Confectionery leading product launch activity
Innova Market Insights (www.innovadatabase,com) has reported that confectionery was the leading food and drinks sector in terms of global launch activity in the first half of 2011.
This comes in spite of the industry having had a rough ride in 2010 as a result of rising prices in the wake of increasing raw material costs, particularly for cocoa and sugar. Many markets saw static or falling volumes, with value rises mainly reflecting these price rises and manufacturers, in many instances, had to rely on ongoing product and promotional activity to maintain competitiveness. In the face of this, new product activity levels continued to gain momentum, building on the record global launch numbers recorded for confectionery in 2010. The first half of 2011 had a further rise in comparison with the same period for 2010.
Chocolate continues to dominate in confectionery, both in terms of market value and of launch activity, with chocolate accounting for over two-thirds of the confectionery launches tracked by Innova Market Insights in the first half of 2011. Sugar confectionery was next with just under 30%, then chewing gum with 5%. The chewing gum sector has had some difficult years after a buoyant period in the mid-2000’s. There are now signs that it is starting to recover, with rising launch numbers and some success in terms of product activity over the past year or so. Most notably, this has been with lifestyle products, particularly sugar-free and mouth-freshening gums, in convenient formats designed to appeal through groundbreaking flavours, packaging and graphics.
Launches of particular interest over the past few months include Australia’s first approved fortified sugar-free gum in the form of Wrigley’s Extra Professional Calcium; a three-layer chewing gum under the Mentos 3 name in France including a mint and liquorice variant; and Kraft/Cadbury’s Trident Vitality range of enriched gums in Awaken, Vigorate and Rejuve variants in the USA.
Meanwhile, in the chocolate confectionery market, brand extensions continue to dominate activity, with Nestlé’s Kit Kat particularly active globally. It has seen launches ranging from a candied sweet potato Kit Kat variant in Japan; a boxed Kit Kat Singles variant in Germany and a range of Kit Kat Chunky 3 variants in Australia.
Bite-size chocolates are also featuring strongly, particularly in the UK, with launches such as Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocos and Galaxy Bites. The sharing bags concept is also being heavily exploited in a number of countries, as exemplified by 2011 introductions such as Kit Kat Pop Chocs in the UK, Milka Crispy Snax, Daim Snax and Lila Stars Snax in pouches in Germany and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Drops and Cookies’n’Creme Drops in the USA, featuring two of Hershey’s most popular brands but without the usual candy shell, packaged in resealable pouches.
The award for the most unusual confectionery launch over the period should perhaps go not to the more usual destination of Japan, but this time to the USA, where Coco Preggers, a range of chocolate truffles with added folic acid and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, has been launched by Xan Confections, aimed specifically at pregnant women.
Lu Ann Williams, Research Manager at Innova Market Insights, concludes "The strong product and promotional activity seen in the confectionery sector in the first half of 2011 looks set to continue. The demand for small and relatively inexpensive snacks and ‘treats’ seems unlikely to be radically inhibited by consumer concerns over their finances, or indeed over health and obesity issues, and the confectionery industry remains well-placed to deal with ongoing competition from other snack products."
For further information on the Innova Database, the representative for Australia and New Zealand is Glen Wells.
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