UK chocolate value sales dropped 0.4% for the 52 weeks ending 16 August this year to £2.52bn ($3.95bn), the research firm's data showed.
Some brands such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, Maltesers and Kinder still registered year-on-year sales growth, but sales of other brands, including Kit Kat, Mars and Snickers, plummeted.
Mondelez’s Dairy Milk bags the lead with share packs
“Dairy Milk is growing because of sharing bags,” Richard Anderson, senior insights manager at IRI told ConfectioneryNews.
“An increase in promotions and new launches such as Marvellous Mixups have really contributed to the brand growth. The brand has also increased sales of seasonal variants for Easter and Christmas, partly driven by a longer Easter period this year.”
Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Jelly Popping Candy by Mondelēz performed above the market average in the first half of the year. Dairy Milk has profited sharing pack formats. Mondelez recently launched a Cadbury Dairy Milk carton containing bite-size chocolate chunks for Christmas to capitalize further on the segment. Dairy Milk sales grew 3.5% for the period to £491m ($768m).
Top 10 bestselling UK chocolate brands
[Source: IRI - value sales data for ‘integrated snack outlets’, which includes supermarkets, convenience stores, independent grocers, petrol statons and independent off licenses.]
Downsizing repercussions for Mars
Mars had a more challenging time. Maltesers sales grew 6%, but Mars bar and Snickers dropped 14.4% and 18.1% respectively as sales were outstripped by Ferrero’s Kinder brand.
“Mars and Snickers are declining in both singles and multipacks formats,” said Anderson.
“The multipack formats are in decline due to bar sizes being reduced, and the move from four packs to three packs but maintaining the promotional price point of £1. This has led to significantly lower promotional uplifts for the brands, and a move more recently to 3 packs + 1 bar free for £1 in an attempt to recapture the old pack and price point.”
Portion and pricing control
Mars UK said late last year that it had exhausted reformulation options for Mars and Snickers bars and was left with no choice but to cut portion sizes to meet a 250 calorie cap on single-serve chocolates, which it signed up to under the UK Government’s Responsibility Deal.
The Mars bar went from 58 g to 51 g, and a Snickers bar from 58 g to 48 g, while the 51p ($0.83) price stayed static.
Mondelez has employed the same tactics for Cadbury Dairy Milk, but more time has passed since it last downsized. In late 2012, Cadbury Dairy Milk switched to rounded shape chunks, reducing the size from 49 g to 45 g, but keeping the price the same.