How Sour It Is!

Apparently the sour candy consumer base likes to pucker up and tell.

The beauty of the sour business, from a marketer’s perspective, is that it isn’t best savored alone. Kids either dare other kids to see if they can handle the extreme sourness of a particular sour candy, or they’re encouraging their parents and older siblings to “just try it.” This “pucker of mouth” advertising is partly what has helped the category grow so quickly. The challenge now is to keep the younger set happy with peak sour experiences, while at the same time catering to the expanded base of older consumers who are enjoying a more sophisticated sour treat.
The Imperatives
As a young adult/adult sours category emerges, merchandising and marketing differentiation will be key for retailers looking to capitalize on the expanded sales and profit potential. By now it should be clear that sours will always be a mainstay of non-chocolate candy connoisseurs.  On the one taste bud, it will continue to get more extreme with more interactivity, and on the other taste bud, it will get softer with more elegant packaging.
The teens/tweens segment — the fastest-growing group in the country, along with the over-50 set — cannot be overlooked here either. This segment has had a huge amount of buying power in recent years. The less expensive, extremely sour toy-like candy appeals more to young kids, and sour candy “mints” in tins or chews in standard rolls appeal more to young adults. Teens and tweens, however, overlap both groups a bit, while commanding items targeted specifically to them — items that are hip, but not babyish or too sophisticated.
Sour candy manufacturers know that the lifeblood of the category’s success comes from continuous new product introductions, and so they keep them coming — at both ends of the spectrum. Sour makers keep pushing the limits — not only on the sour flavor itself — both strong and mild — but also in the delivery system used — whether it’s sprayed, sucked, licked, worn around the neck, chewed, bitten off, or a combination thereof — they’ve got it covered.
With imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, sours has a lot of backing, not only in this country where almost all non-chocolate candies have some form of a sour version, but in other countries as well. And this is expected to continue more fiercely in Canada and Europe; apparently, the Netherlands is already very big on sours, as one of the first to jump on the U.S. lead. Experts predict that the category will continue to get more magical in interactivity, packaging and “mouth surprise.”

Merchandising Musts
Show off the sour "toys."
Building special sour sections or end caps for the kids should be a no-brainer by now. Many retailers create four-foot sections combining novelty toy/sour items right at kids’ eye level. Some are incorporating shippers that are designed approximately at a kid’s height, either adjacent to the toy department or on a floor display near the checkout. Special seasonal cross-merchandising shippers or clip-strips should not be forgotten either. Holidays are when kids typically have extra spending money and are most likely to buy for other kids, especially if the price is low enough, as well as to treat themselves.
Give the adults intermingled sour space.
Remember that with the older generation, sour candy should not be segregated because they most likely will not go looking for it. But if they tried it and liked it, then see it in the gum and mints section, packaged with an obvious adult appeal, they will make a purchase.