Mars has leapt to fifth place as it pushes promos in support of recent NPD but Cadbury is maintaining high levels of activity too, says Alex Beckett

Cadbury and Nestlé were the biggest-promoting brands over Easter, but Mars has stormed into fifth spot over the past month as it ramps up activity in support of a raft of recent NPD [Assosia 4w/e 12 April].

Promo-backed spring NPD from Mars includes the relaunch of Galaxy Counters, a new sharing pack for Milky Way Magic Stars and new Galaxy Bubbles. As a result, Mars recorded the second biggest month-on-month increase in activity of all the brands, up 47.4%

Unlike its rivals, the bulk of Mars' recent promotional activity had not been limited to chocolate eggs, said a Mars spokeswoman.

"While our promotional activity has not centred around our Easter range we believe our marketing and promotional activity is a key way to engage with consumers and retailers alike," she said.

With a whopping 421 promotions, Cadbury still accounts for more than double the number of deals of second-placed Nestlé. Kay Staniland, MD of Assosia, suggested this was down to Cadbury having more SKUs than its competitors. Nestlé fares better in terms of saving, however, with a 31.5% average saving compared with Cadbury's 28.4%.

Although the three confectioners helped impulse retain top spot as the most promoted category, they are each running noticeably fewer deals than last year.

With one less deal than Mars, Müller charged up to sixth position despite its warning in last week's Focus On that promotions could potentially constrain future value growth in yoghurts and pot desserts. Along with McVitie's, Birds Eye was the only brand to have lowered the number of deals over the past month, by a hefty 17.1%. This is in contrast to frozen rival Young's, which boasted 52% more offers.

Despite McVitie's drop of two places, it was the biggest exponent of half-price deals over the period. The mechanic was the most popular form of promotion last month, with bogofs close behind.

Amid the fanfare of its new Walkers Flavour Cup campaign, Walkers also re-entered the top 10, while Kellogg's had the same number of deals as last month.

Behind ambient confectionery, wine was the biggest promoted sub-category and Hardys had the biggest saving with 49.6%.

Following David Cameron's broadside this week on supermarkets' cut-price deals on alcohol, Carlsberg slipped out of the top 10 in what could be seen as good news for brewers who are seeking to move away from a reliance on multibuy promotions.