Blog: How the downturn has soured UK confectionery sales
Dean Best | 5 November 2012
Even confectionery, long seen as one of the food sectors more resilient to economic pressure, has seen sales take a hit in recent months, according to data coming out of SymphonyIRI.
That bar of chocolate or bag of sweets, touted as an affordable treat for cash-strapped consumers, is not being reached for as often, the analyst firm said today.
For the 36 week period up to 1 September, volume sales of confectionery in the UK dropped 1.3% compared to the same period in the previous year, SymphonyIRI said. The fall was the second-highest decrease across food categories, it said.
In value terms, sales were up 1.3%, driven by price increases. That said, SymphonyIRI noted, the price of confectionery is rising at the slowest rate when compared to other categories. The percentage of confectionery sales on promotion is up - from 64% a year ago to 66%.
Tim Eales, director of strategic insights at SymphonyIRI, said: "As price inflation continues and incomes are squeezed, shoppers are forced to cut back on non-essential items. In the past we have always seen them save a little for a treat but now even the treats are being rationed. This may be combined with a desire by consumers for a healthier lifestyle."
Just a quick glance in local stores, show the range of promotions confectioners are using to entice shoppers. SymphonyIRI notes an increase in the use by confectioners of off-shelf promos.
"There is evidence that off-shelf often achieves better uplifts and is more efficient for retailers, who are choosing to place more products on them to maximise their effect," it said.
One example is that used in my local Co-op by Mars, which itself is plugging a promotion across its chocolate portfolio that gives shoppers the chance to win a free bar if they buy a Mars, Twix etc. It comes across as a promotion used by a company very keen to drive volumes.
So what is the reason for the dip in confectionery sales? Is it price? Is it health? Is it a relative lack of innovation (Cadbury execpted) coming out of the category?
Growing demand for organic foods in the US is propelling sales in the sector. Organic products are moving from their niche to gain mainstream traction. Penetration is high - more than 80% of families ...
The health story of 2014 has been the debate over the impact sugar has on obesity. The issue hit the headlines in January and has stayed there, with only yesterday a study published in the UK calling ...
With demand for gluten-free on the rise, retailers in a number of countries have been building ranges of products to capitalise on a significant growth spot in challenging trading conditions. In the U...
France's fifth- and sixth-largest retailers, Auchan and Système U, are to team up on buying - with the companies to work together when dealing with international brands....
- M&A Watch: Why Danone/Lifeway deal could be next
- just-food's pick: Natural Products Expo top 10
- Sustainability Watch: WhiteWave Foods
- Shopper trends: Some confidence but promos popular
- ConAgra confident private-label will improve
- General Mills Q1 profits tumble
- Sales, operating profit up at Quorn Foods
- WhiteWave to buy dairy-free firm So Delicious
- Campbell launches soups for use in dishes
- Arla: New Vigor deal to boost our Brazil presence