It’s worth remembering that it’s not just tea and coffee that consumers want to find on the shelves. The snowy spells through 2010 also encouraged many consumers to reach for creamy warming drink options, as Bugdens’ Dee Dee confirms. “We’ve definitely noticed an increase in sales of winter warmers such as hot chocolate or Horlicks,” she says. “I think mothers or anyone looking after children want to make sure their children are warm so they will buy these things for their kids to have after they’ve been out in the cold all day.”

Susan Nash, Cadbury UK trade communications manager, explains that sales for Cadbury Hot Chocolate went up by 4% during the harsh 2009/2010 winter, in comparison with the equivalent, but milder, 2008/2009 period.

“We have also noticed a pattern of sales increasing if the outside temperature drops below 15°C, and an even further sales spike when the temperature drops below 7°C,” she explains.

She also notes that from the end of 2010 all Cadbury Hot Chocolate packs will be Fairtrade. Through the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership the company will be investing £45m over the next 10 years to secure sustainable cocoa farming in Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean.

The activity is likely to boost Cadbury’s position in the hot chocolate market even further. Sales of Fairtrade hot chocolate are up 22% year on year, according to the Fairtrade Foundation.

And sales of Horlicks are also on the increase, according to director Steph Holland. “Following the success of last year’s campaign, which saw brand sales increase by 17% (according to Nielsen, year to March 2010), this year’s ‘Made for Evenings’ TV ad campaign and on-pack promotion is going to be hugely motivating for consumers.” 

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