Halloween has gradually taken over the fall season, with witches and ghosts haunting storefronts as soon as September hits.
However, these big motifs, which go hand-in-hand with the excitement of dressing up and trick-or-treating, can overpower the more subtle notes of fall, such as harvest time and the changing of the leaves.
So, The Hershey Co.’s new fall line of products is an attempt to take advantage of both opportunities.
Store shelves will still be filled with Hershey’s Halloween-themed candy, but the company also is extending the season throughout the fall by combining it with harvest themes.
“One of the important strategic benefits of providing a range of fall- and harvest-themed confections is to greatly broaden the season beyond a single day in October, giving retailers a much longer selling season and tapping into consumer demand for sharable candies during an important season that features many family gatherings, celebrations and holidays,” explains Laura Renaud, associate manager of corporate communications at Hershey.
Both Halloween and harvest seasons offer a plethora of sales opportunities. Harvest represents a boost of $121 million in incremental sales, with a confectionery growth rate of 17 percent last year, according to the Nielsen Co. And, Halloween is an even bigger boom; the International Council of Shopping Centers expects consumers to spend $11.3 billion this year on all Halloween items.
These sales often go hand-in-hand.
“They help each other,” Renaud says.
Hershey has been on top of providing consumers with a link between the two themes for a couple years, though Renaud says she has not noticed other candy companies use similar marketing methods.
Hershey even publishes a seasonal website, CelebrateWithHersheys.com, which encourages consumers to think of the fall season as a time for both Halloween and harvest. Aside from featuring the company’s Halloween and harvest candy products, the site offers party ideas, recipes and crafts that fit the two themes.
“The recipes and crafts give reasons to buy harvest,” Renaud explains.
While Halloween may be more prominent in consumers’ minds with trick-or-treat and costume shopping, the site can help shoppers think bigger.
Despite making this link, Halloween and harvest can be separate shopping experiences, and Hershey does not aim to combine them entirely.
“When we work with retailers, we make a distinction between harvest and Halloween,” Renaud says.
Hershey creates different versions of its product to publicize each theme separately.
Hershey’s Miniatures assortments have two new looks for the season: a harvest version that features leaves, owls and squirrels, and a Halloween version that uses witches and ghosts as its characters. Hershey’s Miniatures also uses this character approach in other seasons such as winter, Valentine’s Day and Easter.
The pumpkin shape, a popular motif for both Halloween and harvest, is used throughout many products and blends the gap between the two themes. Pumpkin also makes an appearance as the “flavor of the season” in Hershey’s Kisses pumpkin spice-flavored candies.
Other popular fall flavors include caramel apple and candy corn, featured in three new products: Twizzlers caramel apple-filled twists, Hershey’s candy corn snack size bars and Jolly Rancher Crunch ‘n Chew caramel apple candies.
By offering and promoting these products throughout the season, consumers and retailers can go back to harvest after Halloween with ease.
“In the end, it helps retailers,” Renaud says.
It also helps consumers, who can now participate more than before in the fall season through shopping and snacking.