Nestlé has axed its largest Christmas selection packs, blaming commoditisation and mounting promotional pressure.

The confectioner said retailer overuse of multibuys on selection packs had stripped the market of value and excitement.

The number of supermarket promotions on Christmas selection packs from Nestlé, Mars and Cadbury had increased over the past three years, from 46 in 2009 to 108 in 2011 [BrandView]. The depth of deals had also risen each year, from an average saving of 28.5% in 2009 to 35.9%.

Nestlé said families with older children were leaving the selection pack market and that it was cutting its selection pack range from four to two: a small and a medium pack aimed at families with younger children.

It was hoping to add value and “specialness” to the market by replacing its large selection pack with a Santa’s sack, a red fabric sack containing eight bars (rsp: £3.99), it added.

Among Nestlé’s other product activity is a new-look for Quality Street, Matchmakers, Aero Christmas Tree and My Purple Bar, and the reintroduction of the After Eight Collection last seen in the 1990s (rsp: £3.99).

Kraft, which is introducing two large Cadbury selection boxes this year (rsp: £3.99) insisted promotions could boost sales if used carefully. “We evaluate the impact to ensure the incremental category sales they drive exceed any devaluation of existing category sales,” said a spokesman. “However retailers are free to choose their own promotions.”