The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show has been held at the Las Vegas Convention Center all week, and the big names in candy were there showing off their latest C-Store innovations.
Hershey and Mars both showed off new products, with an eye toward convenience stores. Below is a look at what Mars debuted, and how they hope to help C-Stores sell more candy. And be sure to check out what Hershey was debuting here:
Mars Chocolate North America's lineup of new products will hit store shelves in the coming months, including Snickers Crisper and goodnessknows snack squares. These innovations will join newcomers Combos Baked Snacks Chocolate Fudge Pretzel, Dove Chocolate Fruit & Nut, M&M’s Crispy Chocolate Candies, M&M’s To-Go Bottles, Milky Way Midnight Bar 2 To Go and festive seasonal items.
New items Mars Chocolate featured at the NACS Show include:
1. Snickers Crisper
This bar combines crisped rice and peanuts topped with a layer of caramel and coated in creamy milk chocolate. Singles packs feature two pieces, each with 100 calories.
S.R.P.: (1.41-oz. single) $.99 - $1.09; ( 2.83-oz. 4 to Go) $1.69-$1.79; 10.61-oz. (Medium Fun Size Bag) $2.69-$3.99.
2. goodnessknows Snack Squares
Available in Cranberry Almond Dark Chocolate, Apple Almond & Peanut Dark Chocolate, and Peach & Cherry Almond Dark Chocolate — are made with whole nuts, real fruits, toasted oats and dark chocolate.
S.R.P.: (1.2-oz. singles) $1.59 - $1.99; (Five-pack carton) $4.99-$6.99
3. Combos Baked Snacks Chocolate Fudge Pretzel
These feature a creamy fudge filling surrounded by a salty, crunchy pretzel shell.
S.R.P.: (6.0-oz. bags) $2.29
4. Dove Chocolate Fruit & Nut
Real fruit and spiced nuts joined with silky smooth Dove Chocolate to create an explosion of flavors and textures. It will debut in three flavor combinations: Strawberry & Cocoa Almond, Blueberry & Vanilla Cashew and Raspberry & Honey Roasted Almond.
S.R.P.: (5.5-oz. small SUP) $3.99 - $4.29
5. M&M's Crispy Chocolate Candies
These feature a unique, crispy center covered in creamy milk chocolate, enclosed in a colorful candy shell.
S.R.P.: (1.35 oz. single) $1.09-$1.39; (2.83 oz. Sharing Size) $1.69-$1.99; (9.9-oz. bag) $2.99-$3.99; $9.49-$10.49 for 30-oz. stand-up pouch)
6. M&M's To-Go Bottles
These innovative, re-closable and reusable bottles contain M&M's Milk Chocolate Candies or M&M's Peanut Chocolate Candies.
S.R.P.: (3.5-oz. bottle) $2.50-$3.50
7. M&M's Box Pack re-launch
This format will be re-launched in March 2016 with major marketing that includes the blockbuster promotion "M&M's Brand Movie Mania."
S.R.P.: (1 box) $1-$1.99
8. Milky Way Midnight Bar in 2 To Go
This bar will now be available in a 2 To Go Sharing Size. With two pieces enclosed in an innovative, resealable twist-wrap, the 2 To Go format provides consumers with portability and portion control.
S.R.P.: (2.83-oz. 2 To Go)$1.69-$1.99
9. Seasonal Shapes
Mars is also releasing seasonal shapes in singles and 2 To Go formats to make snacking more festive. The line up includes:
● TWIX Ghosts, Santas, Hearts and Eggs
● Snickers Pumpkins, Christmas Trees, Hearts and Eggs
● Milky Way Simply Caramel Bunnies.
● M&M's Peanut Butter Eggs for Easter 2016
Mars shares C-Store strategies
Mars Chocolate is unveiling these items, along with 2016 promotions and merchandising tools, at the NACS show.
"Snickers Bar is the top-selling and fastest-turning item on shelf, so shoppers will be eager to pick up new Snickers Crisper," says Tim LeBel, v.p. of Sales for Mars Chocolate North America. "This new item — along with new M&M's Crispy Candies — answers consumers' desire for new textures, which has created a Crispy Crunchy Segment within the Chocolate Category."
LeBel explains that confectionery is the most responsive category to quality merchandising, so secondary displays are critical to a retailer's success. Mars offers a wide range of display options, such as a new Counter Rack and C-store Endcap Display, both of which include the core Mars and Wrigley brands.
At the NACS Show, retailers also were able to see a versatile option to display M&M's Brand Milk Chocolate Candies: the Single Face Carton.
This new format allows for merchandising on the shelf, on the wall, and on the counter. The smaller design creates four additional inches of shelf space, and the reduced carton count, from 48 to 36 singles, improves product shelf life by 6 weeks.
As retailers plan their merchandising strategies, LeBel reminds them to incorporate seasonal items.
"All C-stores should offer a variety of seasonal confections to increase impulse purchases," says LeBel. "Displaying seasonal in a specific area of the store will teach consumers to seek out new items in this space." He points out that 67 percent of total annual confectionery sales across all channels occur during the four major seasons.