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Hi-Chew goes grape

BY Allison Cerra

LOS ANGELES Hi-Chew’s line of fruit chews now features a grape flavor.

“Our grape flavor has been a popular treat especially among children in Japan,” said Toshiya Yasuda, president of Morinaga America. “We are confident that by bringing our grape flavor to America, we will not only delight our current fans, [but] we [also] will stimulate more curiosity in trying Hi-Chew fruit chews that will gain us an even greater following after sampling one of our fruity, chewy candies.”

Hi-Chew is available at convenience stores and such retailers as Ralphs grocery stores.

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Pampers taps Barbara Bermudo for unique partnership

BY Allison Cerra

MIAMI Pampers is looking to connect with Hispanic consumers through a partnership with Spanish-language television newscaster Barbara Bermudo.

As part of the deal, Pampers will debut a Spanish-language blog and series of mommy video casts with content that it developed with Bermudo. The new interactive resource will offer Hispanic moms a place to connect with other moms and share useful information to assist with their baby’s development and well-being.

 

"Pampers believes that every baby is precious. We are devoted to offering parents much more than just diapers and baby products. That’s why we are listening to moms to find out what can make the most difference for each mom and her baby," said Pampers VP Jodi Allen. "Bermudo’s understanding of the challenges and worries that Latina moms face, and unique perspective as a journalist and an experienced mom, makes her an ideal partner as we create resources to make things better for every mom and every baby."

 

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Seasonal innovation helps sweeten holiday sales pot

BY Barbara White-Sax

Seasonal candy is a big part of the confectionery category, accounting for one-quarter of the candy category’s $30 billion in annual sales.

The National Confectioners Association expected Halloween candy sales to reach $2.2 billion this year, an increase of 0.8% over last year, and Christmas candy sales to reach $1.4 billion, up 1.4% from 2009.

Drug store retailers felt the effects of the economy in the candy aisles last year. “Chocolate sales were down 4.2% in drug stores for Halloween, but non chocolate sales were up 5%,” said Jenn Ellek, an NCA spokeswoman. “That suggests that consumers were looking for the value buy.” Retailers who offer more value goods will be winners this Halloween season—whether it’s value-priced nonchocolate or discounted chocolate candy.

Leading candy segments

*In millions; total across U.S. food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart) for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 8Source: Infoscan Reviews, SymphonyIRI Group
SEGMENT SALES* %CHG
Chocolate candy box/bag/bar > 3.5 oz. $2,083.94 4.21%
Chocolate candy box/bag/bar < 3.5 oz. 1,048.99 10.84
Nonchocolate chewy candy 903.38 6.89
Chocolate candy, snack size 620.69 3.07
Novelty nonchocolate candy 266.84 1.77
Breath freshener 266.01 -1.01
Hard sugar candy/pkg & roll candy 226.21 2.13
Licorice box/bag 225.57 3.13
Gift box chocolates 222.95 -1.22
Plain mints 144.48 5.65

Chocolate is a bigger part of the Christmas holiday picture, with individually wrapped chocolates and boxed chocolates seeing some of the biggest sales spikes in the year. Novelty candies also have a starring role as stocking stuffers. Thom Blischok, global president of innovation and strategy at SymphonyIRI Group, expected candy to have a big role in gift-giving this holiday season. “It’s been a great year for candy innovation, and consumers will spend on personal treats and affordable stocking stuffers,” he said. “Retailers should be pushing those products.”

Ellek said that the drug channel consistently merchandises the category well—a crucial strategy to boosting sales. “The drug channel does a stellar job with merchandising; it’s a real strength in the market,” Ellek said.

KoKo’s Confectionery and Novelty, which continues to expand its seasonal lineup, offers retailers shelf displays, peg spaces, clip strip aisle additions and free-standing shippers to maximize exposure and impulse purchases. This year, the company’s key novelties are a Christmas candy song card, candy puzzle bracelets and Rudolf ornament tins. The company already has sold out of its gingerbread houses, string pops and Glo Popcifier items. “The Glo Popcifier flies off the shelf,” said Angie Baer, product development manager at KoKo. “Light-up lollipops are a continuous hit in the marketplace.”

Blischok credited Mars with bringing steady innovation to the category. M&M’s pretzel chocolate and cherry cordial varieties, and Santa’s Lil’ Elf chocolate candy dispensers, are expected to be strong sellers this holiday season. Dove Promises Silky Snowflakes, which feature a snowflake design embedded in each chocolate, and the company’s Mixed Heritage Tins, which feature 4 oz. of fun-sized M&M’s, Snickers Minis and Twix Minis, also are key holiday products.

Jelly Belly also has a variety of novelty items that have appeal for the holidays. “The new Jelly Belly crayons will be popular all year, and we are forecasting a sales spike at Christmas since this item also makes a great stocking stuffer,” said Rob Swaigen, VP marketing at Jelly Belly Candy.

Swaigen said seasonal candy should have life after Dec. 25. “We like to offer items that are popular and relevant year-round that also have special appeal for the holidays. New Jelly Belly Cocktail Classics make a perfect holiday gift, party favor and New Year’s celebration treat,” he said.

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