Fiona Dawson, president of Mars Chocolate in the UK, says that local shops need to get behind the big brands in their confectionery displays and support countlines as affordable treats. The price of treats cannot go up and up and up, she says.
However, as retailers know, the rise of promotions means that shoppers are flip-flopping from brand to brand in search of the better deal. This poses some big problems for confectionery sales.
So it cannot help when shoppers at Reading station are faced with variable pricing for Snickers bars on platforms 4 and 5. At the WHSmith on platform four a Snickers Duo costs £1.05. At the WHSmith on five, it costs 99p or two for £1.50.
The secret? The WHSmith on platform four is operated by SSP, the Euston based “food travel experts”. The one on platform five is operated by WHSmith itself. A problem for the retailer’s brand more than for Mars?
However, a real challenge for the countline snack people may be coming from a different direction. At my local Best-One I stood behind two young lads, one of whom was counting out 36 pennies. He was buying a packet of budget biscuits. Once outside the shop he divvied it up with his mate. To them, 18 biscuits at 2p each seemed a great deal.
Which flips to the second part of the countline proposition – the quality of the snack on offer. Some shoppers are paying attention. Others do not.