Nestle Confectionery UK managing director Paul Grimwood is quoted as saying: “Confectionery is seen as an enjoyable treat and we have not seen any effect from the credit crunch in the UK. Christmas is always competitive but we are confident we can hold our own in a tough environment.”
The company said that much of the gain is on the back of its highly successful Kit Kat brand, which it says is the fastest-growing confectionery brand in the UK and responsible for almost a quarter of its UK sales. Kit Kat sales are up 18 per cent this year, in a national confectionery market which has grown by three per cent in the year to date.
This still leaves Nestle in third position in the UK market behind bestselling Cadbury and Mars.
Nestle has cut 70 per cent of its confectionery lines since Grimwood took over as confectionery manager in December 2005, in an effort to concentrate on its seven most successful brands: Kit Kat, Aero, Smarties, Milky Bar, After Eight, Quality Street and Rowntrees.
In the UK market meanwhile, Cadbury’s sales are up 0.2 per cent, to 26.8 per cent, while Mars, which took over Wrigley earlier this year as the world’s largest confectionery group, saw its UK market share fall 0.3 per cent, to 19.1 per cent, according to Nielsen figures. Nielsen values the UK confectionery market at £4.5 billion.
Nestle’s confectionery sales for the first nine months of 2008 stood at CHF8.7bn (approximately €5.6bn at today’s rates), up from CHF8.4bn (€5.4bn) for the same period last year.