Branding: Mars Drinks widens offering

Mars Drinks has expanded its hot-beverages range with the addition of Maltesers Malty and Galaxy Creamy hot chocolate.

The launch of the drinks, which can be heated in the microwave, follows the roll-out of Moment du Chocolat by the company last year.

The packaging for Maltesers Malty Hot Chocolate contains a treat-sized bag of Maltesers. It carries Maltesers' brand identity, with tendrils added to indicate heat.

Galaxy Creamy Hot Chocolate, which contains a dash of cream, comes with a pack of marshmallows, images of which appear on-pack. The packaging for both drinks has been created by Vibrandt.

The products are being rolled out in Tesco; Mars Drinks is looking to build on the success of Moment du Chocolat, which created a category in the ambient hot chocolate sector. It too launched in Tesco, but is now also available in Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda.

Mars Drinks expanded its drinks portfolio earlier this year with the launch of Starburst drinks, based on its fruit-chews confectionery. It has rebranded Mars Original and Mars Extra Choc as Mars Refuel, and introduced a family-sized one-litre carton, designed by Vibrandt.

It has also relaunched its Bounty drink, based on its chocolate coconut bar, having increased the size of the bottle and boosting the coconut content.

The UK market for hot drinks increased at an average of 0.8% a year between 2001 and 2006, according to Markets and Research. Nestle is the market leader, followed by Premier Foods and the Tata Group.

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