February 1, 2005
Both traditional and contemporary, lollipops playfully "stick it" to the young and the old alike.
There is no other candy category that has its own holiday: lollipops—perhaps the world’s most recognized confections—are celebrated in this country on July 20th, National Lollipop Day.
Lollipops are known for being the candy that can meet every age group’s sweet tooth desires—plus they show some attitude.
Suckers are traditional, but also very easy to contemporize, giving retailers great opportunity for a two-sided merchandising tack.
On the surface, a lollipop is a piece of hard candy on a stick, but the category’s potential goes way deeper than that—to elicit childhood emotions and memories. It’s a very playful, emotional product, and retailers are not always taking full marketing advantage of that.
Pricing is also an issue. While kids won’t buy many traditional suckers priced more than 25 cents, they certainly will buy novelty items that triple and quadruple that in price, such as the now-traditional spin pops, as well as the more recent innovations in illuminated pop novelties.
Adults will also spend more for “gourmet” pops that have adult-oriented flavorings or coatings. They may also spend more for nostalgic candy.
The key is for retailers to segregate the traditional side from the upscale or novelty side, and price accordingly with substantial low and high price points. Too often, they are taking a middle-of-the-road pricing stance, which won’t work on either end.
The stick part of the lollipop is actually a very nice merchandising tool. Unlike most other hard candies, those on a stick lend themselves to great display creativity. Some manufacturers have made “trees” with them, others, very simple display pieces; and yet they all literally pop out at the consumer. Retailers that utilize these displays have had a lot of success with them—in the floral department, the produce aisles, card and wrap departments, deli counters, cosmetic counters, near coffee bars, and, of course, in bulk candy aisles as a stand-up piece.
Lollipops are—and will continue to be—a great delivery system of a confection that might otherwise be very messy. They also fulfill the oral fixation desires of both kids and adults (sometimes even of those adults who are trying to quit smoking). All that, plus the inherently fun nature of the product makes it a true confectionery champion with everlasting appeal.
Sticks are expected to get a tad more upscale for adults—combining non-chocolate candies that are chewy and might even be mixed into coffee and other hot drinks to add sweetness. Packaging for adults also will reflect a more upscale image. Coffee flavors, strong mints, ethnic varieties and exotic fruit versions are expected to entice the more mature lollipop licker. n
Make room and spread out.
If you’ve just got a few laydown bags of lollipops, you’re approaching the category lying down. Stand up and segregate it with creative stand-up displays. The category now has ample potential in traditional sticks, novelty sticks and adult sticks.
Chew on this.
Did you know lollipops are now chewy too? Have you seen lollipops and cards in one? Don’t discount all the innovation out there. Keep up, and you’ll make consumers from both sides of the generation spectrum happy little lickers.