The Bristol-based confectioner has rolled out limited edition mini tube packaging, which now offers both its Famous Names and Vodka Shots brands in a smaller tube format, containing six individually wrapped chocolates, in a bid to broaden their consumer appeal.
Elizabeth Shaw has previously signed licensing agreements with a number of premium spirit brands - including Cointreau, Drambuie and Tia Maria - which have helped its Famous Names brand achieve an estimated 40 per cent market share. According to figures released by the company, Famous Names saw a 10.6 per cent increase in sales from 2002 to 2003.
The company estimates that 1.5 million UK homes will buy a box of luxury liqueur chocolates this festive season, providing chocolate confectioners with a lucrative opportunity to bolster sales.
The alcohol-based chocolates will retail at £0.99 and will feature prominently at the checkouts in stores such as Sainsbury's and Waitrose, targeting the impulsive chocolate consumer.
A spokesperson for Elizabeth Shaw told ConfectioneryNews.com that "British consumers are becoming increasingly discerning, which is why we are developing products with a premium cachet."
She noted that "although people tend to remain loyal to particular brands, particularly over the festive season, the nature of the market is constantly demanding innovative products."
"We envisage the new tube format proving particularly popular among the 18 to 35 age group, and, depending on its success, it could be extended beyond Christmas," she added.
Elizabeth Shaw also hailed a revival of so-called 'for me' products - referring to the growing consumer trend for self-indulgent luxury products - for contributing to sales increases of its Famous Names and Vodka Shots brands.
"As well as targeting impulse-buy consumers, our products also appeal to consumers simply wishing to treat themselves," the spokesperson added.
According to a report from industry analysts Mintel, the tube format is set to be the fastest growing chocolate packaging category this Christmas, predicted to take an estimated £41 million (€57 million) in 2004 sales.
Luxury chocolate sales account for 18 per cent of the annual £631 million (€902 million) UK chocolate market, says Mintel, with volume sales up by 21 per cent since 1999. The overall growth rate in the UK chocolate market, however, is a comparatively stagnant 0.7 per cent.