace-ability and best-before-dates along with strict controls and conditions carried out by staff throughout the production and packing processes.

Each sweet in the Sonas Sweets Mix-Ups range has also been carefully selected in a tasting panel to ensure quality and to provide the consumer with the best selection of sweets in the offering and a bag of treats that will have something for everyone!

Ampersand has some exciting plans in place to promote its Sonas Sweets range of confectionery later this year which are sure to bring more happiness or “sonas” to consumers…watch this space for updates!

If you are interested in stocking Sonas Sweets, get in touch with Ampersand on 01 4130150, email info@ampersandsales.ie or make contact via the website at www.ampersandsales.ie.







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