Despite still being cautious in their spending, Italian consumers of chocolate confectionery are increasingly buying into premium brands, which is helping to drive positive growth in value sales as volume sales are seeing relative stability. Premium products are perceived as being better quality and also healthier.
Sales of seasonal chocolate continue to grow in retail. Christmas and Easter sales remain positive due to the shopping period and the holiday period being spread across multiple weeks in Italy.
The health and wellness trend is well established in Italy, with consumers paying ever greater attention to what they eat and whether it will improve their wellbeing and address their concerns about obesity and heart disease. However, the health and wellness trend sits alongside the indulgence trend, as consumers still wish to treat themselves.
Ferrero SpA remained the leading player in chocolate confectionery in Italy in 2019. The company maintains a portfolio of leading brands in chocolate confectionery, including Kinder and Ferrero Rocher, which it continues to expand with new launches, promoting them on the internet and in social media.
ICAM SpA, a premium player in chocolate confectionery in Italy, continues to achieve rapid growth. It has a focus on research and development with a view to introducing new products, especially within the organic sector.
Despite having invested to try and regain Pernigotti’s customers following the collapse in 2013 of the brand’s previous owners, in 2018 Toksöz Group decided to close its Pernigotti factory in Italy and move production to Turkey. Only the marketing network is to be controlled from Italy, with this aimed at supporting sales of the products made in Turkey.
Gum in Italy is suffering from stagnation with slowly declining retail volume sales and a slight loss in value. Gum is mostly purchased on impulse, being typically sold next to the checkout or till in modern grocery retailers with other small confectionery products.
Amid declining sales, gum manufacturers are trying to bring about sales recovery through innovation. Much of the focus is on sugar-free products, using ingredients such as stevia to replace sugar, to meet the demand that derives from the health and wellness trend in the country.
As well as concentrating on the formulation of their gum products, manufacturers engaged in more marketing activity in 2019 compared to 2018, with increased communication and greater consumer involvement through social media channels. One example is the internet advertising of innovative smaller formats such as Vigorsol Beats.
Perfetti Van Melle Italia Srl continued to dominate sales of gum in Italy in 2019, leaving little room for its rivals. Its Vivident brand is still popular thanks to the innovation of Vivident 100% Xylit.
Together, the remaining players in gum in Italy have a minor value share compared to that of giant Perfetti Van Melle Italia. Mars Italia SpA remains the second-placed player.
Ferrero SpA’s Tic Tac brand has expanded into gum from sugar confectionery by launching gum in five flavour variants, including three mint options and two fruit options. These benefit from wide availability and Italians are responding well to the new product development.
In Italy, when shopping for sugar confectionery, consumers are still choosing healthier options such as sugar-free and reduced sugar sweets. Hence, brands such as Ricola which are sugar-free are performing well amid the overall decline in sugar confectionery sales.
With historically low birth rates in the country, some sugar confectionery players continue to target adults specifically rather than children. Italian sugar confectionery has experienced a spur in sales of organic boiled sweets thanks to natural/organic chains such as Natura Sì and Valle Bio increasing their sales penetration.
Younger consumers and children are targeted by sugar confectionery players with marketing that uses social media and prize competitions. This consumer segment sustains sales for brands of sugar confectionery, despite most products not having a natural or healthy image, thanks to the common occurrence of parties and other celebratory activities among this age group where sugar confectionery is served or given as gifts.
Perfetti Van Melle Italia Srl continued to lead sugar confectionery in 2019 and marginally increased its value share. It has a wide and diverse product portfolio with a variety of brands and focuses on regular new product development.
Ferrero SpA’s refreshment of its Tic Tac brand of mints seems to have paid off with positive growth in value sales. The new image of Tic Tac with its brightly coloured packaging and interesting new flavours such as Tic Tac Breeze Lemon Balm, Tic Tac Breeze Liquorice and Tic Tac Breeze Aniseed, all with crystallised herbs and sugar-free, has made the product much more visible.
Private label continues to increase its value share of sugar confectionery in Italy, aided by purchases by consumers who seek more economical sugar confectionery, especially that sold in discounters. However, within private label ranges, such as Selex, Coop, Carrefour and Lidl, increasing segmentation is observed, with more premium products also being included.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.