From Climate Change to Yoga Bunnies – Easter 2019 in an Eggshell
Brits eat more chocolate per head than almost anywhere on earth, with the average consumer eating 8kg of chocolate per year. At the time of writing, almost a quarter of the population having already consumed an entire Easter egg, and 50% having eaten at least an Easter themed chocolate treat, the early release of seasonal products has been subject to blame for both this ludicrous consumption, and the obesity crisis (this article was written at the end of March – Easter this year is the 21st April).
Retailers and brands jump on the seasonal band wagon far too often than is necessary. But with such an influx of quality products flooding the shelves, it is no wonder that brands are focussing so much on innovating and developing points of differentiation. Seasonal positioning is one of many methods that can help a brand gain shelf space and draw in consumers. As consumers, we are known to be suckers for the seasonal and novelty – from Year of the Pig themed Percy Pigs to Waitrose’s famed Avocado Easter Egg.
(You can read more about premiumisation in our Winter Trend Report.) Of course, Easter is certainly not one of the occasions to miss this, from supermarket own-label, to luxury brands, all the way to high-street chocolatiers. Discounter Aldi is bucking the trend with their ‘Specially Exquisite Bird Cage’ and ‘Moser Roth Hand Decorated White Ripple Egg’. Luxury chocolate brands are experiencing a renaissance due to the confectionery premiumisation storm, and are expanding into the seasonal. (Divine Chocolate’s Dark Chocolate Egg features Pink Himalayan salt.) And it is no surprise that high-street chocolatiers are realising the potential of stocking in supermarkets: Hotel Chocolate are not missing a trick with their wild and elaborate half open chocolate egg, individual chocolates fusion. Luxury is no longer out of reach or out of touch with the players in the game; it is easily achievable at any price range with the right design, ingredients and name, so all consumers can take part.
It is impossible to go any food season without novelty food and drink products. For 2019, a number of novelty Easter eggs play on creativity, hobbies, traditions and ingredients – many of which are breaking way from the traditional hollow, whole egg format, using the opportunity to try out some interesting shaped moulds. Examples include: Hotel Chocolate’s cookie dough and ice cream egg sandwich, Heston for Waitrose’s chocolate teapot with chocolate sugar cubes, Aldi’s Moser Roth range includes a 4-pack of chocolate hot cross buns, Morrisons’ chocolate pineapple egg. In 2018, Waitrose’s Avocado Egg was the fastest-selling Easter egg for the supermarket. M&S are also recognising our love for novelty with the release of their ‘Chocolate Yoga Bunny’. Yes, that’s right. The chocolate bunny is posed in the classic downward dog position, causing quite the storm on Twitter. If you haven’t already heard about this, go and take a look on their social media, you will soon know what I mean. Novelty – it may look like it, but it just doesn’t wear off; it hides, and re-emerges the next year.
It was guaranteed that Vegan and Free From eggs were going saturate Easter this year as they become more popular and accessible. Noticeable this year is how the eggs can be distinguished from each other. For instance, Booja Booja Almond & Sea Salt Egg with chocolate truffles, Moofree Easter Honeycomb Egg, Buttermilk Caramelised Cocoa Nib, Tesco Finest Salted Caramel Free From. The category is far from its basic roots now and the nods to premiumisation are more than obvious. Indulgence is far from a luxury anymore.
The Free From positioning has led to an ethical uprising in the food industry. Many wholefoods you would have once only found in health stores were organic, Fairtrade, or emphasised their nurturing capabilities. As Free From expands out from its contained aisle, we can see the affect this growing trend towards ethics has had on seasonal products.
In response to food market research carried about by The Meaningful Chocolate Company, designers of the The Real Easter Egg, 2019’s egg is packaged in card and foil, both recyclable, and the chocolate is Fairtrade and palm oil free. Sustainability, fairness, and waste were all targeted in this transformation.
It begs the question: is our fixation on trends of premiumisation and novelty a distraction from the ongoing issue of packaging waste? And if we’re laying the blame somewhere in order to try solve the issue, who is to blame for the lack of focus on waste: the marketing campaigns or the consumers?
In late March, BBC Three released an article detailing the effects of ‘eco-anxiety’. People from all walks of life, of all genders, ages, nationalities, with interests and personalities differing on the largest spectrum possible, as a community, are suffering from the anxiety of an uncertain future.
Statistics like the following are said to increase levels of eco-anxiety.
The government’s waste advisory Body Wrap calculated 80 million Easter eggs bought each year results in 2,000 tonnes of packaging waste. That may be because 36% of luxury chocolate brand Thornton’s Classic Large Egg’s weight was packaging. Likewise, 28% of Lindt’s Milk Chocolate Egg grammage was not delicious chocolate. In fact, 25% of the overall weight of best-selling Easter eggs in 2018 was packaging.
While some brands like the Real Easter Egg Co. have reacted to current trends of ethics promptly and accordingly, some have not. Yet.
Packaging waste will be an issue at Easter, Christmas, and all seasonal events every year, year on year. As long as improvements in recycling are made at a consumer level (the plastic used to encase foil-wrapped chocolate eggs within cardboard boxes, PET 1, can be recycled by 99% of local authorities in the UK) and we push for better options on shelf in terms of packaging waste, improvements will be made.
Have you got a product which needs to be revamped for the next season? Get in touch! Call us on 02039 319066 or email [email protected]
Resources used: further reading