CHICAGO -- Mars Inc. has revealed that Extra Refreshers, its newest new sugar-free gum product, will arrive at retailers nationwide in April.
The square-shaped gum comes in three flavors: Spearmint, Polar Ice and Tropical Mist, all of which will be available in 40-count bottles and 120-count stand-up pouches for suggested retail prices of $3.49 and $7.69, respectively. Extra Refreshers is the first soft chew gum added to the Extra portfolio, according to Mars.
- Click here to read Mars Wrigley’s best practices for merchandising candy in convenience stores.
Sugar-free gum was at the forefront of the category’s sales in 2018. The better-for-you option accounted for 85% of total retail gum sales, while traditional gum garnered the other 15%, according to research firm Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md.
"For almost 40 years, Extra Gum has been committed to providing long-lasting flavor that gum chewers crave,” said Justin Hollyn-Taub, marketing director for the Mars Extra Gum brand. “Given how fast soft chew is growing and with Extra as the No. 1 gum brand in the U.S., this new innovation is poised to become one of the most popular items in the confections aisle and a key driver for category growth. Consumers who have tried the new gum love it, and we are excited for it to hit shelves nationwide this April.”
This marks Extra's first product launch since it released Extra Chewy Mints in March 2018. Mars will support the Extra Refreshers launch with a full-scale marketing campaign this spring, including TV, print, online and in-store advertisements.
"When we set out to develop a new line of Extra Gum, we wanted to create a totally new gum experience,” said Hollyn-Taub. “So we went to work examining how to deliver a new refreshing experience for both your mouth and mind. Feedback so far has been outstanding. Those who tried it reported Extra Refreshers gum gave them an intense burst of flavor that left them feeling instantly revived.”
McLean, Va.-based Mars Inc. is a global manufacturer with more than $35 billion in sales. Besides Extra, the brands in its Mars Wrigley Confectionery division include M&M's, Snickers, Dove, Milky Way, Twix, Doublemint and Skittles.
CHICAGO -- Gone are the days of breakfast, lunch and dinner being consumers’ only meals of the day. People are increasingly snacking to cure their hunger, and they don’t seem to be stopping. More than half of consumers (55%) snack between meals at least twice a day—a 5% increase compared to two years ago, according to the 2018 Snacking Consumer Trend Report by CSP sister research firm Technomic. This year brought an onslaught of new snack and candy trends to retailers, some that may continue drawing customers down treat aisles in 2019.
Here are five snack and candy trends that could set the stage for next year …
Private-label snacks have already emerged in large c-store chains, giving these brands an opportunity to compete with their counterparts.
In March 2018, 7-Eleven expanded its line of packaged bakery items with the 7-Select private-label sweet bread. The bread, which was available for a limited time only, came in three varieties: Panquecitos, miniature vanilla loaf cakes; Roles de Canela, cinnamon rolls with raisins; and Panque con Nuez, sliced pound cake with chopped pecans.
Six months later, Yesway launched its newest private-label products, Yesway Candy and Yesway Baked Goods, in Yesway c-stores nationwide. Yesway Candy features loose-bag candies such as Mini Sour Gummi Worms and Gummi Bears, while Yesway Baked Goods features Powdered Donut Holes, Blueberry Muffins and fried pies.
Tortilla chips are dominating c-store salty snacks. The category garnered more than $1 billion in sales—good for a 10.8% increase compared to 2017—making up a fifth of the entire salty snack segment, according to data from Chicago-based research firm IRI. Cheese snacks were the only snack segment to come close to tortilla chips in terms of growth, yet the category still fell behind by more than 3%.
Popular tortilla chip brands this year included Doritos’ Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy (up 875% from 2017), Paqui (up 163%), Barcel Takis (up 63%), El Sabroso Guacachips (up 23%) and El Sabroso Salsitas (up 20%). Highlighting these brands, as well as other tortilla chip labels, may spark the snacking category altogether.
Between January and October 2017, cannabidiol, or CBD, candies accounted for nearly 11% of the total candy market in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, according to Boulder, Colo.-based research firm BDS Analytics. Moreover, CBD candy grew by nearly 170% in 2017, compared to 51% for candy overall.
CBD operators are channeling consumers’ interests in cannabis by infusing various candies with CBD, which doesn't contain the psychoactive element tetrahydrocannabino (THC). CBD products entering the c-store market include Hemptail, a flavored malt beverage made with Hemp; Instant CBD strips; and CBD Lollipops.
The U.S. chocolate market is expected to reach about $23 billion in total retail sales by the end of 2018, according to research firm Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md., and it doesn't appear to be slowing down. This is partially due to the emergence of premium chocolate—products that sway from traditional chocolate bars, the research firm said.
New premium chocolate products have emerged in c-stores this year, such as Mars Wrigley Confectionery's new line of chocolate-covered nuts for its Dove brand or the Hershey Co.’s Dipped Pretzels line, which debuted at the recent 2018 NACS Show. More recently, Mars Wrigley rebranded its American Heritage Chocolate (AHC) products, such as a Gourmet Hot Cocoa, Finely Grated Chocolate, Tablet Bars and Tasting Squares.
Nonchocolate candies such as sour worms, jelly beans and gummy bears are surging. Packaged Facts foresees total retail dollar sales of the sector hitting $11 billion by the end of the year, with sales having increased 3% from 2013 to 2018.
Specifically, sour candies have erupted in the nonchocolate category this year. Products such as Mike and Ike Mega Sour Mix, Trolli Sour Brite All Star Mix and Sour Punch Wild Bites all debut at the 2018 NACS show, ready to arrive in c-stores in 2019. These lip-puckering treats may be help spark continued growth in the candy segment for c-store operators next year.
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