The top ten confectionery bars may have been around for ?years, but their age hasn't precluded a lot of comings and goings. It's a category where companies are eager to please and stretch their brands into new areas.

A look back ?at six years ago ?(23 September) gives an idea of the ?areas where manufacturers were extending their brands?. Some ?have stood the test of time but many ?have gone to the increasingly well-populated confectionery graveyard. These include Suchard Evocations, After Eight Truffles, Starburst Smilers, Snowflake and Milkybar Choo, to name but a few.

Yet, despite efforts to add excitement to the category, signs were that it was not as invincible as people had once believed.

After decades of growth, the total market was down in value by 2.8%, according to TNS, with chocolate down 1.5% and sugar confectionery in steep decline at 7.8%. In fact, gum was one of the few sectors showing any growth, up 2.2%.

The advent of mobile phones (which have continued to grow in popularity?) and Pokémon cards w?ere ?blamed for falling sales? by Philip Jenkins, MD of wholesaler Sugro UK.

He said ?that youngsters were spending their pocket money on these items rather than ?sweets. "Pokémon is a fashion and will eventually disappear. Mobile phone? cards are more worrying because they are here to stay," he warned.

His sentiment was supported by Cadbury Trebor Bassett. Trade channel manager Veronic Winn ?said: "As people are spending extra money on them, they have less to spend on confectionery.""

It wasn't all bad news, though. In sugar confectionery the UK was just starting to acquire its now full-blown love ?of sour sweets, a craze that began in the US. In 2000, an increasing number of companies had added sour variants to their ranges.