Despite the focus on better-for-you, “Bubba” is still alive and well,
and wants soda, chips—and candy.
What’s more, c-store shoppers are buying king- and share-size
versions of candy, said Felix Oliu, center store category director at
Murphy USA, an El Dorado, Arkansas-based chain with more than
1,200 stores in 23 states. “There’s been a migration from standardsize candy to share-size, both in chocolate and non-chocolate,”
Instead of buying, say, a 1.4-ounce chocolate bar for $1.39, many
Murphy’s shoppers are instead opting for a 2.9-ounce size bar for
$1.89, according to Oliu. “Customers like the larger sizes because
they feel it’s a better value,” he said.
Movie tie-ins add excitement and appeal to candy brands. In
partnership with Marvel, Wrigley has introduced the “Originals
versus Sours” promotion. Consumers are encouraged to choose sides
with Iron Man or Captain America before they face off in Marvel’s
“Captain America: Civil War,” opening in theaters on May 6.
Consumers pick sides by purchasing original or sour products via
in-store displays. If they buy five participating product packs, they
receive a code for a free movie ticket (a $10 value).
Running through July 31, the promotion includes original and
sour flavor varieties across Wrigley’s biggest brands, including
Skittles, Starburst, Juicy Fruit, Orbit and Eclipse. It’s supported with
advertising, social media engagement, displays, shopper marketing
support and a custom microsite ( originalorsour.com) for tracking
CandyRific, meanwhile, is tying its candies in with five movies this
year: “Captain America: Civil War,” “Finding Dory,” “Trolls,” “Moana”
and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” according to Clark Taylor, vice
president of sales.
For “Finding Dory,” which will hit theatres in June, CandyRific will
roll out four new interactive candy products featuring key characters
from the movie. The items ship to retail six weeks prior to the movie
release. And for the “Trolls” movie in November, CandyRific will
introduce six to seven different interactive products to match the
characters in the movie.
CandyRific is selective in aligning its product offerings with
movies that are a wholesome selection for kids, teens
and their parents, Taylor said. Fun and wholesome
characters and the studios’ marketing programs
are a great resource to CandyRific’s retailer sell-through results, and movie tie-ins benefit c-stores
by boosting frequency of consumer visits, he added.
“Taking advantage of movie tie-ins
will increase turns and gross sales on
novelty,” Taylor said.
Sours are driving category
growth in non-chocolate chewy,
which increased 7% in 2015 versus
2014, according to Lisa Eustic,
marketing director at Promotion In Motion
Companies. Sour specifically grew 13.1%, she
added, and is showing no signs of slowing
down. Trends within the niche include fun
shapes and sizes, and colors and pucker play a
major role in consumer purchasing decisions.
“Sour confection is an exciting category to be in
right now,” Eustic said. “The name of the game has
always been fun.” Promotion in Motion’s Sour Jacks
wedge-shaped sours come in watermelon, wildberry,
lemonade and green apple flavors. “Our ‘Respect the
Wedge!’ slogan speaks to the core demo of young
adults, and a strong social presence gets us on that
interactive level with our key consumer,” Eustic said.
Mondelēz International has worked to expand
sour candy occasions by introducing new flavors,
package types and seasonal products. For instance, it
has rolled out “king-size” and “big-size” Sour Patch
packaging for the on-the-go consumer. It is also
leveraging seasonal candy windows with items such
as its first Valentine’s Day Sour Patch packs.
While pegged candy is doing well, the stand-up
pouch is gaining popularity in c-stores, possibly due
to the growth of the unwrapped bite-size segment.
Mars Chocolate offers stand-up pouches for several
of its brands, including M&M’s, Snicker’s and Twix.
At one time, stand-up pouches were mostly a
grocery, drug store or mass-produced item. But now
there’s more distribution in c-stores as consumers
look for packages they can take home or enjoy in
the car during long trips, said Larry Lupo, Mars
Chocolate’s vice president of sales for the grocery,
convenience and drug channels.
Many stand-up pouches are resealable, giving
consumers greater control over portion sizes. It also
gives consumers the ability to store the rest of the
candy for later. “C-stores should offer these larger
bags to capitalize on fill-in trips for consumers,”
Carol Angrisani is a New York-based writer who has
been covering the food and beverage industries for more
than 20 years. Visit her on Twitter at @carolangrisani1.