Novelties and sharing bags - two of the fastest-growing parts of the chocolate market - play major roles in the big three confectioners’ plans for next Easter.

Nestlé’s Easter line-up features new novelties including the Smarties Little Choc Chick - a hollow milk chocolate chick filled with mini Smarties (rsp: 65p). A mint version of the Aero Luvabubble Lamb is also being added to the seasonal line-up, together with an Aero Lamb Giant Egg - a large hollow chocolate egg with four peppermint lambs (rsp: £7.49).

Innovation was becoming increasingly important to spring confectionery, the company said, adding that about 60% of its Easter 2012 range was either new or revamped. “Innovation accounted for 9% of total sales in Easter 2011, compared with 5% the previous year,” added Nestlé UK trade communications manager Graham Walker. 

Mars has also targeted the burgeoning novelties market by extending the Galaxy Bubbles brand it launched in a bar format in February 2010. The Galaxy Bubbles filled egg (rsp: 44p) is a chocolate shell around a bubbly centre. The company is also launching a pack of Galaxy Caramel filled mini eggs designed for sharing (rsp: £1.19).

Kraft also has the sharing market in its sights as it looks to tap the UK bitesize segment, which rose 6.4% in the past year to £308m [Nielsen 52w/e 15 October 2011]. It is extending the Cadbury Creme Egg brand with the launch of Cadbury Creme Egg Splats - small chocolate shapes filled with Creme Egg goo (rsp: £1.99/165g sharing bag). 

The company is supporting the Cadbury Mini Eggs brand from next March with its first TV push since the early 1990s. Mini Eggs, which rose 11.2% in value last Easter to £24.6m [Nielsen 1 January to 23 April 2011], are also rolling out in a larger 195g sharing pack for Easter. 

Cadbury is also giving Easter an olympic twist next year with the launch of the Cadbury Dairy Milk Medal Egg, a large chocolate egg that comes with a milk chocolate medal.