With Halloween approaching, food suppliers are being advised to plan for the specific needs of target shoppers, a report shows.

Category management and shopper marketing specialist Bridgethorne says that suppliers need to identify and prioritise their shopper messages and ensure they are delivered at the right time throughout the shopper journey.

Researcher Mintel is quoted in the report stating the importance of Halloween and that brands should exploit its potential by developing targeted ‘activation plans’.

“Halloween has become a key calendar date for shoppers, brands and retailers, not least because it spans multiple categories,” explains John Nevens, joint managing director, Bridgethorne.

“We are seeing a whole range of occasion-based projects emerging from pork, pumpkin and black treacle sausages, to creepy cakes and pumpkin-shaped chocolates.

“Given that Halloween sales grew to £320m last year, it’s essential to have plans in place to give you the best opportunity to get your products into shoppers’ baskets.”

Nevens believes that there is more that brands could be doing to fully understand the motivations around Halloween shopping.

“There is a great deal of opportunism about Halloween shopping; adding themed products to your basket at the last minute for your own celebrations or for trick or treaters,” he explained.

“If brands understood the shopper’s thought process more clearly and the influence placed on them by others in their households, they could more effectively structure their activity to align with it.”

Nevens says using insights on real shopper behaviour to inform a supplier’s shopper marketing strategy both online and in-store, can identify the right mechanics that are going to resonate with those shoppers as part of any activation plan.

“Shopper insight and research is an important way of optimising the shopping experience and in doing so improving incremental weight of purchase,” he concludes.