Choc bunny

Easter product trends in 2012

“More products, less packaging” is the nub of Easter confectionery trends. Globally, the number of Easter chocolate product introductions grew 45 percent in 2012 compared with the year prior, according to Mintel.

Despite everyday chocolate introductions being down seven percent worldwide between 2010 and 2011, the researcher says seasonal chocolate launches increased six percent during the same period.

A quarter of all global chocolate launches in 2011 were for seasonal items, according to Mintel. In terms of sales, seasonal chocolates accounted for $4.9 billion in the US during 2011, an increase of 6.4 percent compared with the year prior.

The US has the most seasonal product launches with 18 percent, followed by the UK with 12 percent and Germany with 10 percent, Mintel says. Canada experienced the biggest increase in seasonal activity, growing 89 percent between 2010 and 2011.

Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight for Mintel Food and Drink, says: “Seasonal chocolate is, if anything, more ‘recession resistant’ than the overall market, as the products have broad appeal as gifts for a wide range of recipients, from friends to relatives and co-workers. Easter has consistently led other holidays in innovation — and in sales — as it is a holiday with a strong affinity for confectionery through gift baskets, egg hunts and other family-focused traditions.”

While seasonal launches have increased, the number of new items aimed at children between the ages of 5 to 12 declined 62 percent during 2011, the researcher says.

What about packaging?

Leatherhead Food Research analyst Jonathan Thomas says “There is evidence of a trend towards using less packaging for Easter eggs – for example, Cadbury now produces a range of Dairy Milk-branded Easter eggs which have no boxes.“

Mintel’s Mogelonsky adds that the drive for sustainable packaging was continuing. For example, Nestle recently announced that it had made its entire Easter egg range 100% recyclable by using recyclable cardboard and compostable film.

However, a UK Liberal Democrat MP, Jo Swinson, remains unimpressed and contends that many Easter eggs remained over-packaged and unrecyclable.

Her comments were based on the MP’s annual Easter Egg Packaging report that found chocolate only took up 38% of the surface area in egg boxes, which was the same figure as last year. 

According to Mintel’s Mogelonsky, wrapping in the UK has been “pared down”.

“Easter confections in that market are starting to bear a close resemblance to those from the US, where the exuberant packaging that has a market in UK and Brazilian products does not really exist,”she said.

“A number of companies have moved to ‘elegant’ gold foil wrapping, emulating Lindt’s iconic Gold Bunny,” Mogelonsky continued.

Lindt said in its recently published 2011 Annual Report that it would be investing “large sums of money” to boost the presence of its Gold Bunny product over the crucial Easter period. [And very evident in SA’s leading retailers. Ed.]

Luvabubble LambLeatherhead Food Research notes the success of novelty confectionery items in its recent ‘Innovations in the Global Confectionery Market’ report.

It says that Aero Luvabubble Lamb from Nestlé, launched in 2010, now had sales approaching £3m and new varieties, such as mint had been added. 

Packaging trends are not limited to eggs. Other innovations include new product launches in share-bags.

Leatherhead, for example, points to Kraft’s Crème Egg Splats, which were launched at the end of 2011 for the bite-sized chocolate sector.