?Small is beautiful - at least, that's what Green & Black's is hoping for with its latest venture, a boxed set of miniature versions of its chocolate bars. Available from major supermarkets and department stores, the Miniatures Collection features 12x 25g bars of chocolate, two each of the most popular flavours. The newcomer is to get support from a £1m marketing campaign in the run-up to Christmas, including advertising in national and regional media.
Premium Belgian chocolate brand Guylian is backing its range with a £1.5m pre-Christmas advertising campaign, including TV and press activity. It is also adding 200g and 500g twist-shaped boxes to the range, along with a seasonal Christmas Bell pack that transforms into a dispensing bowl, and 190g and 95g Chocolate Truffle Seashells boxes. It added a truffle variant to its Seashell bar range earlier in the year.
?Anthon Berg has teamed up with liqueur chocolate brand Rémy Martin Cognac this Christmas for a range of fudges. The products, which are available in 250g boxes, target 25+ females buying for boyfriends or husbands.
The Day Chocolate Company has added a mint crisp variant to its Divine Dark Fairtrade range. The new entrant joins the company's existing collection of blends containing dried apricots, mangoes and Brazil nuts in Oxfam shops from this month, and will be rolling out to grocery retailers shortly.
"We are delighted with the popularity of our dark chocolate and this is a fabulous new way to enjoy it," says head of communications Charlotte Borger.
Italo Suisse believes its iSiS brand is perfectly placed to take advantage of the growth in both 100g chocolate bars and the premium assorted chocolate sectors. It has added a Dark Temptation Luxury Belgian Assortment to its existing range, which already includes dark chocolate options - a 100g bar with 70% cocoa solids and another with 85%. The collection also includes products with 30% reduced sugar.
?Speciality toffee maker Walkers Nonsuch has rebranded its hammer pack collection as Toffee Break. The trio, which comprises Nonsuch Duo, Selection and Famous Slab, still contains a hammer and comes in the brand's burnt orange and brown signature livery. All the products in the company's range now contain no artificial colours, preservatives or flavourings and no hydrogenated oils or trans fats.
A 'nearly dark' chocolate with 65% cocoa solids and cranberries is joining Venture Foods' Organica fairtrade vegan chocolate bar range - the fourth in its collection. The range includes two dark chocolate bars - one plain and one with hazelnuts - as well as milk chocolate made from rice milk instead of cow's milk. They are available from selected branches of Waitrose and health food stores, priced at about £1.79.
?Boog, Elliot, McSquizzy and Mr Weenie are among the quirkily-named characters from the new animated film Open Season, appearing on the Pez range of confectionery from Haribo Dunhills (Pontefract). Managing director Per Henérius says the film has created awareness of the characters and a high level of demand for the Pez products, adding: "We aim to refresh the appeal of the range at regular intervals by providing topical characters that children can collect."
Premium puds brand Gü launched a range of indulgent fresh chocolates for the chiller to appeal to Christmas shoppers. Posh Liquid Caramel Chocs were available in Waitrose, while a mint version was available in Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Budgens stores during last November and December.
?The Newtree range of functional Belgian chocolate is going into blocks, following successful trials in Waitrose, Whittards and Harvey Nichols, and into a selection box for Christmas. The range comprises nine 'moods', including tranquillity, sexy, serenity and vivacity, and flavours include ginger, lime blossom, guarana, cactus and grape extract. The company's avowed aim is to provide "intense, adult-oriented flavour fixes that stimulate one's tastebuds, while simultaneously soothing any underlying feelings of guilt".
Mint chocolate favourites in the Elizabeth Shaw portfolio are getting new packaging in time for Christmas, as the company aims to increase its impact in the festive market. Its Famous Names liqueur chocolate brand will also feature revamped packaging, as well as a new 200g Cherry liqueurs line retailing at £2.99.
Midlands-based Beacon Confectionery has the UK licence for premium Belgian chocolates under the Me to You brand. Packaging on the range - a hollow milk chocolate bear, retailing at £2.99; 100g moulded bars priced at £1.19 and a 225g assortment of almond, coffee cream, cherry liqueur and rum & hazelnut cream praline for £5.49 - carries the messages 'Just for you', 'Especially for you' or 'To someone special', to appeal as impulse purchases and planned gifts. Beacon also plans to introduce seasonal lines, including Christmas, Valentine's Day and Teachers' Day.
Confectionery cash & carry Hancocks has introduced a 300g bag range and stand to target the growing adult 'sharing' market. The collection extends across 15 classic sweets - including jelly beans, chocolate raisins, strawberry bon-bons and wine gums - all with an rsp of 99p, giving retailers a healthy profit margin. Hancocks has also launched a range of soft eating caramel sweets, comprising five flavours - bubblegum, lemon & lime, banoffee swirls, strawberry & cream and passion fruit & orange delights. All come in 1.9kg tubs, priced at £4.99.
Leaf UK is the latest company to make the move into shelled jelly confectionery with Chewits Fruities. Targeting eight to 14-year-olds, the fruit jellybeans encased in a candy shell mark the company's first foray into the jellybean sector and come in 55g bags with an assortment of six fruit flavours.
?Chocolatier Lindt is taking consumers to the dark side with an Extra Dark variety in its Lindor premium truffle range. Launching in the run-up to Christmas, the 50g and 200g black boxes contain 60% cocoa chocolate shells with the original filling and will be supported by a £2m campaign, including TV ads and a chance to win a Mini Cooper. The company's Christmas portfolio includes a new Winter Dream snowmen range for children, a Treasure of the Tsars collection and miniature versions of chocolate gold reindeer and Santa, as well as a plastic globe snowstorm featuring the reindeer.
Masterfoods is pitching its Mars, Mars Delight and Galaxy Ripple brands at an older age group this Christmas with a cubed gift box containing ten to 12 mini bars. Intended as stocking fillers or top-up presents, the company hopes the boxes, with an rsp of £2.49, will drive category growth.
?Cadbury Trebor Bassett has added a Party mix of foam, jelly and milk gums to its existing range of Milky, Fruity and original Jelly Babies and removed artificial colours and flavours from all. According to Cadbury's research, shoppers were 15% more likely to buy Jelly Babies if they contained no artificial colours and flavours. On-pack labelling highlights the changes, while the Bassett's brand got £2.5m of media support this year.
Liquorice lovers can now get their fix in new ways, with the addition of additive and preservative-free lemon and mint-filled bars and an assortment of liquorice varieties, including chocolate and liquorice balls, under the Panda brand. Supported by a £1m advertising campaign for the brand this year, the new options have rsps of 39p and £1.75 respectively.
?Specialist confectioner The Burnt Sugar Sweet Company has expanded its upmarket range with a dark chocolate caramel crunch and a chocolate crumbly fudge in 225g share tubs, retailing at £3.95. They joined the coconut ice variant.
Dads got the chance for a sweeter alternative to the usual Father's Day tie thanks to a relaunch of Kraft Foods' special limited edition Toblerone 400g bar. The three packs carried pictures of either a pair of socks, a tie or a pair of slippers, with each sleeve opening into a greeting card. They got support from the brand's £3m media campaign this year.
Colourful, chewy US confectionery brand Mike and Ike has made its way here. Produced by Pennsylvania-based Just Born Inc and and available from distributer D&D Snack Foods, the three variants come in 55g and 180g sizes, retailing at 39p and £1.25 respectively. Toblerone is back on TV with a £1.5m 'To myself' ad campaign, which will remind female consumers about the indulgent qualities of the brand. The ad shows a woman relaxing on a boat, enjoying a bar of Toblerone as she floats through an enchanted triangular, chocolate world, losing herself in the moment. It features the caption 'Lose yourself in the Toblerone triangle', enticing women to try it
Sarah Petts, channel and communications manager for Kraft Foods, says: "Women continue to lead hectic lives, with many juggling a successful career alongside a busy home life. Within their day most women find a few moments for a personal treat - something just for them - and a chunk or two of Toblerone 'To Myself' is perfect for such a moment."
?As part of its winter marketing campaign, herb-based confectionery maker Ricola is investing £50,000 during October and November in a 30-day sampling programme for its lozenges. About 100,000 free samples will be given away, and will carry money-off coupons that can be redeemed across the range in 30 major UK towns and cities to boost the profile of the brand. There is also the chance to win a trip to Switzerland for two people. Ricola lozenges come in 50g boxes in original, lemon-mint, cranberry, elderflower and blackcurrant.
Ethical and charitable chocolate brand Chocaid recently underwent a packaging revamp. Chocaid products are both organic and Fairtrade and include dark and milk Swiss chocolate bars in 45g and 100g sizes, Irish Cream truffles, children's chocolate buttons and beans, as well as a gift chocolate globe.
The company is also set to launch a children's chocolate bar later in the year. Ten pence from the sale of each product will be donated to Irish charity Gorta, which funds sustainable food and water projects in parts of Africa, India and South America.
?Poppets was given a £2m retro makeover back in March to tap into the growing trend of nostalgia. Fox's Confectionery has brought back what it claims are the original qualities of the brand, with packaging that depicts iconic 1970s items, including a Rubik's Cube, a space hopper, a VW camper van and a lava lamp. Paynes branding is also being reintroduced to appeal to adults who grew up with the product, as well as to younger consumers.
Masterfoods has added a countline format to its Galaxy Promises range, despite initially positioning the sub-brand in the block chocolate category. The 40g countline will sit alongside the four flavours in the 100g range and moves the sub-brand into the impulse category for the first time.
Haribo is launching its dextrose brand NRG Blocks in the UK following success of the product abroad. The crunchy pink and white blocks melt in the mouth and are designed to provide consumers with an extra portion of energy.
MD Per Henérius says: "NRG Blocks has already enjoyed success internationally and we believe the time is now right to give UK consumers the chance to sample it. The brand is very different and eye-catching and will certainly stand out from the crowd."
Ferrero has put £6m behind its Tic Tac confectionery brand in the past year, including a national radio campaign featuring a limited edition cinnamon-flavoured Winter Warmer variety. The company also embarked on a sampling campaign for its Tropical Twist variant earlier in the year.
? Conserves and compotes brand Bonne Maman has decided to spread its influence into confectionery. It has launched a box of traditional French fruit pastilles, Pâtes de Fruits, which contains six flavours: apple, blackcurrant, mandarin, passion fruit, quince and raspberry. The product comes in two sizes - 180g and 270g - and has already secured listings in Waitrose.
Neil Hodson, category controller at Bonne Maman supplier Andros UK, says: "We're excited to be moving outside the market for which we're traditionally known. This is a natural extension and taps into our heritage of creating products based on high quality fruit."
Irish chocolate manufacturer Lir has joined forces with supplier of culinary branded alcohol Thomas Lowndes for a new liqueur truffle pack. Truffle Shots are a mix of plain and milk truffles flavoured with the popular alcoholic drinks After Shock, Jim Beam, Grand Marnier, Sourz and Sauza.
?US confectionery brand Russell Stover No Added Sugar has
been launched in the UK to tempt health-conscious consumers with a sweet tooth. The range comes in 28g chocolate counter packs in Pecan Delight, Coconut and Mint Creams; 100g chocolate peg bags in Pecan Delight, Coconut, Mint Creams, Toffee Squares, Wafers and Peanut Brittle; 200g Strawberry Minis chocolate boxes; and boiled sweet 85g bags in five flavours.
?Cadbury Creme Egg fans can indulge themselves all year round thanks to the introduction of a permanent variant in the Dairy Milk range. Cadbury Dairy Milk with Creme Egg provides consumers with another way to eat theirs and is a combination of the UK's bestselling chocolate bar with a fondant egg filling. It is designed to fulfil the cravings of Creme Egg lovers, who have until now only been able to buy it between January and Easter. Mike Tipping, Cadbury Trebor Bassett's head of customer relations, says the bar format will give the Creme Egg brand stronger snacking credentials and make it a more everyday impulse purchase.
Nestlé Rowntree gave its Aero brand a more indulgent feel at the start of the year with the introduction of Aero Chocolate Truffle.
It comes in the same format as Aero Caramel and combines smooth truffle with milk chocolate bubbles.
Forest Tree Foods has extended its range of Haribo-branded halal, kosher and vegetarian confectionery with new lines. The products are the results of a joint venture between the company and Haribo, Austria, and are made in Austria using a meat-free gelatine substitute developed by Forest Tree.