Nestlé has a sleighful of NPD and packaging innovations to excite consumers this Christmas. 

The popularity of confectionery during the festive period continues to grow, and in 2017 the category sold more than ever before with £24.6m more value sales than in 2016, states Nestlé. Sales in the early part of the Christmas season were key to this, accounting for £18m of the growth [IRI & KantarWorldPanel 20 w/e 31st Dec 2017].

Within treats, Milkybar Polar Bear will be joined by three new characters – a snowman, a seal and a snowy owl. Whilst the milk chocolate Smarties Penguin, complete with mini Smarties inside, will be joined by Rudolph, a robin and Santa (all rrp 65p). Each Milkybar Winter Friends outer will contain all four festive designs, as will each Smarties Winter Friends outer. Each outer has been reduced in width by 12% to improve efficiency on shelf for retailers.

The total novelty market is worth £71m [IRI Novelties Value Sales 12/04/2018]. The firm has launched 100g Milkybar and Smarties dress-up hollow chocolate figures (rp £2.55). The Milkybar Polar Bear character is dressed either as a superhero complete with detachable cape, or a ballerina complete with detachable tutu, whilst the Smarties penguin comes complete with a detachable brightly coloured bow tie. Nestlé says 70% of mums said they would buy them.

New for 2018 is the Orange Smarties Giant Tube (rrp £1.38), while Smarties, Milkybar and Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles Giant Tubes have been redesigned to be more Christmassy.

Twistwrap remains a key Christmas confectionery category for retailers, generating over £220 million and accounting for 28% of all sales, claims Nestlé. Twistwrap attracts over 50% of shoppers during the seasonal period, with 52% of households buying into the category (over 14 million households), notes the firm. In 2017, it claims Twistwrap grew more than it has done for the previous five years with value and volume sales up 6% [IRI Scantrack – 20 WE 31.12.17]. According to Nestlé, Quality Street has brought in more incremental shoppers to the category than any other brand, with 80% of shoppers and £6m in incremental sales [Kantar World Panel Online 20 WE 30.12.17].

In 2017 sales of the Quality Street 720g tub (rrp £7.74) grew by 11% and this year the tub has been revamped with an improved assortment and now features even more chocolatey sweets and fewer toffees and cremes. It remains the heaviest tub in the market. 

In addition, the Quality Street 1.2kg Tin (rrp £8.99) will launch its fourth edition of collectable festive designs. Last Christmas, sales of the tin grew 10% as it drove category value and brought in younger consumers to the brand.

This Christmas the brand will once again be supported by a high profile communications campaign. Last year, TV advertising reached 17 million people and social media channels connected with 16 million.

What’s more, the brand is launching a premium advent calendar (rrp £5), containing two of every sweet. The advent calendar category has grown by 45% over the past five years, with premium advent sales almost trebling [IRI – Advent Value £ sales 20 WE 31.12.17 vs 5YA].

Another newcomer to calendars is the Smarties 3D Advent Calendar pack (rrp £10) containing four different Smarties products, from mini cartons to twist-wrapped chocolate characters.

Nestlé is also introducing a clock tower-shaped After Eight Advent Calendar (rrp £10). It features seven different individually wrapped sweets, five of which are brand new .

Boxed chocolates is the biggest segment at Christmas, worth £374m and covering three main consumer needs: sharing, gifting and after dinner, claims Nestlé. The category continues to increase in value in the long and short-term [IRI InfoScan 20 Weeks to 30-Dec-17].

The firm is launching two Kitkat Senses packs especially for Christmas. With an eye-catching Christmas tree shaped design, the first new pack contains the three Kitkat Senses flavours, with 24 chocolates in total (rrp £4.99). The second pack is suitable as a stocking filler or tree decoration; it contains five chocolates also with a mix of all three flavours (rrp £1.49). The brand will be back on TV in the build up to Christmas as part of a £7 million campaign across 2018.

Dairy Box and Black Magic both have additional Temptations boxes (rrp £1) added to their ranges. Dairy Box Temptations include milk chocolates in orange sensation, nutty truffle and dreamy fudge flavours; whilst Black Magic Temptations contain midnight truffle, orange sensation, dreamy fudge and raspberry heaven dark chocolates.