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Brand Loyalty Remains Very Strong Within The Confectionery Category

By Donna Ahern
Brand Loyalty Remains Very Strong Within The Confectionery Category
Brand loyalty remains very strong within the confectionery category. However, consumers can be enticed away by price when they are purchasing for celebratory occasions, writes Donna Ahern.

The total confectionery category is valued at €601 million in the 52 weeks to the 21 May 2023. That is according to research conducted by NIQ Ireland on behalf of Checkout. The convenience channel makes up 55% of the total value and multiples make up 45%.

Chocolate, at €418 million, accounts for 70% of total confectionery market value. It is interesting to note that impulse chocolate purchases makes up 33% of the total chocolate segment, at €137 million, and have experienced a 9% increase in value, a 2.8% increase in volume and a 1.5% increase in unit sales.

The sugar segment (such as jellies and hard candies) was worth €130 million during the period. The convenience channel is the main driver, making up 63% of the channel share of sales. The biggest sub-category within sugar confectionery is take home, which account for 72% of all sugar confectionery sold. Price increases are the biggest drivers of value within confectionery.

Seasonal Celebrations

Maximising in-store activation in the lead in to seasonal celebrations such as St Valentine’s Day, Easter and Christmas doesn’t just increase your chances of making a sale, it also creates a memorable experience for the shopper that can help to create brand loyalty. With Valentine’s Day falling on a Tuesday this year and many feeling the strain of rising costs, consumers preferred to show their love at home. With this in mind, shoppers spent €326,000 on gifting chocolate in the 12 weeks to 19 February 2023, according to grocery market share figures from Kantar in Ireland.

Grocery market share figures from Kantar in the 12 weeks to 16 April 2023 showed that Irish shoppers indulged this Easter, as sales of Easter chocolate confectionary soared by 13%, with shoppers spending an additional €3.7 million, year on year. Sales of own-label Easter eggs rose by 28.1%, with branded eggs seeing slower growth, at 13.9%, year on year. However, 93% of all Easter eggs sold were still branded products, and 37.7% were bought on promotion – up by 15.4% compared to last year.

The biggest category in grocery

Over the year, the top-five brands in the confectionery category have shown little or no change in Checkout’s Top 100 Brands, which is published in association with NIQ Ireland. In 2022, confectionery was, once again, the biggest category

in grocery. Cadbury Dairy Milk retained its number-one position in the top five, Lindt held on to the second-place spot, and Kinder kept its third-place position from 2021. Maltesers moved from fifth to fourth place in 2021, pushing Haribo from the fourth-place spot and out of the top-five rankings.

However, in 2022, Haribo staged a comeback to reclaim fourth place, pushing Maltesers out of fourth place and the top-five rankings. M&M’s entered the top- five at number five in 2021 and retained that position in 2022. There was little change in the top five brands’ share of the category, as it dropped from 29.0% in 2021 to 28.2% in 2022.

One Of Ireland’s Most PopularBrands

Dairy Milk moved down Checkout’s Top 100 Brands ranking by one place last year, to the number-four position, as it continued to be one of the country’s most popular brands. Cadbury Dairy Milk uses fresh Irish milk and boasts eight ‘deliciously creamy’ chocolate variants, five of which are among the top ten best-selling chocolate bars. The total Dairy Milk brand is worth €83 million, resulting in a brand share of in excess of 20% of the total chocolate category. Cadbury has been making chocolate in Ireland since 1932, when the first Cadbury factory opened in Dublin, with Cadbury Dairy Milk production starting the following year, in 1933. Cadbury Ireland factories are located in Coolock, in Dublin, and in Rathmore, in Kerry.

Healthier chocolate lovers can rejoice as Cadbury is close to creating a diet version of its products which could include the nation’s favourite confectionery item, Dairy Milk. The Mirror newspaper reported on 14 May that Dirk van de Put, chief executive of the brand’s US owner Mondelez, believes healthier alternatives to chocolate will soon be as common as diet soft drinks. According to the newspaper, van de Put said, “Cadbury is experimenting with plant-based fibres to cut as much as 75% of sugar and fat.”

Speaking with Checkout, a Cadbury spokesperson said, “We are working hard on new technology and ingredients which in future means we could produce alternative versions of some of our products with up to 75% less sugar, fat and lower calories. We can’t commit to specific timelines, but we are working hard on how we can apply this technology to both new products as well as alternative, great-tasting versions of some of our popular chocolate bars and biscuits. We have no plans to change the original recipe of the existing bars, but we believe it’s important to give consumers choice.”

‘Better-for-you’ Chocolate

As more and more consumers look for healthier snacking options, an Irish chocolate brand is leading the way with a range of decadent treats that offer consumers a ‘better-for-you’ option to reduce sugar without sacrificing taste. Passionate about helping people reduce their sugar intake, Free’ist Chocolate was founded in 2013 by Belfast businessman Gerard McAdorey and to mark its 10th birthday the innovative brand has relaunched its original milk and dark chocolate range with a new and improved recipe.

The company has also introduced a new no-added-sugar, plant-based product, tapping into growing consumer demand for milk-based alternatives. The plant-based range launches with a four-strong portfolio including Oat Chocolate and the indulgent flavour extensions of Oat with Raspberry, Oat with Coconut, and Oat with Almonds. “Across the globe, people are adapting to healthier lifestyles which has been a huge driver in the demand for products that are free from sugar, dairy and artificial ingredients,” says Gerard McAdorey, founder, Free’ist Chocolate.

“They still want to be able to treat themselves in a healthy, responsible and guilt-free manner – but taste will not be sacrificed so we have worked tirelessly to perfect this over the past decade [...] I’m delighted to say that I believe we have finally cracked it. The passion, skill and talent of our chocolatiers has enabled us to create our best tasting range of Free’ist products, while committing to ethical sourcing that uses only the finest quality ingredients.” The full Free’ist range consists of six no-added-sugar milk and dark chocolate bars, and four new no-added-sugar plant-based, dairy-free bars.

Fan Favourite Is Back

Over the years, we have seen the return of many iconic ‘fan favourites’ to confectionery aisle, most notably in 2007 when the Wispa bar was re-launched, albeit for a limited period. In October 2008, Wispa permanently returned to shops in the UK and Ireland due to the chocolate bar’s popularity during the previous limited period release. Now, after an absence of eight years, Yorkie Honeycomb has returned to Irish shelves.

Featuring solid chunks of smooth honeycomb flavour milk chocolate and crunchy pieces of sweet honeycomb, the limited-edition bar is a ‘delicious’ twist on the classic chunky Yorkie. Maria McKenna, confectionery marketing manager at Nestlé Ireland, said, “Yorkie fans are a passionate bunch, especially when it comes to honeycomb! We’ve had more requests for this than for any other flavour, so it’s great to see it returning in 2023. However, as it’s a limited edition it won’t be around for long, so consumers need to grab it while they can”.

The 42g Yorkie Honeycomb bar is available in a wide range of supermarkets, wholesalers, and convenience stores nationwide. Yorkie Honeycomb has no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and is made with cocoa sustainably sourced under the Nestlé Cocoa Plan.

© 2023 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. For more A-brand news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.


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