(an advertising supplement) Mars Confectionery Dundee Road Slough SL1 4JX Tel: 01753 550055 Fax: 01753 550111 Key brands Mars bar Snickers Twix Bounty Maltesers Celebrations Galaxy M&M's Starburst Joosters Skittles Milky Way Milky Way Magic Stars Topic Minstrels Ripple Flyte Revels Rispinos Lockets Tunes Tracker A galaxy of choice While many onlookers talk of confectionery being static or even in decline, Mars' 2000/1 report, Sweet Counter, tells a somewhat different story. It notes that the overall market grew 2% last year to around £5.8 billion. "The confectionery market and Mars brands are in great health," says trade relations manager at Mars Confectionery, Sam McElligott defiantly. "Our figures show that the market is in growth, driven primarily by sugar confectionery brands, such as Starburst, which has stimulated consumer demand through innovative line extensions. "Realistically, a market as mature as confectionery ­ particularly chocolate, which the British eat more of than nearly any other nation ­ needs investment in terms of innovation, advertising and promotional support to drive additional sales. "For example, confectionery sales are very responsive to advertising and Mars is one of the biggest spenders on TV. The evidence of the success of this approach is very compelling with five of the top 10 best selling chocolate bars belonging to Mars. The Mars bar itself comes in at number one." Pushing the boundaries She believes that introducing a successful and enduring new brand is about identifying what consumers want and then providing it­ in every format "Extending consumers' favourite brands into new sectors has been tremendously successful in driving sales growth and demonstrates that Mars is providing consumers with what they want," says McElligott. She claims that Mars' launch into the ice cream cabinet has led to sales in the ice cream market doubling in the past 10 years. Meanwhile, Celebrations, which has brought a selection of popular brands to the gift market, was such a success with consumers that it reached No 1 slot in just three years and has grown the twist-wrap sector by 20%. And Starburst has seen an uplift in sales of 22% over the past year since it introduced a new variety of sugar confectionery under the brand name. "People want the brands they know and trust," says McElligott. "Just look at the top selling chocolate bars ­ between them they have around 500 years worth of heritage. A strong brand means something to consumers ­ a certain taste, maybe, or good quality ­ and when a new product reaches the shelf, consumers are reassured by the security of a familiar brand name. "When we develop new products we understand that strong brands are what people want. For retailers that's what counts ­ give people what they want and you increase sales." Shaping the offer Notwithstanding shifting demographics and an ageing population, Mars is keeping up with demand. "Changing demographics is not the problem, failing to respond to them is!" says McElligott. The company conducts regular research to find out what changing lifestyles mean to its offer. Mars Five Little Ones ­ the new format for the best-selling chocolate bar ­ was a result of just such research. Celebrations was a lucky strike. "Miniaturising family favourites was a great way to encourage consumers to buy a box of chocolates for themselves or friends to share and not just limit the gift box to the special occasion," says McElligott. "There are, of course, gift boxes which are designed for the special occasion and we believe that this area needs shaking up. The recent introductions of Galaxy Silk and Bounty Calapuno are both high quality boxed chocolates with an indulgent image, but at an accessible price." {{Z SUPPLEMENTS }}