Shoppers want more than just basic chocolate rabbits

By: Szalai László Date: 2024. 03. 04. 11:38

This article is available for reading in Trade magazin 2024/2-3

Easter confectionery wasn’t exempt from last year’s general food market trends: the encouraging growth of previous years has come to a halt, with a few percent decline in volume sales.

Less impulsive shoppers in stores

Ágnes Katona
brand and trade
(seasonal products)
Nestlé Hungária

“The price-sensitiveness of consumers reached the category of Easter products too by 2023, because of which basket sizes reduced and shoppers began downtrading. Plus the category has lost its impulsiveness as well”, says Ágnes Katona, brand and trade manager (seasonal products) of Nestlé Hungária Kft.

As for retail channels, more than 50% of sales are realised in hypermarkets and discounters. Hollow products still account for two thirds of sales.

Packs still have potential

Changing habits are quite bad for Easter, as fewer and fewer families are keeping the traditions – many go on a trip or relax over the Easter long weekend. Confectionery firms have to adapt to this.

Molnár Pál - Szerencsi

Pál Molnár
commercial director
Szerencsi Bonbon

“On the retail side, many chains are entering the market with fewer items, as they want to realise higher sales with the ‘less is more’ strategy, and they are wary of new products”, says Pál Molnár, commercial director of Szerencsi Bonbon Kft.

He believes that there is still potential in packs and various playful products. Traditional bunnies and eggs are already performing moderately well, while candies are in a declining trend. Purchasing power and consumer confidence are also plunging.

Focus on visibility

Nestlé’s ambition is to focus their 2024 innovations on one brand, more precisely on the segments where growth potential is visible. Several Nestlé products have been included in the 2023 Top 10 innovation list, including the SMARTIES Easter plush pack bundle and KITKAT caramel flavour mini filled eggs. When it comes to seasonal products, maximising visibility remains key for Nestlé, whether it is ATL or BTL communication.

Success products and new innovations

Szerencsi Bonbon Kft. believes that both success products and new innovations are needed for a good market performance. For them the real success products in 2023 were – besides 20g eggs and 50g rabbits – the egg dragée and the half-egg jelly, as well as the one of a kind Okostojás 20g milk chocolate that contains Omega3. In 2024 the ZERO milk chocolate rabbit and eggs and the packs made with them will be added to the seasonal selection. ZERO products are made from milk chocolate with sweetener instead of sugar.

Special is attractive

Péter Csóll
owner-managing director

Stühmer Kft.’s experience is that customers tend to look for smaller value (HUF 600-1,500) and medium-sized products at Easter.

“It is mainly the specialities (e.g. figures, marzipan eggs) that catch shopper attention”, says Péter Csóll, owner and managing director of Stühmer Kft. Demand for dark chocolate products is growing, while the dessert category is disappearing completely. //

Volume sales dropped in the Easter confectionery market

Guest writer:
Dominika Pataki
jr. analytic insights associate

According to the NIQ retail index, there has been a significant increase in the value sales of Easter sweets in March-April 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. A total of HUF 8bn worth of seasonal treats landed in shopping baskets, which was a 17% increase compared to March-April 2022. In volume sales there was a 6% drop, with slightly less than 1,000 tonnes of sweets bought. Branded products were responsible for 79% of value sales.

Chocolates rabbits continued to dominate, with over 400 tonnes of chocolate rabbits purchased for nearly HUF 4bn, accounting for 46% of total sales. As for product ingredients, milk chocolates are the best-selling: they generated more than HUF 7bn and nearly 90% of value sales in March-April 2023. Dark chocolate confectionery lost 1 percentage point of its market share, decreasing to 5%. Unfilled sweets accounted for three quarters of value sales. //

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