Consumers crave bold flavors, packaging variety
Consumers never tire of candy. Euromonitor data indicates that U.S. dollar sales for chocolate increased 19% between 2007 and 2012, and non-chocolate sales were up 17%. Euromonitor and the National Confectioners Association expect solid growth in the next five years, with the category “adding more than $6 billion in sales between 2013 and 2018.”
(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)
While chocolate sales will continue to be strong, non-chocolate is the segment to watch in 2014. Modest increases in the cost of cocoa could increase the price of finished chocolate, at the same time non-chocolate prices could dip due to a decrease in the price of sugar. “That could give non-chocolate a pricing edge in the coming year,” said Jenn Ellek, a spokeswoman for the NCA. “There’s an opportunity for retailers to give extra attention to their displays of pegged non-chocolate confections at great prices, while still leveraging the solid sales that chocolate items bring to the table.”
Bold and indulgent flavors, such as a savory and sweet mixes, and the crossover between snacks and confections are recent examples of category homeruns.
Jelly Belly’s Tabasco-flavored jelly beans were a hit last year. “They’re quite spicy and attract a more male consumer,” said Tomi Holt, a spokeswoman for the brand. The company plans to introduce another new, edgy flavor in January.
Unwrapped, bite-sized confections also are a high-growth segment. Mars is adding new sizes to two of its M&M’s flavors: M&M’s Brand Mint Dark Chocolate in a laydown bag and M&M’s Brand Peanut Butter Candies in an 8-oz. stand-up pouch. “Consumers are scooping up these flavor variations, and these new pack types will drive incremental sales and bring growth to the category,” said Larry Lupo, VP sales for the convenience and drug channels at Mars Chocolate North America.
Seasonal sales represent more than half of confection sales for the drug channel, according to Lupo. “Retailers need to incorporate seasonal merchandising and secondary displays to merchandise the category to its best advantage,” he said.
NCA’s Ellek said it is important for retailers to plan ahead with effective seasonal merchandising. “Start early and promote often,” she said. She also cautioned against marking down too early since eleventh-hour holiday sales are huge for the drug channel.
Blue Diamond survey spotlights health resolutions for the New Year
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Blue Diamond Growers, an almond processing and marketing company, announced the results of a recent national survey by Harris Interactive which provided a closer look at Americans’ New Year’s resolutions.
Nearly 75% of Americans will focus on healthier eating and improving fitness, according to the survey. The results also revealed that almost a quarter of Americans will ultimately fail to keep those resolutions for more than three months.
“It is encouraging to see people moving away from wanting to lose weight just for the sake of losing weight,” Ashley Koff, R.D., Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze and Nut Thins Brand Ambassador, said. “These results show that Americans want to take an active role in improving their health and wellness, but need a little guidance on how to make sustainable changes.”
Respondents reported that the top challenges to sticking to their resolutions to be more health-conscious are avoiding sweets (59%) and not wanting to sacrifice taste when turning to healthier food options (58%). Over 50% of respondents recognized that small changes in their diets would yield big health changes.
“The reason most people abandon their health and wellness resolutions is that they realize a change needs to be made, but don’t know the exact steps to take to make that happen,” Koff said. “Adopting a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean you should abandon your favorite comfort foods; it just means making small changes and experimenting with better-for-you ingredients."
Almond Breeze is hosting the "Breeze into the New Year" resolutions generator to help consumers commit to their health and wellness resolutions. The generator can be found at Facebook.com/AlmondBreeze.
Reports: Hy-Vee to build 50 in-store restaurants
NEW YORK — Midwestern supermarket chain Hy-Vee will renovate 50 of its stores to include casual dining and cocktails, according to published reports.
The Kansas City, Mo., Star reported that locally based engineering and construction firm Burns & McDonnell had received a $20 million contract from the West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain to build Market Grille and Market Café restaurants in the stores.
According to the Des Moines, Iowa, Register, the Market Grille locations are full-service restaurants with waiters who serve various entrees and cocktails, while Market Café includes a smaller food menu and beer and wine.
Hy-Vee’s plans include 10 Market Grille restaurants and 40 Market Café locations. The upgrades will be at stores in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota and South Dakota, with construction scheduled for next month.