Sainsbury ’s own-label chocolate eggs are going head-to-head with the major brands this Easter.

The retailer has this year launched five own-label eggs aimed at the core Easter market of medium-sized eggs. The products are a similar size to some of the top-selling branded eggs (see table), but have been selling for about £1, undercutting them on price by as much as 50p.

Easter egg tables

“Easter is a massively competitive time,” said Sainsbury’s head of own brand product development Susi Richards, “We’ve decided to do things differently - we’re absolutely going to take on the big brands.”

As part of the push, Sainsbury’s has ramped up the proportion of own-label eggs. According to data, own label accounted for less than 9% of the retailer’s range of 150 confectionery eggs last Easter - this year the range has dropped to 136 lines, but more than 16% of them are own label.

One new Sainsbury’s egg features Eric the Elephant, who appears on many of its own-label confectionery products, and Sainsbury’s has cut the number of licensed character products in its eggs range this year.

Bon Bon Buddies, one of the major suppliers of licensed eggs, has seen its Sainsbury’s Easter listings fall from 19 lines in 2013 to five this year.

“This reduction is in response to us working closely with the retailer to ensure we are delivering the right range of products to meet customers’ demands,” said Bon Bon Buddies sales and marketing director Graham Dyer, who added that overall demand for his company’s Easter character confectionery was up 7% year on year. “Character confectionery still has an important role to play.”