Halloween is just around the corner, but it will be a little different this year due to the pandemic. Governments have advised against the age-old tradition of trick-or-treating, while local restrictions across the UK mean large gatherings are off the cards.
Yet, while social distancing may be threatening typical traditions, The Grocer explains that Brits are determined to celebrate Halloween in their own way. Its Halloween category report shares some trend predictions for this spooky season.
- Family fancy dress
Frightening fancy dress has become something of a family affair, with adults taking an increasing interest in Halloween get-up in recent years.
So says Nicki Hamilton, UK marketing manager at trade fancy dress supplier Rubie’s: “One of the trends we’ve picked up on during the lockdown period is a real passion for dressing up as part of a unified online experience.
“We’re hopeful families will still engage with the occasion in the way they eagerly adopted Joe Wicks’ Fancy Dress Friday. We have seen no indication that demand is slowing.”
- Sweet treats
A curb on trick-or-treating is bound to hit the confectionery sector. However, brands are optimistic that there’ll be an appetite for parties, whether they’re virtual or held at home in family bubbles, especially as this Halloween takes place on a weekend. And that’s bound to see people stock up on scarily sweet treats.
Mark Roberts, trade marketing manager at confectionery giant Perfetti Van Melle (PVM), says that Halloween may be an occasion people really look forward to celebrating, after months of lockdown and restrictions.
Yet, PVM is erring on the side of caution this year by choosing not to launch any Halloween-themed lines. Instead, it’s pushing popular products already on the shelves, to make sure stores aren’t left with excess stock come November.
PVM thinks its wrapped multipacks will prove most popular; they’re currently outperforming unwrapped bags, as buyers seek out safer sharing options.
- Seasonal lines
Seasonal lines struggled in Easter; products were left gathering dust on the shelves and were hit with heavy discounting. To make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, Haribo’s Halloween lines will be a mix of special seasonal items with year-round favourites.
Buyers and retailers alike will be looking for well-known brands to be “risk-free crowd-pleasers,” Haribo’s trade marketing manager Claire James says. “Whether these are season-neutral products that are fit for purpose, yet minimise the risk for retailers, or themed and fun treats to deliver that sprinkling of ‘spooktacular’ that we believe people will welcome after a challenging year.”
Haribo plans to bring back seasonal favourites like its Trick or Treat multipacks and Scaremix, along with the Haribo and Maoam Duo Pack that launched in 2019.
- Home-baked goodies
Lockdown encouraged many people to get creative in the kitchen, and this trend is likely to continue through Halloween.
Jen Brown from Dr Oetker UK believes this Halloween will be “a call to action to inspire families.” Halloween is already a popular baking occasion, as it offers people “the opportunity to express their creativity through weird and wonderful spooky bakes.”
It may be that time-strapped parents pop to the shops for baking mixes, a category that over-indexed at 365% during Halloween last year.
- Fun comes first
This year, it will be especially important to create a sense of family fun. That’s why Fanta, which usually launches experiential events for Halloween, is launching its ‘Release the Stupid Side of Halloween’ campaign.
The drinks brand has paused its experiential efforts for now while social distancing measures remain in place. Instead, it’s focusing on ‘digital and added-value entertainment’, which is aimed at engaging people from the comfort of their own homes.
Simon Harrison, VP of commercial development at Coca-Cola European Partners, said: “It will provide a light-hearted and fun spin on the Hallloween season, tying into the increased focus on comedy and humour at Halloween, which is growing in prominence alongside the traditional ‘horror’ theme.”
- Trick-or-treating goes virtual
Apps like Zoom helped us stay and feel connected with our loved ones, when we were unable to see them face-to-face.
Jelly Belly’s global marketing VP, Rob Swaigen, believes that trick-or-treaters will use video platforms like Zoom to keep themselves entertained this Halloween. This idea fits in with the company’s BeanBoozled Flaming Five challenge, an app where users can play a game of Russian roulette with sweets that taste of chili.
Meanwhile, Chewits has also adapted its Halloween activity for the socially distanced age; the brand has enlisted the help of ‘Chewitsauraus’ to host virtual giveaways and games.
- An integrated approach still important
Brands may be focused on virtual experiences and entertainment this year, but creating that ‘spook factor’ in-store is still important.
Take porridge brand Ready Brek – it’s planned a lot of spooky fun in-store and in wholesale depots this month, marking Halloween with eye-catching POS with the tagline ‘Trick or Heat.’ Add to this haunted house WOW displays with 3D roof elements, hanging bats and freestanding pallet arch display units across wholesale.
From in-store to on TV, it’s also launching its popular ‘Central heating for everyone’ creative, which is inspired by its memorable ‘glow’ advertising from the 1970s.
It’s expected that Ready Brek’s winning combination of TV and in-store activity will boost already strong sales this season. Nielsen figures show that the brand continues to lead the ‘Hots’ category in terms of sales performance, with 8% value growth and 9% volume growth over the past twelve weeks.
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