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Growth for smaller choc bars as premium products gain, Mintel

By Helen Glaberson , 21-Apr-2011

Demand is increasing for smaller chocolate blocks in the UK confectionery market, as popularity grows for indulgence products and concerns about portion sizes, says Mintel.

The confectionery market is driven by indulgence, but permissibility is key, claims Mintel analyst David Jago.

Instead of scrutinizing labels, customers are controlling their calorie content through portion sizes, Jago told ConfectioneryNews.com.

The growth in smaller bars is also down to an increase in solo consumption rather than sharing, he said.

And, according to the analyst, 85g chocolate bars have increased by 37 per cent during 2006-2010.

As well as an increase in smaller chocolate bars on shop shelves, there will also be more bite-sized products, said Jago.

A focus on “added value not volume” also gives greater potential for premium possibilities, said the analyst.

Private label

According to Jago, private labels are growing and now account for a third of all new product developments.

“It is now seen as acceptable to buy into private label brands, and with raw material prices going up and up, the private label is a more affordable alternative,” he said.

A future of quieter reformulations

In terms of reformulation of confectionery products, Jago said this is likely to be quieter in the future, with a subtler reduction in fat content and calorie delivery.

Jago said that Mars made quite a lot of noise about the reformulation of its chocolate bars, which he claims did not work very well for them.

Mars, Snickers, Milky Way, Topic were reformulated with 15 per cent less saturated fat than the previous recipe and promoted as 35 to 45 per cent less saturated fat than the average of the top 25 chocolate brands per 100g.

The analyst explained that if the manufacturer puts a lot of emphasis on the reformulation of a product it could put the consumer off as they will feel that the recipe of their favourite product has been “tinkered with”.

Jago said future reformulations will involve changing tiny amounts of the recipe at a time and then reporting back on developments later on so that the consumer is less aware about changes made to the product.

Other growth trends

Other trends that were noted by Jago include a 130 per cent growth for dark chocolate. Although, the analyst warned that this figure could be misleading as the initial base rate was so low in the UK.

However, consumers are more educated now and this has contributed to the demand for dark chocolate, according to Jago.

In addition to this, with a growth in private label creating competition for the likes of big industry players such as Lindt, dark chocolate can now be delivered in a more affordable format.

Yet, despite this growth in private label chocolate, only 11 per cent of UK consumers think it tastes as good as branded formats, said Jago.

Overall, the confectionery market is expected to grow by 30 per cent between 2005 and 2015, said the analyst. This is quite a lot considering the market in the UK is fairly mature, he added.

Jago presented the findings at the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery conference organised by the Food and Drink Federation in the UK earlier this month.

The presentation he gave: The state of the Industry, was on the wider confectionery market and was based on five Mintel reports that looked at the chocolate confectionery and cake segments between 2009 and 2010.

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