Confectionery giant Masterfoods has begun planning early for the predicted Christmas sales boom, with new packaging designs being rolled out across a number of chocolate product ranges.
Core brand Mars chocolate will be redistributed in a 'cube' format along with Galaxy Ripple to make the product more suitable for sharing or as a gift.
Savvy confectioners are embarking on pre-Christmas marketing drives earlier and earlier each year in order to target a growing body of organised consumers planning ahead of the hectic holiday.
Marketing research undertaken by Masterfoods suggests that families with young children begin Christmas shopping as early as September, with 22 million hitting the shops in that month.
In comparison, the last minute shopping done by young professionals in the week before Christmas Eve accounts for 40 per cent of all festive sales in that period.
Masterfoods' new Cube versions, costing £2.49 (€3.72) each, are compact, easy to unfold and extend out into a serving bowl shape which can be topped up with further chocolates.
Inside the Cubes are 10 to 12 mini, fun-sized Mars, Mars Delights or Galaxy ripple bars.
Also in the pipeline for the festive season is new Christmas-style 'tubes' packaging for the Skittles, Galaxy Minstrels, Revels and Maltesers brands. They will be sold by major retailers such as Tesco and priced £1.39 (€2.08).