The best of 2016
As we head into 2017, this month we look back at some of the best and biggest products of the year, celebrating their successful launches, innovative design and unique position
16 December 2016
2016 was a very strange year around the world, for a multitude of reasons. It was business as usual for manufacturers across the board though, as continuing innovation combined with increased economic confidence saw a range of brand new products enter the market, along with re-launched and revamped iconic favourites.
Here we look back at some of our favourite products of 2016, due to their inventiveness, their popularity, or everything in between.
Soft sweets, strong sales
Since launching the Squashies range in 2014, Swizzels’ Squashies range has become a firm favourite amongst Irish consumers. The original Drumstick Original flavour Squashies was added to at the beginning of 2016, with new options including Sour Cherry & Apple and Bubblegum flavours. Drumstick Original Squashies have remained the bestseller in the range, the two new flavours additions were the second fastest selling variants in 2016*.
Simon Demery, sales manager for Swizzels Ireland, said that Swizzels has been “delighted but not surprised” at the outstanding success of the Squashies range. “Combining the same great taste as Swizzels classic ranges, but with a new, fun, squashy texture was sure to be an instant hit with consumers,” he said. “Squashies also represents a valuable opportunity for retailers, having seen consistent growth since launch, and holding a higher rate of sale than Swizzels bestselling brands.”
See www.swizzels.com for details or contact Simon Demery, sales manager for Swizzels Ireland on (01) 4517642.
*(Source: IRI Marketplace Data 12 weeks to 09/10/16)
Ferrero announced its biggest-ever investment in Tic Tacs earlier in 2016. A full rebrand took place in September, supported by a new heavyweight above-the line campaign and packaging refresh, to increase in-store visibility and relevance to shoppers.
Leading this rebrand was an all-new product, Mint Rush, and the rebrand will include new packaging across all formats and flavours from January 2017.
Mint Rush launched following the insight that 55% of sugar confectionery shoppers consume mint flavours*. The new variant consists of a unique combination of two intense pills; Smooth Mint and Fresh Rush. Available since October, the Smooth Mint offers a refreshing and clean flavour, while Fresh Rush ensures a long lasting wave of freshness.
“We know our target consumers have a great affinity with Tic Tac and this year,” says Levi Boorer, customer development director at Ferrero. “In true Ferrero style, we are making a heavyweight investment to support the brand ensuring Tic Tac is completely unmissable at every touchpoint.
“In addition,” Boorer continues, “Tic Tac has a great range of flavours that cater for multiple tastes and we’re excited to announce the launch of a new flavour that will be sure to recruit new shoppers to the brand. As with all Ferrero products, we want to make sure retailers know how to stock Tic Tac and to make the most out of their Tic Tac sales, we recommend retailers treat newcomers as incremental SKUs to the core range.”
Tic Tacs is currently the ninth biggest brand in the sugar confectionery market, with a value of €1.5m.
*(Source: Nielsen MAT 07.08.16)
Best of brews
This year saw Smithwick’s launch its newest TV ad, titled ‘We’re in it for the love of it’. The spot took homebrewers from across Ireland and put them together with Smithwick’s own brewers, all of whom were united in their passion for great ale.
From a husband and wife duo to a computer engineer, a chef and a school teacher, the light-hearted documentary-style ad celebrates the ups and downs of brewing and its culture of experimentation and fun.
The campaign also built upon the partnership between Smithwick’s and the local home brewing community. In 2015 Smithwick’s joined forces with the National Homebrew Club for the first Homebrew Challenge, where brewers all over Ireland were invited to brew a special Christmas ale and have it tasted by an expert panel. Two finalists were invited to brew their ale in the Open Gate Brewery at St James’s Gate – a first for the brewery. The Smithwick’s Homebrew Challenge will take place once again in spring 2017.
Through its new campaign, Smithwick’s also unveiled its new brand identity and packaging, created by Design Bridge, which celebrates the brand’s rich Irish heritage, its strong links to Kilkenny and brewing. The new identity also cleverly payed homage to historic beer mats, original labels and advertising from the Smithwick’s archives.
2016 was a year that saw perhaps the biggest push ever towards healthy eating and drinking. Of course, healthy alcoholic drinks are few and far between (especially given that drinking alcohol is usually an indulgence or celebration of sorts). That’s why Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco was one of the best new products of the year.
Thomson & Scott was founded by Amanda Thomson, who was raised on a strict vegetarian no-sugar diet. After a career in broadcasting, she moved into her passion – wine and healthy eating, and worked with celebrated producer Alexandra Penet to develop this special sugar-free sparkling wine range. The company’s Prosecco contains less than half the sugar content usually added. Also available are Champagne Grand Cru Brut, Champagne Grand Cru Rosé,
Thomson & Scott’s core principle is this: “If you grow beautiful, pure fruit in the vineyards and work carefully and respectfully in the winery, there is no need to add lots of sugar to your finished wine.”
Founder Thomson says, “I was raised on a sugar-free diet and now I’ve brought a brand to market that offers a top-quality portfolio with little or no sugar. We’re set to take the drinks world by storm!”
Fun with flavour
Since launching in Ireland two years ago, Propercorn has emerged as the driving force behind the ever-growing popcorn category. This year saw the brand add to its award-winning, gluten-free collection with the limited edition Twisted Honeycomb flavour. This is the first “crowd-seasoned” flavour to emerge from Propercorn’s Institute of Flavour initiative.
Earlier this year, Propercorn turned to consumers in the UK and Ireland, inviting them to experiment with their own seasonings and experience the passion that goes into a Propercorn pack. Eventually, Twisted Honeycomb was selected by a public vote to be brought to market for real. With honey, Madagascan vanilla and sea salt, the recipe is gluten and GM free, suitable for vegetarians and less than 120 calories.
The rest of the Propercorn collection includes Sweet Coconut & Vanilla, Smooth Peanut & Almond and Sour Cream & Black Pepper.
April saw the launch of Orchard Thieves Light, an alternative for consumers in the cider category. As we have seen consumers are more conscious than ever of calorie intake, but also more discerning than ever on flavour and quality. Orchard Thieves Light taps into this insight by being 33% lower in calories vs. Orchard Thieves whilst maintaining a great taste.
Available in 500ml can and 660ml bottle in the off-trade, it’s priced in line with Orchard Thieves and it’s recommended to sit alongside Orchard Thieves on and off-shelf.
The launch kicked off with a through-the-line plan campaign including out-of-home without a nationwide campaign, social media and a strong online presence, including denofthieves.ie. Shoppers were enticed to purchase using disruptive in-store visibility, and a call to action: “We thieved the calories, not the taste.”
If one sports nutrition launch stole the show in 2016, it was Nutramino, with the backing of Glanbia. Nutramino has one of the most extensive protein product ranges on the market, including protein bars, recovery shakes, energy drinks protein water, powders, energy shots and more. Nutramino has a loyal following of fans, sports people and those with an active lifestyle who are simply looking for a protein-filled snack or an afternoon pick-me-up.
Distribution and merchandising were key to the early success of Nutramino, which holds the number one position in sports nutrition across Scandinavia. It is now stocked in Applegreen, Topaz Mace, Centra and SuperValu, and supported by high-profile activations and consumer engagement initiatives, including Train with Nutramino sessions hosted by popular Spin FM presenter, Thomas Crosse in partnership with both FlyeFit and Ben Dunne Gyms.
Although new to the Irish market, one of the brand’s latest innovations this year was the launch of Dark Chocolate & Orange, Nutramino’s first dark chocolate protein bar injecting a real buzz in the sports category in the Irish market.
Marianna Daddiego, Nutramino’s global brand director explains that the Irish-owned nutrition brand is confident of continued growth in 2017. “We’re different to many other sports nutrition brands,” she says, “as we take account of people’s different nutrition requirements and activity intensity levels. There’s no one size fits all, as no two training days are the same and Nutramino has developed a range of sports nutrition products that is as diverse as the people who love them.”
Acquired by global nutrition group, Glanbia, in 2014, Nutramino is now part of Glanbia Performance Nutrition (GPN), the number one global performance nutrition brand portfolio.
To learn more about the Nutramino range visit www.nutramino.com, facebook.com/NutraminoIRELAND or @NutraminoIRL on twitter.
Smaller is better
Late 2016 saw the arrival of Ireland’s best-loved chocolate bars in a tasty new format. Mars, Twix and Snickers are now available in Sharing Bags of single one-bite pieces, perfect for enjoying with friends.
The Favourite Bars in a Bite launch was supported by a massive media and in-store campaign, including innovative and engaging POS that captured consumer attention and delivered fantastic growth for retailers. The first ten weeks of sales saw more than €545,000 added to the category, along with a 291% uplift from launch. The total chocolate category has grown by +0.6% in the 12 weeks to 6 November 2016, while Mars, Snickers and Twix now have a combined 6.8% share of the total category, up from 5.7% in the previous 12 weeks.
The Bites range includes Snickers 136g, Twix 140g and Mars 136g and will continue to be supported with heavyweight media into 2017.
*(Source: Nielsen total Scantrack chocolate L12W ending 6 November 2016)
Light for electrolytes
Ireland’s number one sports drink* has a new addition to its range. Lucozade Low Cal is a 50-calorie hydrating fitness drink that replaces the electrolytes lost through sweating. It also contains essential B vitamins which enable the body to release energy, prevent fatigue and help consumers get the best out of their workout.
Lucozade Low Cal is ideal for light to moderate intensity exercise of up to 60 minutes, whereas Lucozade Sport Body Fuel is designed for moderate-to-high intensity exercise of 60 minutes or more.
Interestingly, Original Lucozade Sport Body Fuel has only 3.6gms of sugar per 100ml and only 140 Calories per 500ml bottle. This means that Lucozade Sport will not be affected of the planned sugar tax in 2018.
Looking ahead, Lucozade Sport’s Made to Move campaign will run across Jan/Feb 2017. The brand’s biggest campaign in years, it will feature significant TV, outdoor, social and shopper activity. Lucozade Low Cal will feature heavily as part of the campaign.
Better than ever
2016 has been an important year for KittenSoft bathroom tissue. After the recent additions of premium variants ‘Quilted Dreams & Aloe Vera’ to the range, manufacturers Intertissue decided to re-launch the original ‘Adorably Soft’ variety. Significant investment in state of the art manufacturing equipment means KittenSoft Adorably Soft is now better than ever. The new technology ensures a better quality of sheet from the first all the way to the very last.
The packaging was given a revamp and the old white packs were changed to a striking blue, giving great stand out on shelf. The relaunch has also been supported by an above-the-line campaign with the newly developed ‘For Lovers of Softness’ TV commercial. Along with competitions, in store POS, social media and other supporting activities, the KittenSoft relaunch has been a huge success, with the brand capturing the number one position of ATL brands*. Sales have grown by +26% in the period post launch and value share has increased by +5.9% to a 33.5% share of ATL Brands*.
According to country sales manager Brian Clinton, the KittenSoft re-launch has been “a huge success. We look forward to delivering value for money and high quality products to loyal and new consumers into the future.”
*(Source: Kantar Data 12 weeks ending 9 October 2016 Vs previous 12 wks)
Longer and stronger
Regina branded kitchen towels have gone from strength to strength in 2016. It is now the number one kitchen towel brand on the market, commanding a 32% share of the branded kitchen towel category**. With an increase in penetration driving Regina’s growth; the number of households and individuals buying the brand has increased by 14%**.
Regina Blitz has seen significant growth in 2016. Given its versatility, it’s easy to see why consumers keep coming back for more. 2016 also saw the launch of the single roll Regina Blitz variant. The new single roll features a massive 100 sheets, compared to the standard 70 sheets per roll found in the twin pack. This means that when shelf space is at a premium, retailers can still offer customers an all-round household helper that’s everything they need in one. The introduction of Blitz 1R has brought incremental sales to the Blitz brand. Blitz 2R positive performance continues with growth of 14% while the brand overall has gained 37% in Value YoY***. 57% of Blitz 1R sales value has come from bringing brand new customers into the brand ensuring new sales for your category****.
Ireland country sales manager for Intertissue, Brian Clinton, says the company is delighted to launch the single roll to the Irish market. “With such a proven track record for success within all retailers, it’s sure to be a hit and offer both merchandising flexibility for retailers,” he says. “It will also provide added value and choice for our customers.”
*(Source: Kantar Data 12 weeks ending 9 October 2016 Vs previous 12 wks)
**(Source: Kantar Data 12 weeks ending 9 October 2016 Vs 12 weeks Yago)
***(Source: Nielsen Scantrack Data 26 weeks ending 4 September 2016 Vs 26 wks Yago)
****(Source: Dunnhumby Data 18 weeks ending 23 October 2016 Vs 18weeks Yago)
Since being established in 2000 as part of the An Post Group, PostPoint has been helping local retailers and communities “do more in store” ever since. PostPoint retailers process over 18m transactions every year, including essential footfall-driving services such as mobile phone top up, bill payment, waste management, gift cards, tolling, parking and international calling cards.
PostPoint’s products and services are useful, practical and simple. And, because PostPoint is part of An Post, customers can trust that all payments will be processed safely, securely and efficiently.
Over the last year, PostPoint has boosted its Bill Payment facility to over 130 billers, one of the largest in the country, allowing customers to pay the majority of national and regional bills through their local PostPoint shop. In addition to regular utility bills, customers can also use PostPoint to pay their Local Property Tax, TV Licence Renewal, local waste payments, local City and County Council Payments and more.
Added to these services are exclusive An Post products such as Postal Products, Stamps, TV licence renewal and One4all Gift Cards, as well as new innovative online payment products like paysafecard. By joining PostPoint retailers enjoy the support of a dedicated customer services team as well as an award winning sales support team on the road. PostPoint retailers can order stamps and One4all vouchers quickly and conveniently through the PostPoint helpdesk. All orders are delivered free of charge, straight to the retailers door.
PostPoint works with all major retail brands including Spar, Centra, SuperValu, Tesco, Gala, Mace, Londis, Costcutter, Daybreak, Topaz and Applegreen. For more information about joining PostPoint visit www.postpoint.ie, or call PostPoint Retail Support on 1890 20 42 20.
The newest addition
As the number one premium boxed chocolate brand, Lindt Lindor continues to outperform the market and now holds 10.1% market share*. Lindt Lindor’s success comes not only from timeless classics such as the iconic Lindor milk truffles but also the exciting innovations it brings to the market every year.
Lindt Lindor’s newest addition brings an existing recipe to a new level with Lindor Hazelnut 200g. The limited edition Lindor Hazelnut hit the shelves this autumn, joining the exciting and delectable Lindor Range. Lovingly crafted by the Lindt master chocolatiers, each Lindor Hazelnut truffle is surrounded by a shell of luxurious premium chocolate that once broken, releases an irresistibly smooth melting filling with Hazelnut pieces. Lindor Hazelnut 200g retails at €6.99 and is available in all leading retailers.
Lindor took to TV screens this winter as part of a huge national support campaign to drive awareness and sales, while the Lindor brand is set to go from strength to blissful strength with Lindor Hazelnut.
*(Source: AC Nielsen 52 weeks to 30 October – MAT)
Less time on lunch
After decades doing its part to help busy families get more fish in their diets, 2016 saw John West introduce its latest innovation: Fridgepack. This time-saving product is easy to store and use, and can also be resealed and kept in the fridge for an impressive five days.
John West aims to serve the growing demand for healthy lunch and snack options for busy families and individuals with an active healthy lifestyle. The Fridgepack is perfect for sandwiches, crispy rolls and baked potatoes, or smothered on tasty crackers. It is also the perfect healthy option for parents who may be struggling to prepare the school lunch sandwiches in record time during the busy school week.
The John West Fridgepack launch was supported with TV and VOD advertising, an innovative sampling supermarket campaign along with an interactive social media campaign. Retailers are encouraged to stock up and offer essential and important fish goodness to their customers.
Gin with a bang
From the curious mind of entrepreneur PJ Rigney comes Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, slow distilled by hand with oriental botanicals and gunpowder tea, crafted at The Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim.
Only available since May of this year, Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin is already making waves, winning the public vote for Ireland’s best gin in an Irish Gin & Tonic at the National Gin & Tonic Festival in June and it was the gin used in Ireland’s favourite cocktail at October’s National Cocktail Festival.
Perfect for gin aficionados with an interest in the balance of botanicals and a story behind the gin. The eye-catching old apothecary style bottle makes it extra special as a Christmas gift. Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin’s RRP is €49, and it is available in Dublin Airport, select Dunnes Stores, Tesco, SuperValu and O’Brien’s off-licence group, Molloys off-licences and all good independent off-licences.
Better for you
January of 2016 saw the launch of Fulfil Vitamin & Protein Bars. The business is the brainchild of friends Niall McGrath and Tom Gannon, who spotted a gap in the market for healthy snacking. After researching global trends in the segment, the duo came up with the “better for you” snacking option, that offers functional health benefits that also tastes as good as current confectionery. The success is clear: Fulfil holds a 55.7% share of the total protein bar market, and has driven category growth by 150% year-on-year in the Irish market.
The initial product consisted of four flavour varieties, priced at €2.50 each. These were followed by a further four flavours that were chosen by consumers via social media and unveiled at a special pop-up shop on Dublin’s South William Street earlier this year. Sales of 15m are predicted for Ireland, Britain, Netherlands and Belgium by the end of 2016, with further listings in European markets planned for 2017.
Niall McGrath says he and his partner are stunned and delighted at the success of their product. “We have completely exceeded our goal of selling 1m bars in our first year. In 2017 we plan to build further on our achievements.”
Facebook/Instagram: fulful_nutrition, Twitter @fulfil, Snapchat @fulfil.
Well well well
Franciscan Well, Ireland’s number one* craft beer brand, used 2016 to bring its award-winning craft beer into can format. Rebel Red, Friar Weisse and Chieftain IPA are now offered in a 330ml can for the first time in the off-trade across Ireland, with selected on-trade sites also stocking the product.
It is the first time Franciscan Well has canned any of its beers. The decision is part of an international trend which has seen rising consumer demand for craft beer in a can instead of a bottle. In the U.S. 25% percent of all craft beer sold in the off-trade is in can format. In Ireland, craft beer sold in cans accounts for around 15% of off-trade sales and that figure is expected to double over the next couple of years.
The Franciscan Well range was also rebranded in 2016. The entire range, in both the on and off-trade, features a new logo which encapsulates the home grown heritage of the brand and better reflects Franciscan Well’s provenance and Irish roots.
Franciscan Well Rebel Red, Chieftain IPA and Friar Weisse 330ml cans are now available nationwide.
*(Source: Nielsen ROI On-Trade MAT to end October 2016)
2016 saw Jacob’s, Ireland’s number one biscuit brand* continue with its impressive array of family favourites including Fig Rolls, Mikado, Elite, Cream Crackers and Club Milk. The biscuit segment continues to be a strong area of growth with sales up +18% YOY*. While Jacob’s Elite is a leading brand within this segment, Jacob’s recognised the opportunity to expand its footprint and cater to today’s increasingly popular coffee culture.
As people look to recreate the café experience in the comfort of their own homes, it became important to design a biscuit which perfectly matched those favourite coffees. Jacob’s Caffè di Milano is the perfect pairing whether its al fresco dining or settling down for the evening. Available in Chocolate, Hazelnut and Vanilla the biscuits are generously layered with a cream filling creating a little treat that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
Since its launch in April, Caffè di Milano has delivered exceptional results. Continued brand support and strong distribution saw Caffè di Milano quickly surpass trial and repeat purchase targets. Not alone has this launch brought vital new shoppers to the biscuit category, but it has also encouraged existing shoppers to expand their repertoire with new spend to the category accounting for close to 40% of sales.**
For more information about Caffè Di Milano, check out www.jacobs.ie or follow Jacob’s on Facebook.com/jacobslovebiscuits and Twitter @jacobs_irl
*(Source: Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 9 Oct 2016)
** (Source: EYC Aspects 24 w/e 24 Sept 2016)/ (Source: Dunnhumby 24 w/e 18th Sept 2016)
21 years of quality
Celebrating its 21st birthday in 2016 was award-winning Devil’s Bit Mountain Cider, which marked the occasion by unveiling new packaging across all canned and bottled cider offerings. Devil’s Bit takes its name from the mountain in the heart of Co. Tipperary, and is made using traditional methods handed down through generations. Local apples from the Cooney Family orchards in Tipperary and Meath are fermented and cultured for eight weeks, after which the cider is matured for several months. Then it’s chilled, filtered, carbonated and packaged, at which point it is ready to be enjoyed. With no artificial colours, sweeteners or flavourings, it is “pure Irish cider” created using a combination of time, care and effort.
Devils Bit Mountain Cider is produced by Adams Cider Company Limited which is owned and operated by the well-known Cooney family who have a long tradition in the Irish drinks industry, particularly in the Tipperary area. “Our family is very proud to be celebrating 21 years,” says Pat Cooney, co-founder. “We feel that the brand refresh will be a huge lift for our award winning Devils Bit Mountain Cider brand.”
To learn more, visit www.devilsbit.ie.
A rustic crust
2016 has been a fantastic year for Cuisine de France, culminating in Aryzta Food Solutions winning ‘Supplier of the Year 2016’ at the ShelfLife National C-Store Awards 2016. The introduction of the Parisien Rustique and Speciality Breads range WAS also well-received by retailers and consumers alike. The company says it has lots more innovation in mind for 2017.
The new range of breads, which includes the Rustic Demi Baguette, the Spelt Roll and the Mediterranean Herb, has brought Cuisine de France’s product range to the next level, enabling the company to retain shopper interest and satisfy current trends for healthier variants, innovation and quality.
Recent research has shown that one in three purchasing decisions are made in-store and 18% of consumers are looking to be inspired through in-store displays. Having a fresh baked offer drives these consumer purchasing decisions, especially when offers include attractive in-store POS solutions highlighting ingredients and taste, as well as key brand values. These new breads have grabbed the attention of the consumer, bringing increased benefits to retailers.
The Cuisine de France Parisien Rustique and Speciality breads range is a premium range that increases consumer spend and these high quality products encourage repeat purchase. Adding this range of breads to an in-store bakery will give retailers a point of difference as a convenience store and appeal to the growing number of consumers who are looking for a bread that is beyond the ordinary.
Retailers are encouraged to speak to their local business developer about introducing the Parisien Rustique and the Speciality breads range to in-store bakeries today.
Cow & Gate Super Yummies
Cow & Gate Super Yummies, brought to market by Danone Early Life Nutrition is a new range of toddler snacks developed by mums and nutritionists for little ones 12 months+.
The formats, ideal for snacking on the go consist of rice cakes, breadsticks and fruit pouches in 7 scrummy flavors. The range is made from carefully selected ingredients and contain absolutely no added salt or sugar. Cow & Gate Super Yummies are positioned as, “Fuel for Life’s Little Adventures”, recognising the adventurous stage of toddlerhood and its’ unique nutritional requirements. With this in mind, each pack is a source of something good. The Spinach Breadsticks for example are a source of fiber and the Mixed Berry & Coconut Squeeze is a portion of fruit.
Senior Brand Manager, Siofra O’ Shea explains “with this launch we wanted to address parents’ concerns about giving their toddler something nutritious, but it also needed to be a taste their little one would love”. The healthy snack range was launched with a strong 360 support plan this October which should help to fuel the growing toddler snacking category.
Available in Tesco, Dunnes and Supervalu.