Candy: Large and in Charge

Retailers navigate growing candy package sizes, pricing

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

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Other manufacturers are moving to a similar variety of packaging. Hershey, Pa.- based The Hershey Co. reports “substantial growth” in the c-store channel over the past few years in unwrapped, bite-size items, says Brian Kavanagh, senior director of category strategy and insights for c-stores at Hershey.

Hershey’s portfolio in this segment includes its Minis portfolio (Reese’s, Rolo and Kit Kat), Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Drops and Twizzlers Bites. Each of these items comes in resealable pouches that work well for on-the-go lifestyles and people who are traveling, Kavanagh says.

“The larger-pack types, particularly the pouches with resealable packaging, has helped grow the c-store take-home business,” Kavanaugh says, “which includes larger items that consumers intend to enjoy over a longer course of time or share with others.”

For 2014, Mars is introducing even larger-sized sharing and stand-up pouches for its 3 Musketeers (a new 6-ounce standup) and M&M’s brands (11.4-ounce bag).

But larger bars also play into the equation, according to Andrew Simmon, business unit manager for the convenience channel for Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co. It offers four flavors of Rice Krispies Treats in big-bar formats, a progression that began three years ago with the latest extensions of Buttery Toffee and Chocolatey Chip coming online in 2012.

Still, Kavanaugh says, while take-home-item sales were up in 2013, impulse items, according to Hershey research, continue to drive the largest portion of c-store sales and remain critical to sustainable c-store channel success.

Ultimately, retailers play an important role, says Fleischer of Promotion in Motion. “The manufacturing community has a number of product offerings that are sure to fit their needs,” he says. “It’s about the right product at the right price.”

Theater in the Store

While the whole idea of size and theater-box packaging may be one way that the movies have snuck into the c-store channel, another way is via licensed and novelty candy.

Rob Auerbach, president of Candyrific, Louisville, Ky., says the opportunity can come in a couple of ways. As a motion picture studio gears up its marketing efforts, it will bombard the public with marketing and advertising campaigns up until the time of the premiere. Retailers can have candy and novelty products tied to the movie on the shelves in the weeks building up to that onscreen debut.

Then, typically, there’s be a drop after the movie opens until DVD sales prompt more marketing efforts, he says.

Still, certain movie characters, such as Disney’s “Toy Story” or “Cars” characters, have more of a longer-term life span, so retailers can carry those licensed items year round.

Going further, Auerbach says retailers catering to a finite market will find their product needs will cycle out after 90 days, simply because the customers in that area would have come in and made a choice to buy or not. For stores next to interstates or travel centers, that buying public is continually changing, thereby allowing for greater product longevity.


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