Product of the Year 2023 spotlight: Mentos Fanta

Flavour fest: Fanta is likely just the beginning for Mentos.

Mentos Fanta is a winning combination of two much-loved brands that has captured the consumer’s attention and bagged a 2023 Product of the Year award.

With exciting new collaborations on the horizon and a £1 million social media campaign poised to go live – we sat down with Mentos Brand Manager, Sarah du Plessis to shine a spotlight on a brand embracing innovation and some high profile collaborations that are hitting the sweet spot…

Sarah du Plessis, Mentos

Can you tell us about your winning product and why it has resonated so well with the consumer

Mentos Fanta is an exciting collaboration bringing two global power brands together.

The limited edition product has really caught the attention with consumers in store with its bright orange packaging – you really can’t miss it!

Mentos Fanta contains the usual crisp outer shell & soft centre that is so recognisable and loved by consumers plus the truly unique and delicious taste of Fanta Orange in a Mentos candy.

It’s the drink you can chew! It was also particularly exciting because it was our first collaboration with another big brand (from a flavour perspective) and bringing together two iconic brands was extremely rewarding.

It’s a product that truly pops and a really successful example of product innovation.

What impact has winning had on the product?

It’s early days – but winning has already had an impact! Product of the Year is a  trusted and recognised award – one of the originals and an award that resonates both with consumers and the trade.

Eight thousand consumers choosing your product is a massive vote of confidence. It’s also given us another reason to shout about how tasty and amazing the product is and to drive further awareness of the brand and product in its second and final year.

It’s already enabling us to have productive conversations with the trade helping to achieve more listings and better distribution.

We’ve also got a big media campaign planned and we can use  the winners logo which definitely has an influence.

Winning is great – but it’s also about how proactive and creative you are in leveraging that win.

It’s really great when you start to see the press coming out – and this year there was a real flurry of coverage and some positive buzz.

Flavour fest: Fanta is likely just the beginning for Mentos.

Are there any particular trends you will be tapping into this year in terms of product innovation?

We are continuing to look at flavour, textures and packaging innovation so we can be clear what our next focus and drive should be.

There is a lot going on in our category with the HFSS legislation which is definitely a challenge.

Part of the Mentos portfolio is now sugar free but at the end of the day we are providing a treat so it’s about providing variety and giving our consumers a choice.

Packaging remains key and we have a sustainability road map to help us achieve our goals.

We will also be launching something potentially ground-breaking next year – but unfortunately I can’t talk about it at the moment!

What are the plans and ambitions for the brand/product in 2023 and beyond?

We have big media campaigns planned! Mentos Fanta will have a £1m above-the-line campaign which includes, OOH Regional branded busses in two cities, influencer activity and sampling going live in August.

In addition Mentos Gum will have a £1.5m media campaign mid-June through to mid-September. 2023 is an important year as we are preparing for another exciting launch in 2024.

What do you think is going to be the biggest development in your category in the next five years?

The Confectionary category continues to innovate at pace and I believe we will see more exotic and unusual flavours and ingredients – expect to see Lychee, Passion Fruit and Pineapple.

We are looking at a new SKU for next year – which will be a category first which is super exciting.

As HFSS legislation continues to embed into the UK  category I am positive that we will see more brands launch sugar-free products as a way to promote and halo off the Masterbrand.

Claims continue to appear on sweets and as consumers look for additional reasons to buy I have no doubt that we will see more health claims appear such as vitamins and a higher percentage of fruit ingredients.

How important is innovation in the confectionery category in terms of keeping up with changing consumer demands?

Innovation in the confectionery category is not just important but vital – as it’s an impulse driven category.

Confectionary is often seen as an affordable little treat and consumers are always looking to try new textures and flavours in sweets and gum. 

The brands that regularly launch limited edition & on trend flavours & concepts tend to perform well within the category.

Do you have any new products that you can tell us about

Sadly we can’t share any specifics with you at this stage but we are working on another fun & fruity concept for Mentos which we hope will launch next year and be a category first.

In addition we are always looking at how we can produce our products in a more sustainable way and with recyclable packaging.

Other than Mentos Fanta, our main focus for this year is supporting the newly re launched Mentos Pure Fresh sugar free Gum which is now available in a bottle made of paper (90% with paper paperboard). 

This launch has been a category first and has enabled us to reduce our Pure Fresh Gum plastic packaging by 93% Watch this space but it’s likely that we will be entering it for Product of the Year 2024!

Describe your winning product in three words

Fruity, fresh and fun!