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Creating a spectacle in store has always been important at Halloween. But the introduction of HFSS rules last October – banning salty, sugary and fatty treats from impulse spots in store – has posed a challenge for retailers.

“HFSS has introduced limitations on where and how confectionery can be sold. So, it’s become even more important to get visibility at Halloween,” says Mark Roberts, trade marketing director at Perfetti Van Melle.

Last year, free-standing floor displays helped the supplier shift Fruitella and Chupa Chups lines, Roberts adds. But an all-in approach from retailers tends to have the biggest impact at this time of year.

“The retailers that do best are the ones that make the event their key focus and effectively make their seasonal aisles one-stop shops for everything Halloween,” Roberts says. This means pumpkins, fancy dress, baked goods and “of course, confectionery”.

With household budgets still tight, pricing is yet another key concern for suppliers during the season of the witch.

“Halloween is the UK’s third biggest retail event in the confectionery calendar, and retailers can maximise sales uplift by ensuring they stock affordable products suitable for both parties and trick-or-treat occasions,” says Phil Hulme, commercial director for Kervan Gida.

Then there’s the matter of formats, notes Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Mondelez, with treat-size and pouches her recommended choices.

But Halloween shopping isn’t just about sweets. Booze is a key category for retailers hoping to increase adult spending, especially since beer, wine and spirits can use impulse space denied to sugary treats.

“Adults want a part of the action too, and themed alcohol is an easy way for retailers to grow sales,” says Nicola Randall, head of marketing at Brothers Cider – which had “an extremely successful Halloween” last year. Volumes grew 58% in October 2022 compared to the previous month [Kantar 4 w/e 30 October 2022].

This was down in large part to Brothers always ensuring its Toffee Apple cider is prominent in stores around Halloween, Randall explains. “We support grocers and independents with in-store media, shelf barkers, wobblers and aisle fins.” It’s a strategy that clearly bewitches plenty of shoppers.

How can Halloween be more sustainable?