Sir, I read with interest your article on confectionery pricing ('Chocolate giants push up prices of key brands', 2 October).

As a 17-strong chain of specialist confectionery cash & carries, price increases such as these are very significant for Hancocks and indeed our customers. However, I would not go as far as the wholesaler quoted who suggested that confectionery is becoming "a luxury item".

Far from it. Throughout the recession, confectionery has remained a strong category and yet the most significant growth has been seen at the value and own-label end of the market.

While core brands remain important, price hikes will only strengthen the opportunity for independent retailers to add a bigger "value" range to their shelves.

The array of value and own-label products has grown significantly at Hancocks, strong sales confirming that we assure retailers of good quality products, packaged and presented attractively.

Our 'share bag' range of £1 sweet bags has soared during 2010 and our recently extended range of £1 sweet tubes are set to be one of the biggest winners during the festive season.

Hancocks is currently developing a number of value chocolate ranges it seems the timing could not be more perfect given these price hikes and it will give Hancocks' customers another feather in their cap!

Mark Watson, MD, Hancocks Cash and Carry