The chocolate category continues to see strong growth, up 9.8% in independents, according to the latest data from SalesOut. This growth is currently above that recorded in the independent sector as a whole, which is running at 6.6% (52 weeks MAT) in SalesOut's sample of more than 11,000 independent stores, 5,000 of which are symbol group members.

Cadbury Dairy Milk 140g is performing extremely well, along with other big block sharing products, which supports the trend for consumers to stay at home to save money in the current economic climate.

Commercial director Steve Collins says: "Confectionery is a vital category in the independent sector, and one that continues to benefit from product innovation.

"It has also benefited recently from a tendency for people to treat themselves during these tough economic times, as has the biscuits category."

Sugar confectionery is also performing well with 8.4% growth overall, and six of the top 20 sellers are growing even faster than this.

The success of Rowntree Randoms continues, becoming the third biggest-selling product after only a year on the market. Haribo's top performers are growing steadily, with Starmix leading the way with the biggest growth in the top 20 sellers list, excluding Rowntree Randoms.

The mints & gums category is also in growth (+2.2%) although this is significantly behind the independent sector as a whole. New product development is important in this category, accounting for more than 70% of category growth.

Biscuits continue to perform well at 5.6% growth, but here own label has seen a significant rise in penetration and value, as it supports the need for a treat with the value proposition. Kraft Mikado is a significant new entry, benefiting from its multi-purpose credentials is it a biscuit, or is it confectionery?

To help retailers maximise sales in both of these categories, SalesOut has looked at the key products and trends in chocolate, mints & gums, sugar confectionery and biscuits. Full lists are available to view for biscuits, chocolate, sugar confectionery and mints & gums.