Round up

Food and drink NPD released ahead of Christmas 2023

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Npd

Food Manufacture rounds up the latest new product development (NPD) released in advance of the festive season.

Dawn Foods launches limited edition fudge icing

Bakery ingredients manufacturer Dawn Foods has unveiled two limited edition, ready-to-use fudge icings in time for the festive season.

Inspired by traditional Christmas flavours – mint chocolate and chocolate orange – the icing flavours are available in 10kg pails and will be on sale until early 2024.

While chocolate mint is a mainstream flavour in desserts and ice cream, it is now moving into bakery too, with Dawn’s new Mint Chocolate Fudge Icing designed to deliver a rich chocolate flavour with an aroma of mint. Dawn’s Chocolate Orange Fudge Icing on the other hand, contrasts rich dark chocolate with the sweet citrus of orange.

Both the fudge icings are easy to handle, while they are made with natural colours and are suitable for vegans and vegetarians alike.

According to Mintel, 40% of UK consumers look for new foods and flavours to try all or most of the time, a trend that Dawn marketing manager Jacqui Passmore believes has been fuelled by social media.

One of the key drivers in the bakery category is the growth of limited edition flavours and formats​,” she told Food Manufacture. “Limited edition ready to use ingredients help bakers and bakery manufacturers to quickly tap into the latest social media craze or trend and the incremental sales that this can bring”

Passmore described Dawn’s latest innovations as “synonymous with your childhood Christmas​”, and ideal for creating fresh yet nostalgic bakes.

The biggest trends at present are hybrid cakes which combine confectionery favourites in a cake format and retro bakes​,” she added.

NOMO celebrates Christmas with vegan, free from creations

Leading vegan and free from chocolate brand NOMO has released two new reindeer-inspired products ahead of the Christmas season – the 30g Choc Fudge Reindeer and the 100g Reindeer Hollow.

Priced at 90p and £4.50 respectively, they join the 30g Cookie Dough Reindeer and the Advent Calendar, which were all part of NOMO’s collection last year. According to Nielsen data, NOMO delivered £1.24m of the total £3.73m value generated by the Christmas 2022 free from chocolate market.

All three of the festive reindeer products are now available at Sainsbury’s, while the Reindeer Hollow is also sold in Morrisons and the Cookie Dough Reindeer is stocked by Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons, Asda, Co-op, Holland & Barrett and Nisa.

NOMO brand manager Jac Tyrrell explained that the firm believes “everyone should be able to enjoy delicious treats at Christmas​”, an ethos that inspired this vegan, free from range.

Our new Choc Fudge Reindeer and Reindeer Hollow products are the latest exciting addition to our growing seasonal range which reflects the high consumer demand for vegan and free from Christmas chocolates that don't compromise on taste​,” added Tyrell.

Our reindeer range will make brilliant stocking fillers and little snacks in the build-up to the big day. NOMO isn’t just for people following vegan and free from diets – these products are thoughtfully crafted for everyone to enjoy​.”

Wild and Game Christmas hampers now available

Wild game specialist, Wild and Game, has launched its Christmas hampers for the 2023 season.

Available for pre-order on the Wild and Game website now, the hampers are designed to offer a range of tasty options for the whole family. Sold in two sizes, the hampers include bird roasts, pigs in blankets, venison haunch, a festive buffet selection, Somerset cheeses and a range of chutneys.

Hamper 1 is designed to feed three to four people over the festive season and is priced at £99, while Hamper 2 should serve six to eight people for £199.99.

Wild and Game co-founder Steven Frampton said that while the hampers have proved a “big hit​” in the past, this latest version is the “best yet​”.

“[They are] offering excellent value for money while bringing luxury and interest to your festive meals​,” he said. “It’s wise to get your hamper pre-booked, because if previous years are anything to go by, these sell out fast​.”

Frampton attributes the popularity of past hampers to a growing appetite for game. He elaborated: “People realise that eating game is a sustainable and sensible alternative to eating farmed meat.​ It helps to maintain natural balance and biodiversity while producing meat that is lean and free from hormones and antibiotics.

“Because it’s so high in protein, a little game goes a long way – it’s satisfying and filling, and far more flavoursome than farmed meat. This makes it a healthy, cost-effective choice as well as a sustainable one​.”

Lily O’Brien’s unveils exclusive festive collection

Luxury chocolate manufacturer Lily O’Brien’s has unveiled its Christmas 2023 collection, which is now available in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco and Asda.

The 24-piece collection features nine different flavours, including classic favourites from the Lily O’Brien’s signature range and four new limited-edition flavours for the season: Spiced Latte, Dark Orange, Triple Chocolate Shot and Berry Eton Mess. The boxes are priced at £12, with £9 promotions across selected stores.

According to Nielsen data, the Lily O’Brien’s brand is valued at £15m with the new SKU set to add £2m to the in-laid box category over the 2023 Christmas period. The launch is also being backed with a £1m marketing campaign.

Speaking about the launch, marketing director Karen Crawford, said that “record sales​” of the Lily O’Brien’s signature desserts collection had been driving growth for the firm, and the team hopes to build on this momentum with the availability of a festive alternative.

We wanted to bring exciting and indulgent innovation to the aisle with specially crafted flavours which are on-trend for the holidays,” ​Crawford explained.

She continued: “This collection continues to deliver on the value equation for shoppers. It has an expensive look, feel and luxurious taste – perfect as a statement gift for the special people in your life – without the premium price tag​.”

Festive offerings from Sharpham Cheese

Devon-based dairy Sharpham Cheese has created five festive offers to mark Christmas 2023.

Ranging from hampers to a cheese subscription, each special offer features a curated selection of crackers and chutneys, alongside cheese handcrafted with milk from Sharpham’s herd of Jersey cows and locally sourced goats’ milk. Sharpham is the UK’s first B Corp cheese dairy and produces a signature range of brie, rustic and ticklemore cheeses.

The first hamper is named The Big Devonshire Christmas Feast. Priced at £90, it includes a square of brie (300g), wedges of rustic and ticklemore (200g each) along with a truckle of rustic chive and garlic cheese (450g). It also features a charcuterie from Good Game and olives from West Country, as well as wine, port and Christmas cake.

Second is The Essential Devon Cheese Board, priced at £30 and featuring five artisan cheeses. Next, the Sharpham Celebration Cheese Cake is a service that offers three choices of ready-to-go celebration cheese cakes. Available from £100, the options range from a three-tier creation to a six-tier tower crowned with a heart-shaped cheese on top.

Finally, Sharpham is offering The Dart Valley Cheese & Wine Selection and its cheese subscription service. The cheese and wine selection is priced at £40 and comes with the manufacturer's core range of cheeses and wines, while the subscription guarantees a variety box of handmade cheese delivered each quarter.

All five special festive offers are available via the Sharpham Cheese website.

Hames Chocolates develops special festive range

Lincolnshire-based private label chocolate supplier Hames Chocolates has developed a special collection of sweet treats in time for Christmas.

The range spans stocking fillers, advent calendars, truffles and hot chocolate, and was developed for multiple and high street retailers, tourism and leisure operators and specialist chocolate shops. Hames sources premium, sustainable cocoa and partakes in regular auditing processes that ensure it operates responsibly without compromising on quality.

As a private label chocolate expert, we have been making delicious and festive chocolates for the Christmas occasion for more than 15 years​,” said Hames director Carol Oldbury.

Made using premium, sustainable cocoa, and produced and packaged in our factory in Lincolnshire, our Christmas chocolate range will appeal to a wide audience of chocolate lovers and deliver strong margins for retailers​.”

The stocking fillers include chocolate santa pouches, mince pie and sprout truffles and a variety of lollies, while Hames offers festive stag and santa themed advent calendars. It has also created two chocolate truffle boxes, as well as three hot chocolate varieties.

The entire festive range can be ordered via the Hames website.

Swizzels expands Christmas range with new Gift Drums

Sweets manufacturer Swizzels has updated its festive range with the addition of Gift Drums, larger packs filled with either Love Hearts or Drumstick Mini Chew Bars.

Gift Drums are available to purchase now, priced at £2.99 per pack and sold in cases of six. According to IRI data, Swizzels is the number one sugar confectionery manufacturer for gifting lines with symbols and independent retailers at Christmas, registering 47% year-on-year growth.

In addition to its new Gift Drums, traditional favourites such as the Swizzels advent calendar, party mix and chew bars are available now.

Clare Newton, trade marketing manager at Swizzels, explained: “Christmas has established itself as one of the biggest retail events of the year and shows no signs of slowing down. It gives retailers a sales boost, especially when it comes to sugar confectionery.

Swizzels has been known for its continuous innovation and great taste at affordable prices. Each year, we strive to improve our Christmas offering to help the wonderful retailers we work with to boost sales.

This year’s new Gift Drums are the ultimate festive gift, packed full of our much-loved light and fruity Love Hearts and mouth-watering Drumstick Chew Bars, sure to delight sweet fans of all ages.”

In other news, Food Manufacture spoke to food and drink manufacturers from across Wales about the support they have received from the Welsh Government​.

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