Oat and fruit focus for new Cadbury granola launch

By Lindsey Partos

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dark chocolate Cadbury dairy milk Chocolate Cadbury

Cereal, cocoa and fruit ingredient prices may have soared in the past year, but these building blocks in confectionery formulation hold sway, evident in the recent swathe of product designs that boast a health and wellness twist.

And with a nod to the recent exponential growth in the cereal bar market, the UK's number one confectionery firm Cadbury will next week roll out a cranberry and granola variant of its iconic Dairy Milk brand.

Exploiting the growing appeal of cereal bars, a market that between 2002 and 2006 mushroomed by a massive 43 per cent in the US alone, the two new brand extensions transfer the profile to chocolate, the first variant packaged as apricot crumble crunch, and the second as cranberry and granola.

Both products contain ingredients that hijack a healthy appeal, pieces of fruit and doses of oats.

According to Cadbury, the flavours were selected from nearly 200 different flavour combinations, with the final choice following "extensive consumer insight and expert experimentation".

A €2.46m media campaign entitled 'Loving Combinations' will back the official product launch next week in the UK, that comes some 80 years after the firm launched its first combination, Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut.

Cadbury, shunted off the number one global confectionery slot last month with the Wrigley-Mars merger, will be looking to reap more gains with these latest launches.

"Cadbury Dairy Milk continues to be the number one chocolate brand in the UK, worth over £370m in retail sales value. The launch of the new [variants] is expected to build on this success by offering new and exciting combinations and driving incremental sales for retailers,"​ says Kate Harding, trade communications manager at Cadbury.

Elsewhere, data from market trackers Mintel shows the growing appeal of other formulators to absorb health-boosting fruit into the chocolate mix. And within the sector, nowhere is this more evident than in the burgeoning premium chocolate market.

Despite the fact that food inflation continues to gather pace in the eurozone, consumers in the shopping aisles seem to display a keen desire for in-house treats as they spend less eating and drinking outside the home.

And a batch of recent evidence suggests that chocolate makers with their eyes firmly set on premium chocolate brands, and products with a health and wellness twist, could very well tap into the change in spending patterns.

Research from market analysts Mintel published last month reveals that key to growth in the dark chocolate segment is the mushrooming consumer desire for a slice of luxury, that sees chocolate aficionados actually buying less, but splashing out on more premium varieties when they do make a purchase.

"Even though people are still cutting back on the amount of chocolate they eat, sales in the two years to 2007 saw no less than a 10 per cent increase in value,"​ states the Mintel report.

A figure that amply shades a mere 1 per cent growth between 2003 and 2005.

And Mintel predicts this healthy growth rate will continue its steep curve this year, with a further five per cent growth expected in 2008 alone, pushing the British chocolate market to £2.23bn in value by the end of the year.

"And these trends will continue to help stem the chocolate market meltdown, with sales of all chocolate set for a further 17 per cent growth in the five years to 2013,"​ adds the 'Chocolate confectionery' report.

Recent launches that slot into this profile include a limited edition summer release in Finland and Italy by Swiss firm Lindt, which brought its chocolate tablet 'Lindt Chocoletti Dark Chocolate with Passion Fruit & Blood Orange Filling' to market. Also available in the range are coconut, and strawberry-rhubarb flavours.

Elsewhere, confectioner Frey extended its chocolate tablet range under its Suprême brand in the German market. The company now offers dark chocolate, which contains a 'creamy panna cotta-raspberry' filling and is retailed in a 100g pack.

Spanish firm Casa Eceiza plugs into fruit with a nut mix, launching in June its 'Momentos De Pasión Praliné de Pistacio y Fruta de la Pasión', a chocolate bar that sees pistachio praline fused with passionfruit.

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