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This Christmas may be quite different this year due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, however, consumers are still likely to want to celebrate it to some extent. Perhaps more so this year, food & drink will be important in making it as joyful experience as possible. And food & drink companies will also be hoping that people will continue to buy and consume festive products this year like they have in the past, and with that in mind will be targeting this Christmas like any other, with an array of new products just for festive period.

Indeed, the importance of limited edition and seasonal food in times of celebration can’t be underestimated. Consumer research shows that in the US, 45% of consumers say that they buy limited edition/seasonal food to celebrate seasonal events such as Christmas (Innova Consumer Trends Survey 2019).


Christmas an important seasonal event for the confectionery category

For many companies, seasonal events such as Christmas are very important to their business, and much of their NPD will be focused on targeting this event. This is certainly the case for confectionery, with it accounting for half of all Christmas themed food & drink NPD launched worldwide (2015-2019). While much of this NPD is launched in West Europe and North America, as Christmas becomes more commercialized in other regions, there has been strong growth in Christmas NPD outside of these key regions, most notably Latin America. There, all Christmas themed NPD increased by a CAGR of 20.7% between 2015-2019. This is driven not only by local companies wishing to capitalize on the commercialization of Christmas in the region, but also western multinational companies keen to take a share of the market. For example, Mondelēz International has recently launched a Christmas edition of its Oreo sandwich cookies in Ecuador, packaged in a gift box, and for Christmas 2019, Italian company Ferrero launched a range of Christmas editions of its Ferrero Rocher Milk Chocolates in various Latin American countries, with the wrapped chocolates packaged in a gold colored Christmas tree and star shaped boxes.

Nabisco Oreo Compartir Galletas Tipo Sandwich De Chocolate: Chocolate Sandwich Biscuits (Ecuador, Oct 2020), Hehe Yuanyuan Pumpkin Biscuits (China, Oct 2019), Weeny Beeny Halloween Pumpkin Gummies (South Korea, Sep 2020).


Asian companies launching products for Halloween

However, it’s not just Christmas that has become more widely celebrated and commercialized. Halloween for example is one such seasonal celebration which is now recognized and celebrated around the world in a similar way to that seen in western countries. Indeed in Asian countries where there is a tradition of remembering and celebrating the dead, the actual concept of Halloween is more recent but has become popular in some countries; in particular those that are incorporating more western concepts into their culture, such as China and Japan. As a result an increasing number of Halloween themed products are being launched in Asia to capitalize on the interest in this event. Between 2015-2019, NPD of Halloween themed food & drink in Asia increased by a 38.3% CAGR, and the region accounted for 18% of global NPD. Examples of products launched for Halloween 2019 include pumpkin flavored biscuits featuring pumpkin and ghost characters launched by Heheyuanyuan Bakery in China, and Halloween Pumpkin Gummies from South Korean confectionery company Weeny Beeny.

Given the success of commercializing seasonal celebrations such as Christmas and Halloween, companies will be looking for other such events to commercialize, particularly in new markets. The Hindu celebration of Diwali has potential to be more widely celebrated in countries with growing Hindu populations such as the UK, with companies launching seasonal editions of Indian foods for this event.

“Globalization of Seasonality: Its Impact on Food & Drink” is a new report from Innova Market Insights, which examines this trend through the analysis of new product trends and activity, company analysis and consumer survey data, to demonstrate how this trend is impacting food and drink and to suggest where the future opportunities can be found.