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Cadbury bursts into UK popcorn segment

By Kacey Culliney , 31-May-2012
Last updated on 01-Jun-2012 at 10:11 GMT

Cadbury bursts into UK popcorn segment

Kraft-owned Cadbury has expanded its sharing bag portfolio with a chocolate-coated toffee popcorn product, in a bid to burst into the UK’s rattling £42m (€52.46m) popcorn market.

The latest chocolate-coated toffee popcorn will join Cadbury’s Giant Buttons, Twirl Bites, Caramel Nibbles and Bitsa Wispa in its sharing range.

Data from retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel pegged the UK’s popcorn market at £42m (€52.46m) with a 20% sales increase across all retailers over the last year.

Lee Bannerman, the snack buyer at Tesco, said five years ago the popcorn market was worth one tenth of the tortilla chip segment, and is now worth over half.

The market remains in its infancy, Bannerman said, but over the next few years, “we can expect to see increasingly exotic flavours coming onto the market.”

The ‘staying in’ surge

Bannerman added that popcorn sales have “ironically been helped by the economic downturn as more people stay at home instead of going out for expensive trips to the cinema or theatre.” This shift is underpinning Britain’s home cinema and giant TV boom, Tesco said.

Cadbury said that this trend has also benefitted the bitesize snacks segment.

Sally Barton, brand manager for Bitesize at Kraft Foods, told ConfectioneryNews.com “consumers’ disposable incomes are now at their lowest point since the 1970s due to wage freezes, the rising costs of food and living expenses, and tax increases. As a result consumers are spending more time in the comfort of their own homes and a trend for ‘Big Nights In’ is emerging.”

“With 53% of confectionery consumption taking place at home in the evening and 72% of bitesize products eaten during a shared occasion, the relevance of bitesize confectionery products to these occasions is clear to see,” Barton said.

Cadbury’s recent March launch of its Bitsa Wispa sharing pack pulled in £4.2m (€5.24m) in the first six weeks and Burten noted that chocolate sharing bags are fast out-pacing the wider chocolate sector.

The UK chocolate giant has pegged its sharing bags business at £324m (€405.7m) with growth forecast at 5.7% each year.

Nielsen data suggests the bitesize product segment comprises 9.5% of standard confectionery sales.

Barton said the latest addition has been developed with consumer tastes and trends in mind, to ensure the Cadbury’s sharing portfolio “remains as relevant as possible.”

“This is why with our latest sharing innovation we are taking increasingly popular popcorn, and adding Cadbury chocolate to create a delicious combination,” she added.

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