Mars aims to reverse the fortunes of the struggling "self-eat" category this Christmas by introducing a seasonal line, as well as other adjustments to its 2007 Christmas offerings, which it revealed this week.
Galaxy Mistletoe Kisses, described as "a little indulgence", comprises three pieces of embossed chocolate filled with chocolate mousse and caramel. The limited-edition line, aimed at women aged 25 to 40, will be available to the trade from 15 August (rsp: 55p).
"Galaxy is a strong brand and it is performing really well," said Christmas brand manager Laura Hamilton. "Our research identified that though the self-eat category is experiencing double-digit decline, the main reason is a lack of innovation."
Sales of traditional Christmas chocolate grew by 0.9% year-on-year, [IRI, 16 w/e 30 December] though the impulse channel fell 3.6% compared with a lift of 2% in value for grocery.
Mars bucked the trend in impulse with 30% value growth, according to the company, and it believes Mistletoe Kisses offers a big opportunity for the impulse sector.
"By investing in Mistletoe Kisses, Mars will help drive growth in the £4m self-eat category," said trade relations manager, Andrea Taylor. "With the Galaxy brand name behind it we are confident we will grow this category in 2007."
The brand will also benefit from a £15m investment by Mars for the Galaxy portfolio throughout 2007.
Mars will also be putting Mars Planets, which were launched earlier this year, into some of its Christmas Selection packs and its tubes range. It will be joined by M&M's Peanut.
As part of its Christmas gifts portfolio, Mars has created a new winter design for its Maltesers large bucket, a screwtop Maltesers ball (rsp: £3.99); and a Galaxy gift pack (£3.99).
The company will also be investing £1.6m in TV advertising to flag up the 10th birthday of Celebrations in the run up to Christmas.