Friday, 29 July 2016

Will Brexit affect confectionery?

I’m no economics expert, but it’s a question we’re all asking, whether about the confectionery industry or our own personal circumstances. Brexit is certainly going to have impacts – good and bad – whether we like it or not.

UK confectionery sweets
I’ve read that Euromonitor is now predicting that post Brexit, the compound annual growth rate for UK confectionery will decline by -0.2% from 2015 to 2020. Only time will actually tell.

Figures aside, a large proportion of the food industry was in favour of Remain, with 70% of Food & Drink Federation members backing this stance. Indeed, Mars publically backed Remain and Mondelez, post Brexit has stated that it will continue to remain fully committed to the production of confectionery in the UK.

But we have a Brexit situation and not a Remain.

Many raw materials for confectionery are clearly imported, most notably cacao and sugar. Packaging is often made in the Far East. How the pound continues to fair and what trading agreements are set up will most certainly affect the cost of production and the leading manufacturers will be acutely aware of this.

UK confectionery ends up in the hands of many ex-patriot countries and this trade might yet be affected by the political situation over time. Though not all of these destinations are in the EU and so the outcomes might be more fragmented.

So there is definitely going to be a Brexit impact and there’s quite a bit of “wait and see” to happen yet. Rest assured though, the UK is not going to fall out of love with confectionery for anything or anyone – demand will still continue and whilst price sensitive in some areas, we’ll continue to enjoy our sweet treats, come what may.


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Sweets that contain protein

So here’s an interesting one. Should sweets ever contain protein? Are they still sweets if they do?

A company called thinks so as it has launched Pear Drops and Rhubarb & Custard “sweets” that contain 9.2g of protein in a 75g bag. That’s same amount of protein as two slices of multi-grain bread, half a cup of kidney beans or a handful (1oz) of raw pistachios. Furthermore, they are fat and sugar free with less than half the calories of a regular sweet. 

Some might feel that such a combination cannot be a sweet in the real sense of the word, but perhaps it can. Certainly if you’re training and working out you might opt for them, according to

So how do they do it? The added protein is derived from whey powder, which is commonly found in nutritional supplements and taster feedback claims that the sweets taste just the same as regular sweets

Darren Beale from commented: “We developed these sweets after our customers said one of the things they really missed was sweets and especially the retro classics they grew up with.

We created these sweets for them. They’re never going to be as nutritionally perfect as something like a chicken breast but as an every now and again treat they’re ideal.

The two we’ve developed have been a big hit with our customers who say they taste just like they remember and give them a treat they can enjoy without feeling guilty.

If these are popular we may look in to adding other favourites to the range like cola cubes. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a bit of nostalgia especially when it’s better for you than the original.”

So, maybe you can have sweets packed with protein. Only your customers could possibly decide.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Pick and mix your way to extra income

GUEST POST: Brett Sidaway, Marketing Manager of Wrights Plastics GPX

The continued growth in popularity of pick and mix and ‘retro’ confectionery presents a ‘sweet’ opportunity for hard-working entrepreneurs to create some much needed additional revenue. Brett Sidaway, Marketing Manager of Wrights Plastics GPX, a West Midlands-based manufacturer of pick and mix stands, has researched the potential for revenue streams and shares his ideas with us.

Brett sees the potential for confectionery-based businesses to become a staple part of the so-called ‘bedroom businesses’ boom – small scale start-ups characterised by low entry-to-market costs and often begin as part-time enterprises, perhaps designed to fit around activities such as bringing up kids, caring for a relative or friend or ongoing work commitments.

According to StartUp Britain 2015 saw around 600,000 new business launches. Additionally there has been a surge in food related start-ups.

Statistics indicate that women especially are keen to start up small scale businesses that fit around their current lifestyle. On average about 30 per cent of self-employed women work from home.
The smell of sweet success
Brett believes a foray into offering sweets for events is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs. Firstly, costs to enter the market are relatively small. “It is a great business to ‘dip your toe’ into as you can begin with small scale orders to cover your first events. Stands and dispensers don’t cost a great deal, and there is often little branding beyond header cards and business cards.

Secondly, initial opportunities combine a chance to make money with socialising activities. There are often chances to make the most of social networks to build business opportunities; and business opportunities can help build social networks too.

As a simple business model, Brett suggests purchasing a complete pick and mix stand. These are easy to store and transport to events. Headers can be branded if required and replacement hoppers purchased in the event of breakages etc.

An obvious opportunity is running pick and mix parties for children. Despite concerns about sugar intake and healthy eating generally, kids love sweets and as a treat and eaten in moderation it seems unlikely that this will change in the near future. So including pick and mix at children’s parties is a great opportunity for a start-up business: it taps into an existing network of parents ensuring marketing costs are minimal but uses the power of the network to build the business. 

The opportunities are not just restricted to birthdays: pick and mix parties are ideal for end-of-term celebrations, exam successes, Christmas parties and even fundraising events at schools.

Charity and fundraising events are another chance to build the business. There are always many local fundraising activities for charities, churches and other groups and having some pick and mix or retro confectionery is an obvious way to add some excitement. You may decide to make a flat donation to the good cause or give a percentage of your sales but most organisers will welcome the chance to add something new to their regular fundraising events.

And there are also plenty of other opportunities to build the business: weddings, sporting events, car boot and table top sales. 

Social media will be a big part of your brand building, and that’s even more good news according to Brett. “With social media, costs are low but you can be really successful just by posting creatively and getting good feedback from your customers.”