Russel Stover Candies
So Much More Than Just a Boxed Chocolate Leader.
The nation’s third-largest chocolate maker and leading producer of boxed chocolates has branched out beyond the traditional box — way beyond.
Long an innovator in chocolate, Russell Stover has stepped up the pace of innovation over the course of the past five or six years, assembling a strong executive team and consciously deciding to explore a multitude of new product options.
Why? Because consumers want more choices, says Russell Stover Co-President Tom Ward, who, with his brother Scott Ward, leads the Kansas City-based company.
Beginning with its Private Reserve launch last year, Russell Stover has five new initiatives that have rolled out, are rolling out now or will roll out by mid-2007. In addition to Private Reserve, the company launched its Organic line this summer. Come Spring, retailers will offer consumers Artisan chocolates and Single-Origin bars. A Nouveau assortment will combine the best elements of Private Reserve, Artisan and Single-Origin in one box. As part of these offerings, consumers will soon have the opportunity to purchase Russell Stover products in 100-gram bars as well as assorted miniature chocolates in roll-top bags, both new packaging initiatives for the company.
Moving boldly into emerging product categories has served Russell Stover well in the past. After receiving a request from a customer for a sugar-free chocolate product, the company started to experiment, ultimately developing a line of sugar-free chocolate that has been so well received that today Russell Stover enjoys about a 52 percent share of the nation’s sugar-free chocolate sales.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that the company’s premium Private Reserve line has been warmly welcomed as well, appealing to the core Russell Stover purchaser, while also drawing new consumers into the fold. “This was a sign of our ability to broaden our customer base and introduce Russell Stover to the next generation,” says Mark Sesler, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the company.
The soon-to-be-unveiled Whitman’s Artisan line will deliver both taste and style, with chocolates that feature exotic flavors such as passion fruit, kiwi and mango — all wrapped up in stylish packaging that communicates the concept of “artisan.”
Also, watch for a new International line, one that will take consumers on a global taste tour. “These will be unique flavors that are traditionally associated with a country, like Italian Espresso and Swiss Mocha,” says Tom Ward.
“We will continue to expand our offerings because the consumer wants to try new and different things, be they organic, artisan or gourmet,” he continues.
“The pace of change has become so incredibly magnified,” adds Scott Ward. “Consequently, we’re continuously adapting to what consumers think is important in chocolates and candies.”
Which leaves candy buyers and consumers no choice but to stay tuned!