In today’s economy, showcasing your “value” is as important as staying current with what’s trendy.
“Indulging on an impulse item has to be at a reasonable price point,” says Keane Tsu, creative director at Au’some Inc. “Our approach to this is to find licenses that support and drive our own brand names.”
Based in Monmouth Junction, N.J., Au’some is expanding its 3-Dees gummies collection to include shapes from the Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda franchises as well as a new line called GigaBites under the same license. GigaBites are crunchy, chewy candy, derived from the fruit snack line, packaged as a penguin or panda. The 3-Dees gummies are fully three-dimensional pieces unlike the old gummi bears with flat backs.
And to add to its Klik line, which shoots out candy, Au’some has developed a PlayStation Move Klik candy dispenser the company hopes will revive the success of its Wii Klik.
“The attention span of our target audience is diminished by the minute,” Tsu notes. “Therefore a successful novelty trend does not necessarily have to match up with a successful license.
He points out that as these items have become more and more expensive to produce, “value” really is the biggest trend.
Value and simplicity are the dominant trends in confection, agrees Janet Sconza Angers. As director of its marketing, she says Sconza Candy Co., of Oakdale, Calif., which has been making jawbreakers since the late 1940s has taken their product to the next level by placing it on a stick. The company is extending this line next year with a Halloween and Christmas variation.
Big Bruiser Jawbreaker on a Stick “is a really cool item with kids and for the adults,” she continues. “The nostalgic heritage of jawbreakers takes us back to a time and place that was truly memorable and a time when life seemed simpler.”
It’s a great value, adds Angers, providing “literally days of fun and joy.” She notes the “nice growth” within the novelty category and says these items are always popular with consumers.
“Simply, by definition, the novelty candy category has to be based on trends, fads and pop-culture,” adds Philip Brilliant, of Koko’s Confectionery & Novelty. “It’s a never-ending effort conceiving and developing the latest novelty confection.”
The Cockeysville, Md.-based novelty candy company has a number of products under the ICEE and Cold Stone Creamery brands. “Our ICEE is bold flavors with iconic packaging with candy that is fun to eat – just like the real ICEE,” says Brilliant, vice president of licensing and marketing.
Around February, the company will launch ICEE Squeeze Candy in green apple, cherry and blue raspberry; ICEE Spray Candy in cherry, lemonade and blue raspberry; and ICEE Fizzing Lollipops in all four flavors.
Earlier this year, Au’some debuted its new Ooze Pops, a fruit flavored lollipop that oozes fruit-flavored candy gel that’s stored in the handle.
For CandyRific LLC, based in Louisville, Ky., it’s all about keeping up with what’s happening. “We’re sort of … the fashion guys,” says President Rob Auerbach. “We look to see what’s going on with the rest of the world.”
The company, which is mainly licensed-driven, looks at what movies or television shows are going to be sustainable. “Generally, a successful TV series like SpongeBob is better than a successful movie,” Auerbach adds. “A good license can be great. A license that’s not so great can create excess inventory.”
For instance, he expects next year’s sequel to the Disney hit “Cars” to be a success and he plans to have candies in conjunction with the movie’s release.
Imaginings 3/Flix Candy, of Niles, Ill., also plan to offer “Cars II” novelties including Mater Teeth Lips Pops with playing cards to collect and Lollipop Ups with removable cars that roll in four different characters. Both are available in blue raspberry, green apple and watermelon.
But to help bring in profits in between hit movies, companies like CandyRific use licensed products that have a constant presence in the marketplace, such as with the M&M’S characters and Star Wars, Auerbach notes. That’s why after the first of the year, CandyRific is offering four products under its Star Wars line including a child-safe candy fan, coin bank and nine-inch candy dispenser, each topped with a M&M’S character dressed as a character from Star Wars. It is also offering a Star Wars Light Up Light Saber.
For Valentine’s Day, CandyRific has four different colored M&M’S Valentine’s Candy Dispensers, which work like a coin bank dispensing M&M’S candies, and tins shaped like lips or a heart featuring playful Valentine themes and including M&M’S.
For Easter, there will be an Easter Light Up Fan with a chick or duck on top a working child-safe fan with the handle containing Microbites Candies as well as M&M’S Egg Dispensers, in two sizes.
Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of the Topps Co., is tapping into the success of their top-selling Baby Bottle Pop candy line with the launch of Baby Bottle Pop Rattlerz candy. Shaped like a rattle, it features a lollipop encased in a clear globe with crunchy candies that create a percussive sound when shaken. It will debut in January at convenience and national drug stores in berry blast and strawberry flavors.
John Budd, vice president of marketing at Bazooka, says a comprehensive online and television promotion will begin in February. The packaging will include a special code enabling kids to log onto BabyBottlePop.Com, which features a musical environment and downloadable MP3s from the Kicking Daisies and Razor & Tie’s Mathias Anderle.
Other companies are looking to help the environment and domestic market. “We are doing some stuff that is more consumable,” says Mike Cavalier, vice president of sales and marketing at Imaginings 3/Flix Candy.
There’s also a drive to be more domestic, he adds. Noting the skepticism of oversees products, he says, “There’s a desire to make domestic products from an environmentally conscience perspective and trustworthy perspective.” For instance, the company is trying to get the plastic parts to its novelty candies, including the products centering on “Cars II,” to be made in the U.S.A. as well. I
maginings 3/Flix Candy also has come out with Ice Cream Pops in rainbow sherbet, mint chocolate chip and banana split.
Health and wellness also are becoming a trend in the novelty area, says Budd of Bazooka. “Parents are looking for healthier options for their kids,” he adds. That’s why the company has had a test run of its sugar-free ring pops, made with Splenda, only at Wal-Mart Stores. Since the product has done well, the company plans to try out other venues.
Koko’s also has launched sugar-free lines for all their brands, as well. Brilliant says the interest comes from parents wanting to limit sugar intake, to cater to those with diabetes, and most importantly, from retail buyers. “It’s extremely important for retailers to carry a variety of confections for ancillary sales,” he says.