Shoppers are getting a sweeter tooth for bags of chocolate

Michael Bow
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Scan the confectionery aisles of most British supermarkets and you’ll notice the proliferation of so-called grab bags of chocolate – brands repackaged into what the confectionery industry calls ‘stand up pouches.’

The usual suspects – Mars Mix, Twix Mix, Cadbury’s Bitsa Wispa, Cadbury’s Caramel Nibbles – dominante our supermarket shelves and new research out today shows why.

Toffee, caramel and nougat based brands represent the fastest growing and biggest selling type of confectionery, according to data from Euromonitor, while flexible plastic packaging is also the biggest confectionery packacking type.

The toffee and caramel segment is set to grow at an compound annual growth rate of 10 per cent between now and 2018, the data predicts – far outstripping its traditional rival the humble chocolate bar (called countlines) which has much slower growth of two per cent.

What you’ll notice from this chart – apart from the fact that the world is falling out of love with bubble gum and liquorice is bad bet for future growth – is that chocolate bars sell more than the bite-size variety, with about 42bn unit sold versus 35bn units last year.

However, further statistics from Euromonitor show the large rise in manufacturer using grab bags to package chocolate.

The growth in the toffee and caramel market is set to reinforce a boom in the stand up pouch packaging market, with Euromonitor predicting 514m more grab bags being sold in the US alone by 2018.

This graphic shows the different growth rates and volumes of different confectionery packaging.

As you can see, flexible plastic packaging the biggest type of packaging (top blue line) while plastic pouches are the fatesst growing (bottom blue line), reinforcing the figures showing toffee and caramel sweets as the dominant confectionery trend.

The relationship between the two may be symbiotic – faster growth of toffee and caramel based confectionery means more use of the grab bag format – but the dominance of this type of confectionary is set to mean the grab bags become a fixture on our shelves for years to come.