Nestlé is seeking to capitalise further on its successful ‘Not for Girls’ campaign with a limited edition Blokie Bar. Gender specificity in snacks looks set to grow as manufacturers and retailers seek to capitalise on the different nutritional needs and values of men and women. 

The renaming of Yorkie will cover the standard chocolate bar and marks a continuation of Nestlé’s ‘Not for Girls’ campaign. The campaign has proved particularly successful for Nestlé since its inception in 2001 when Yorkie was repositioned as a male confectionery product.

The tongue-in-cheek £3.5m (US$5.8m) campaign claims that girls cannot handle the Yorkie bar. The campaign has a struck a chord with male consumers by using cheeky or provocative phrases, including the slogan ‘Do not feed the birds’ which featured in a poster campaign earlier this year.

The campaign has courted controversy, with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rejecting numerous complaints about its content. Most plaintiffs saw the ads as offensive towards women and believed they reinforced sexist attitudes.

Currently it is not known whether Nestlé plans to repeat the renaming on a rolling basis. It is likely that the company will await consumer feedback and analyse sales performance before signalling further intentions. 

Gender specificity in the marketing of snacking products is not restricted to chocolate. KP Foods recently launched the Real McCoy’s John Smiths Steak and Ale Flavour Ridge Cut Potato Chips in the UK, positioning them as the ‘definitive male snack’. Such limited edition products help to maintain and grow market share, reinforce brand identity and maintain consumer interest.

The confectionery sector has grown increasingly conscious of a ‘gender gap’ in the market. Women are more sensitive to healthy eating, particularly when it comes to snacking, and see chocolate as more of a luxury indulgence.

Women also have different nutritional needs from men – certain vitamins and minerals can support women’s immune systems, promote healthy bones or prevent birth defects. Manufacturers have picked up on this fact and translated it into women-only products such as the LUNA bar. It seems likely that such gender specific targeting will become increasingly common as manufacturers continue to hunt for new niches.

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