UK: Nestlé: climbing aboard the shrink-the-size bandwagon (COMMENT)
Nestlé Rowntree is entering the bite-sized sector with the launch of Kit Kat Kubes. Over the last few years, there has been a proliferation of bite-sized innovations at a time when consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about health and well-being. However, with small sizes that take the guilt out of eating, brands can capitalise on those consumers who are struggling to act upon their well-meaning aspirations.
Although still at the planning stage, the 'big launch' of Kit Kat Kubes is expected to be in October. This coincides nicely with the Christmas period when sales of bite-sized confectioneries do particularly well. One of the sizes on offer is expected to be a cube shaped gift box especially for Christmas, although the project rollout will involve several size formats.
As with the launch of Kit-Kat Chunky, Nestlé is again squaring up to Mars, which is regarded as a market leader in the bite-sized market.
News of Nestlé's venture follows a similar announcement from Fox's Biscuits, which, supported by a "multi million pound" marketing campaign, is soon to be introducing a mini version of the Rocky brand.
It is perhaps no surprise that manufacturers and retailers are latching on to the bite-size phenomenon. Not only is snacking an increasing source of consumers' daily food intake, consumers across Europe are increasingly conscious of their calorie intake. Bite-sized products provide the opportunity for controlled self indulgence, removing the guilt associated with traditional full-sized chocolate bars.
However, the strong sales performance of such products suggests consumers could well be deceiving themselves – by actually eating and spending more.
The proliferation of bite-sized innovations comes at a time when the population of Europe is growing fatter. Only 1% of the 230.6 million people across Europe who attempted a diet in 2002 achieved permanent weight loss. This is because the vast majority of consumers diet sporadically; 32% find it just too hard.
With confectionery manufacturers employing techniques that continue to melt consumer will power it seems likely that consumers will continually seek out dietary products advice. If Nestlé can successfully manipulate consumers' feelings of guilt, it is likely that Kit Kat Kubes will establish a strong presence in a growing market.
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