Sparking Seasonal Candy Sales
As I sit down to write this month’s Upfront column, my thoughts have a seasonal bent for a variety of reasons. On the personal front, I’ve recently wrapped up shopping for Easter candy — probably my biggest single foray into candy purchasing each year. Professionally, the topic of seasonal candy has been brought to mind in a number of different ways as well. First of all, Hershey’s Tom Joyce gave a great presentation on seasonal candy trends at the National Confectioners Association’s State-of-the-Industry conference this past February. One of the striking statistics he presented: Seasonal sales account for 28 percent ($2.1 billion) of total annual candy category sales in food, drug and mass merchandise retail outlets. That’s a very substantial slice of the confectionery pie and a great reminder of the attention this segment of the market deserves.
We all know that seasonal sales have been flagging in recent years. Tom offered lots of excellent advice for jump-starting seasonal sales, some of which you will find included within a story that begins on page 38 of this issue.
You’ll also find within our folio this month what I think is an informative round-up of candy trends featured at the International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM) held in Germany earlier this year. The story begins on page 40. Bernie Pacyniak, editor of our sister publication, Candy Industry, does a great job of reporting on the show, which he attends annually.
My colleague has found in his travels in Europe and Canada that progressive candy makers in both regions are moving aggressively to turn up the heat on summer confectionery sales. European candy manufacturers such as Stollwerck and Ritter Sport do a great job of wooing consumers with special summertime confectionery treats — which often combine chocolate and fruit flavors. Stollwerck, for example, markets a brand named Alpia Summerfresh, which includes varieties such as a 100-gram bar of white chocolate with fruit inclusions. And in Canada, Dare Foods does an extremely brisk business with a summertime confectionery assortment.
Creating a Fifth Season
Domestically, my recent travels took me to the Michaels Stores headquarters in Irving, Texas, where I got the lowdown on the arts-and-crafts-store chain’s ambitious plans to create a fifth big candy season during the summer months. The chain is experimenting this summer with a carefully planned candy set built around the themes of retro/nostalgia. What a great idea! Not only is it ambitious and creative, but, it seems to me that nostalgia is a perfect fit for the lazy, hazy — or, at least, the slightly slower-paced — days of summer.
Seasonal Merchandising Showcased
Finally, look for a brand new source of seasonal inspiration at the All Candy Expo in Chicago, June 8 – 10. This year’s show will feature seasonal showcases beautifully merchandised for each of the four major candy holidays. They’re designed not only to show off a variety of holiday confectionery products, but also to offer fresh seasonal merchandising ideas. Another smart move!
Mary Ellen Kuhn