CandyRific knows a little bit about novelty products. The Louisville, Ky.-based company has straddled the line between candy and toys for more than two decades, working with familiar cultural brands such as Star Wars, Disney, Minions, baby shark and more.

But Clark Taylor, senior vice president for CandyRific, says the company’s products, which range from branded, push-button fans to character-shaped candy and packaging, are less about the confectionery and more about fun.

“Don’t lean in as much on your name brands,” he says to retailers. “Consumers are looking for a bit of excitement and variety. Offer the excitement. … Whoever is coming in to buy Hershey candy knows it’s there [in your store] and are going to keep coming in. [But you can]
surprise them, find a way to get that extra dollar out of their pocket.”

CandyRific also works with candymaker Mars on fun-shaped packaging, a partnership that has paid dividends for both companies.

“As consumers continue to take to the road as the preferred method of travel, treats [such as M&M’S Minis Tubes] are perfect for long car rides,” says Jim Dodge, vice president of convenience at Mars Wrigley, Newwrk, N.J. “[They] provide the variety that families look for to meet passengers’ needs.”