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Each year, the Easter weekend represents a significant opportunity for consumer spending. In 2021, UK consumers spent nearly £50m more on traditional Easter products such as chocolate Easter eggs, confectionery and hot-cross buns than the same period in 2020, according to digital wholesaler ShelfNow.
We spoke to trend experts who identified veganism, non-chocolate treats and traditional eggs as the top sellers for Easter 2022. Cashing in on these three key trends could make all the difference to your seasonal success.
Rise of veganism
As more Brits than ever are giving up animal products for ethical, environmental and health-related reasons, dairy-free chocolate is becoming a huge opportunity for retailers to capitalise on.
Sarah Larby, digital marketing assistant at Sous Chef, commented: “We’ve found more searches for vegan Easter ranges with 8,100 searches a month for ‘vegan easter easters’ and 5,400 searches for ‘dairy-free easter egg’ in Google.”
This is something ShelfNow also identified, reporting that “the UK alone was responsible for launching almost one in five vegan chocolates between 2020 and 2021. ShelfNow reveals that online searches for ‘vegan Easter eggs’ in the UK also rose by 79% during the same period.”
“There is also an increasing demand for plant-based chocolate alternatives allowing those following a vegan or flexitarian diet to join in the fun”, Laura Strapp, ambient buyer at Cotswold Fayre added.
Thinking outside of the (chocolate) box
Sarah also saw a rise in non-chocolate products this Easter, explaining: “Our top seller at Sous Chef this Easter has been the Italian Colomba di Pasqua cakes - they’ve had more searches than Easter on our website! They’ve always been a bestseller, and are a great alternative to traditional Easter Eggs.”
Rachel Hewlett, sales business development lead at ShelfNow, added: “For non-chocolate eaters, we’ve found marshmallows and themed biscuits are extremely popular options to stock. Additionally, gift baskets are always popular for a last-minute purchase, and they are a great way of driving cross-category sales.”
Pam Graviet, senior marketing director international of the California Walnut Commission, champions healthier Easter baking using the versitile walnut. “This Easter, as new traditions are made, more than ever consumers will be looking for bakery items that meet the need for healthy indulgence. Walnuts are not only a heart-healthy food, but they are also nutrient dense and add that special something, in both flavour and texture to breads, pastries, desserts and even a quiche or cheesecake crust.
“Nutrient-dense and flavourful California Walnuts make Easter bakery healthier too, tapping the trend for decadent treats that offer improved nutritional value. They are an ideal component in the gluten-free or low-carb products demanded by today’s consumers.”
If retailers really want to cash in on the non-chocolate opportunity, non-food trends can add to their average basket spend. Themed tableware, Easter egg hunt supplies and flowers help to make Easter special.
Rachel recommends “Optimising seasonal assets for store merchandising such as spring flowers as well as Easter shapes for simple and effective ways to make a store more inviting and vibrant, as well as creating height and interest in displays.
“By highlighting recommended Easter products with ribbon or Easter shapes to create a trail of Easter products it can entice and engage younger customers. They will enjoy spotting the products and being rewarded with treats which in turn boost sales.”
Traditional chocolate continues to take centre stage
While new kids on the block such as vegan alternatives and non-chocolate baked goods are rising in popularity, chocolate remains on top this Easter.
Laura commented: “For us, this season just keeps growing every year as retailers and consumers alike seek a mix of traditional Easter products and new chocolate innovation.
“When it comes to gifting, Easter eggs remain the mainstay products to stock and we are seeing an increased demand for indulgent premium products combined with a point of difference from what is available every day.
This is something Sarah has also seen at Sous Chef, explaining: “Our Lakrids Easter Egg and Neuhaus Easter egg range, also come in close in the top five sellers. I’d say they fall under the trend of luxury Easter eggs, and Easter gifts for adults which are both searches that have increased in 2022.”
However, Laura noted that eggs aren’t the only sought-after form of Easter chocolate this season. “Other chocolate items, that perhaps are consumed as household treats such as hot chocolate spoons and hot chocolate bombes have also proved popular this year.”
Ensuring you’ve got these trends covered could help indie retailers have a successful Easter weekend this year, and attract new customers to your business.