Category Management Handbook

Candy Update: Sweet Stability

The candy category in 2016 looks a whole lot like 2015.

The candy category in 2016 looks a whole lot like 2015.

  • Premium plays well; mainstream, not so much. “The mainstream everyday seems to be at a leveling off place and not really growing at that 3% that we had been used to,” says Cassandra Matos, product director of confection for McLane Co., Temple, Texas. However, Hershey’s Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers Crisper were two mainstream hits in 2016.
  • Stand-up pouches (SUP) still have plenty of room for growth in the c-store channel. “It’s one trend that has continued to resonate with the consumer from a perceived value, perceived portion-control and shareability standpoint,” says Matos.
  • According to IRI figures, some of the strongest c-store dollar and unit increases in nonchocolate have been among brands such as Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish.
  • LTOs are back. New limited-time-only (LTO) items are lining up to launch in late 2016 and early 2017. “They can be very successful if done properly in the store, considering geography and theconsumer, and as long as suppliers don’t go overboard,” she says. That means an extension of a proven item or true innovation, paced to maintain consumer interest and with the right marketing support.
  • Gum is not yet “out of the woods,” says Matos. Witness the 4% drop in c-store gum unit sales in the first half of 2016, according to IRI. Matos is not convinced the industry has done enough to keep gum consumers and bring them back.

“Where we end 2016 will be a really good indicator of how the category will do in 2017,” she says.

Candy Sales

C-store sales, 24 weeks ending June 12, 2016

Source: IRI | * Percent change from a year ago

“The mainstream everyday seems to be at a leveling-off place and not really growing at that 3% that we had been used to.” —Cassandra Matos

View the full 2016 Category Management Handbook

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