(an advertising supplement) Mr Lucky Bags Ltd Lucky Bag Land Portland Street HanleyStoke-on-Trent ST1 5NG Tel: 01782 268222 Fax: 01782 268121 E-mail: mail@luckybags.com Website: www.luckybags.com Key personnel Marketing Directors Robert Cawley Carl Richardson Key brands Dick Turtle, Trixie, Action Man, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh, Noddy, Rugrats, Cartoon Network, Looney Tunes, Digimon, Toy Story 2, Disney Dinosaur, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Manchester United, Seasonal ranges ­ Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Fizzy novelties range Time to get lucky! "One of the main problems for the confectionery market as a whole is that the dominance of the major players has sanitised the fixture, leaving an insipid choice between chocolate bars and more chocolate bars ­ even if they are now in orange, mint and flavour of the month'," says Carl Richardson, marketing director for Mr Lucky Bags. "Today's children are looking for added value, fun and sophistication in their confectionery purchases." Sophistication, maybe, added value and fun for sure. Which is one of the reasons that Lucky Bags and other surprise products are defying the near stagnant confectionery market and showing sustained growth. Mr Lucky Bags is currently seeing 10% y-o-y. "Mainstream confectionery is having to compete with an ever growing array of added interest products ­ including crisps and snacks, yoghurts and cakes. Just look what's happening in the chilled food sector with added value products and character licensing. Also consider the growth in cereal breakfast bars which are, to all intents and purposes, confectionery," says Richardson. "To stop the rot retailers must widen their scope. There are lots of dynamic can do' companies out there, often ignored, who will go that extra mile." He believes the UK retail industry is chronically short of innovators and risk takers who are prepared to give the new generation shelf space. And he points out that the UK is the third biggest confectionery market in the world. So why are so many brands pan European? "No matter where you are in Europe you see the dominance of the same products. Contrast this with America where there is a massive choice of companies and brands. The constant goal of the multi nationals to simplify and streamline ignores the many niche market opportunities." Not even in the gifting chocolate market, one of the few segments which can claim to have grown confectionery over the past year, is there any sign of serious innovation, says Richardson. "There may be phenomenal growth, but it has nothing to do with having something special ­ in fact, quite the opposite," says Richardson. "In my local supermarket this Christmas it was hard to find anything that wasn't Quality Street, Roses or Celebrations ­ there were bays of them! "Giving a gift implies thoughtfulness and consideration because you are giving to someone special. In fact, receiving one of these ubiquitous brands is more likely to convey the message Oh, that will do'." {{Z SUPPLEMENTS }}