The future is not bright for UK confectionery packaging as consumers turn to healthier options, but packaging firms can profit from a growing preference for sharing products and smaller offerings, according to a report from market analysts Euromonitor.
Euromonitor International's recently published ‘Confectionery Packaging in the United Kingdom’ report said there were few prospects for growth in the confectionery packaging market, but bite-sized and share bag versions of old favourites could keep things ticking over.
Bad news for flexible plastic
Total confectionery packaging will experience just a 0.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2001 and 2016, said the report.
Flexible packaging will see slight declines with the countline format set to be the worst hit, it continued.
“This, of course, comes as consumers look to enjoy the health and wellness trend far more and as cereal bars and other such healthier positioned products increase, taking share from countlines,” said the report.
Flexible plastic manufacturers could benefit from the rise of cereal bars, but it may not be enough to offset declines in countlines, it said.
“Cereal bars growth does not account for all countlines’ losses and consumers are increasingly choosing to eat nuts or fresh cut fruits for an on-the-go snack; bad news for countlines and flexible plastic”
However, packers may be helped by emerging consumer preferences.
“A key trend across Europe and other developed markets is the move to share packs,” said the report.
For example, Kraft Foods, though its subsidiary Cadbury, recently launched Bitsa Wispa in the UK, a bite-sized share bag version of its Wispa chocolate bar.
“Impulse consumption is, of course, fundamental to confectionery and this was again bolstered in 2011 by the release of more products that allow consumers to enjoy chocolate previously available in bigger sizes in single serve portions,” continued the report.
“This is the start of another major trend, which has seen chocolate confectionery brands released in ‘bite-size’ formats, often in 40g flexible plastic.”
Mars has reacted to this shift in consumer habits with by launching bite-sized varieties of Maltesers, Minstrels, Revels.
“There are echoes of the sharing trend in the increase in folding cartons in chewing gum,” added the report.
Euromonitor figures showed a rise in 60g folding carton packs for chewing gum in 2011 compared to previous years.
“This is partly due to the popularity of the sharing trend, due to the increased ease of pouring gum tablets into a friend’s hand,” said the report.
It is not all doom and gloom. Impulse products, for example, will continue to proliferate between 2011 and 2016 and this will mean an increase in the amount of smaller packs on the market,” it concluded.