NPD: How to make him/her/they fall in love with you this Valentine’s Day

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Go big, go indulgent with the treats to celebrate Valentine's (or Galentine's) Day. Pic: GettyImages/Eleganza
Go big, go indulgent with the treats to celebrate Valentine's (or Galentine's) Day. Pic: GettyImages/Eleganza

Related tags Valentine's day

Birds Bakery is showing the love with a limited edition range of treats to share with that special someone; Royal Lancaster London is hosting an extra special Valentine’s Afternoon Tea; and Bridor is dialing up the flavor – and therefore the swoons. But there's so much more...

Love is in the air for some shoppers, however, 27% have no plans to celebrate the most romantic day of the year, according to the January Consumer Digest from 84.51°, the retail data science, insights and media company helping Kroger and its partners create customer-centric shopper journeys.

For the romantics, though, here’s who they’re shopping for:

  • 54% will splurge on their spouse or significant other
  • 32% will submit to pester power and indulge their offspring
  • 11% bring their moggies into the fray with special I Love You treats
  • 10% will buy for other relatives
  • Only 9% will treat themselves

Consumers will find gift inspiration through mass retail stores (52%), online searches (37%) and grocery stores (33%).

Here's a roundup of some of the indulgent treats they could be buying:

Gingerbread Valentine person, billionaire shortbread and more


Birds Bakery is showing the love with a limited edition range of treats to share with that special someone.

The East Midlands bakery is inviting lovebirds across the nation to set the diet aside and for one perfect day, indulge in its Billionaire Shortbread (£1.65), a Gingerbread Valentine Person (£2.15) or a Chocolate Orange Frog (£1).

UK-wide delivery is available on 14 February through the bakery’s online delivery service and includes a selection of Milk Chocolate Hearts or Pink and White Chocolate Hearts (both £1.35), which include a layer of Bird’s strawberry Belgian chocolate.

“We love bringing joy and happiness to our customers throughout the year but Valentine’s Day is an extra special day to share the love,” said director of strategy Jamie Bird.

“We believe that people are the heartbeat of our business, from the bakers and chocolatiers who create the products to the loyal customers that come through our doors. This range is a token of our love and gratitude.”

Birds Bakery operates 61 stores across Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire.

Valentine’s afternoon tea

Jo Loves

Royal Lancaster London – and its talented executive pastry chef, Scott Villacora – is hosting an extra special Valentine’s Afternoon Tea until 18 February.

Passed down through the centuries, the much-loved British institution has been reimagined with a Valentine’s twist by the hotel’s team – complete with a Jo Loves inspired Mango Thai Lime macaron. Guests will also be gifted a 2ml sample of Jo Loves fragrance.

The Valentines Afternoon Tea is served between 1pm-4pm and costs £45 per person (Monday to Friday) or £49pp (February 14, and Saturday and Sunday).

Love your heart

Naturipe’s blueberry production is shifting into high gear with its annual FeBLUEary campaign.

The campaign is benchmarked by improved quality of berries, ramped-up innovation in breeding, growing and packaging, and increased prioritization of sustainability throughout the business.

This month, peak supplies of berries will primarily come from Naturipe growers in Chile and will be supplemented by blueberries from Mexico and Peru. Regardless of their origin, this year’s blueberry crop has exceptional quality, thanks to Naturipe’s leadership in breeding and growing techniques.


“The heart-health benefits of blueberries are top of mind for people at the beginning of the year and our growers have worked to ensure that when shoppers head into their local grocery store, these delicious and good-for-you berries will be the best fresh fruit they’ll find,” said Jim Roberts, president of Sales.

As the world’s largest grower of blueberries, Roberts said, “FeBLUEary is the perfect way to formally kick off our efforts with the industry. The care that our growers put into their fresh fruit, combined with the commitment to breeding high-quality berries and introducing innovative sustainability practices, is what the new era of berries is all about.”

Blueberries are a perfect snack on their own, but even better when used to invigorate a bake like muffins. Just add a cup of Naturipe blueberries into your favorite recipe, top with a cream cheese topping and more blueberries, because you can.

Thornton’s celebration cakes


Really getting into the indulgent mood is Finsbury Food Group with a fresh look for two of its most decadent celebration cakes.

Valentine’s is synonymous with chocolate, so its chocolate sponge – which is covered by a chocolate buttercream ganache and decorated with chocolate curls and Thorntons chocolates – is sure to delight.

Or how about a slight variation? The caramel version features caramel ganache covered by caramel buttercream and decorated with caramel curls and Thorntons chocolates.

Then there are the cupcakes (both chocolate and toffee), featuring an oozy center (chocolate or caramel sauce) and topped with frosting and chocolate curls or buttercream and fudge pieces.

Then thinking ahead, the company has launched its Easter M&M brownies, rocking bunny ears, layers of chocolate and an M&M topping.

The celebration cakes and cupcakes are available now from Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco, while the M&M Brownies will roll out in Asda and Tesco from February 22.

Exclusive Lunar New Year pop-up


Walker’s Shortbread has taken up residence at London Gatwick this month with a Lunar New Year-themed activation to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. 

The family-run business – in partnership with travel experience player Avolta – has taken over an experiential retail space inside the World Duty Free store in the North Terminal to encourage passengers to ‘share the joy of shortbread’.

It follows Walker’s festive pop-up at Heathrow Airport, when passenger numbers exceeded 6.6 million. Passenger numbers through Gatwick this month are expected to hit 740k.

Passengers will be able to browse the Walker’s range and receive complimentary shortbread samples and postcards, which bring to life the company’s heritage and provenance. Based in the Scottish Highlands, Walker’s was founded in 1898 and has expanded over the years. Four times winner of the Queen's Award for Export Achievement, Walker’s today exports its distinctively packaged luxury bakery products to more than 80 countries. 

Visitors to the pop-up who spend over £18 will receive a gift packet of red envelopes emblazoned with a golden dragon design – a Lunar New Year tradition that involves gifting money in a red envelope, symbolising good wishes and luck for the new year ahead.

“Lunar New Year is about celebrating new beginnings and bringing loved ones together, so there’s a real synergy with shortbread which is shared with family and friends the world over, particularly during times of celebration,” said head of Commercial Strategy Bryony Walker.

“Walker’s is a Scottish brand, but we have a truly global reach with customers from across the world. It’s important to us that we share in special moments which mean something to our customers, honouring our own heritage while respecting and celebrating the customs and traditions of the different markets in which we’re sold.”

Enhance the sharing experience with ice cream and cookie pairings


Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) is so much more than just chocolate and candy, as Cheryl's Cookies is demonstrating with its new foray into the ice cream market.

Far from a chilly shoulder, the initial release features four ice cream flavors inspired by Cheryl’s most popular cookies, each carefully paired with cookies.

Crafted with the same passion and commitment that has defined Cheryl's Cookies for decades, the gourmet collection promises to elevate the dessert experience for all ice cream enthusiasts.

The collection includes a cupcake-inspired ice cream adorned with cookie dough, brownie bits and sprinkles, and paired with a celebration sprinkle cupcake. A mint-infused ice cream – embellished with chocolate cookie pieces and fudge swirls – sits alongside a chocolate mint cookie.

A sweet cream ice cream – complemented by the crunch of chocolate sandwich cookie pieces – is paired with a cookies and cream cookie; and last but not least, a chocolate ice cream is generously infused with chocolate chunks, and comes with a chocolate obsession cookie.

“This expansion into the ice cream market is a natural progression for Cheryl's Cookies. It not only broadens our product offerings, but also enhances our ability to cater to the diverse tastes of our customers,” said Joseph Rowland, group president, Gourmet Foods & Gift Baskets.

“Introducing this product aims to elevate dessert choices and foster connections for an enhanced shared experience."

Additionally, Cheryl’s Cookies has launched a Cookie & Ice Cream Sandwich Making Kit., which allows fans to unleash their own creativity, while its ‘Choose Your Own Treats’ gift box lets customers personalize their gifts.

In love with fitness


SCI-MX – a leading name in sports nutrition – has expanded its lineup with the launch of the Protein Blondie, specially designed for those in love with their bodies.

Offering fitness enthusiasts a guilt-free way to meet their protein goals, the blondie takes the brand’s original brownie to new heights, incorporating white chocolate chips and a soft and gooey texture that makes it feel like a real treat. Each 65g serving is also power-packed with 20g of protein.

What sets the Protein Blondie apart is its commitment to a balanced nutritional profile, carefully formulated to meet the UK Government’s HFSS regulations. With only 259 calories, 2.5g of saturates and a mere 2.0g of sugar per serving, it’s the perfect protein-packed pre- or post-workout snack that won’t compromise on macronutrient targets.

“Crafting a product for fitness enthusiasts is not just about meeting their nutritional needs; it’s about understanding their commitment to a healthy lifestyle,” said new product developer Parminder Singh.

“We chose every ingredient meticulously so that it not only meets high standards of taste but is backed by science, aligning with consumers' nutritional goals and preferences. It’s a synergy that fuels the body and the passion for wellness.”

Available online and through select retailers, including Home Bargains and Amazon, the Blondie has an RRP of £1.25 or £14.99 (12-count).

Gluten-free confetti cake

Just Love

Ensuring that everyone can share the love, Just Love has launched its first large gluten-free celebration cake.

The Confetti Cake is gluten-, milk- and nut-free and serves 16, making it a centerpiece worthy of any occasion – but especially the day that celebrates love.

Just Love’s consumer research showed that families with a coeliac or gluten intolerant child typically despair of the choice available to them. Respondents shared a concern that not only are gluten-free variants ‘heavy’ but are often poorly decorated.

The Just Love Confetti Cake consists of three layers of vanilla sponge with a plum and raspberry jam filling, hand finished with vanilla frosting and topped with colorful sugar sprinkles.

Just Love’s research also found that parents love to customize their shop-bought cakes to make them more special. To encourage this creativity, the cake’s packaging – in an industry first – features a QR code to take consumers through to ‘how to’ TikToks and Pinterest boards flowing with ideas. The Just Love website also features a range of cake toppers available to purchase.

This is only the second gluten free cake to be produced by Just Love, hot on the heels of the Happy Birthday Cake, which won first place in the Baking Industry Awards’ Free From category in November 2023.

The Confetti Cake contains no artificial colors or flavorings, contains RSPO-certified Palm Oil and is hand finished at its nut-, peanut- and milk-free factory in Blackwell.

Available exclusively in Waitrose stores for an RRP of £16.



French bakery manufacturer Bridor has dialed up the flavor – and therefore the swoons – with its six-strong Intense Flavour Macarons range.

Manufactured to combine the traditional aspects of French pâtisserie with modern and vibrant flavors, macarons are characterised by their crispy outer shell and gooey center.

Bridor’s latest research reveals almost 20% of European consumers admit to eating macarons regularly, with 64% considering them as high-end products. Furthermore, 51% admit to enjoying macarons at events and parties.

“With our latest research indicating that macarons are a much-loved delicacy across Europe, we are proud to have developed the range to enhance our customer’s offerings,” said Erwan Inizan, UK sales director.

“The unique, intense flavours of the new macarons will impress diners and reflect our dedication to showcasing the bakery cultures of the world.”

The delicate shells of Bridor’s macarons – made with French meringue and finely ground almonds – encase a soft centre of either whipped ganache or fruit purée, which harmonise with the rich almond flavour. Combining distinct flavours and naturally achieved bold colours, the range comprises Lemon-Lime, Morello Cherry, Pineapple & Coconut, Apple & Cinnamon, Vanilla & Yuzu and Chocolate & Fleur de sel.

Available to foodservice operators and caterers looking to enhance buffets, cater to events and amplify dessert offerings.

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