Halloween And The Scary Lack of FMCG Innovation

October 31, 2018


Be afraid… be very afraid. Americanisation of Halloween is now all but inevitable in the UK, and the FMCG market doesn’t seem in any hurry to get creative and step out on its own. While spending on Halloween has been increasing in the UK - with £419m being spent in 2018, up 5% year on year¹ – innovation in the food and drink sector remains lacklustre at best. Most of the ghoulish products are re-purposed old favourites, such as ‘Goo Heads’ Crème Eggs and Haribo’s TangfasTricks. So why is Halloween product development so tricky?

The cost of innovation and the failure rate are powerful deterrents. In 2017 alone, £30.4m was lost through failed product launches in the UK grocery retail sector.² Brands are reluctant to take the risk on truly novel innovations, as any leftover stock from failed NPD would be quickly swamped by Christmas products. The essence of Halloween is the trick-or-treating, which often involves the bulk purchase of low cost items to share with an ever growing number of trick-or-treaters. As such the items purchased are often chosen because they are familiar to the buyer and the trick-or-treater.



Where innovation is attempted, it seems the unappealing ‘ghastly’ aesthetic Halloween demands makes NPD difficult.  Take ASDA’s ‘Monster Meltdown’ pizza topped with black ‘slime’ (barbecue sauce), it certainly doesn’t look attractive and can only market itself on novelty value.  Is it any surprise the more obvious product innovation at this time of year is geared towards the autumnal, hygge, pumpkin-spiced vibe?

Is the sector content to stick with same old familiar products and leave innovation to other ‘less risky’ customary dates and holidays? Is there a consumer appetite for products that better capture the spirit of ghouls, ghosts and goblins? With the popularity of Halloween growing exponentially, wouldn’t it be great to see some fantastical products to celebrate this?


Impact specialises in helping companies to ensure their product portfolio remains in tune with the needs of today’s consumer, whether this is through extensions to complement the existing range or innovations that ultimately help re-shape and inform the category. If you’d like to explore your business challenges and potential opportunities with us, get in touch at +44 (0)1932 226 793 or email info@impactmr.com



¹ Mintel, 2018. GETTING INTO THE SPIRIT OF THINGS: BRITS SET TO SPEND NEARLY £420 MILLION ON HALLOWEEN IN. [ONLINE] www.mintel.com. Available at: http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/retail-press-centre/getting-into-the-spirit-of-things-brits-set-to-spend-nearly-420-million-on-halloween-in-2018 [Accessed 23rd October 2018].
² New Food, 2017. Failed product launches cost UK grocery sector £30.4. [ONLINE] www.newfoodmagazine.com. Available at: https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/46262/failed-product-launches/ [Accessed 23rd October 2018].


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