Core Brands Drive Candy

The confectionery retail market grew across all trade channels in 2009, but supermarkets, dollar stores and warehouse clubs outpaced the overall retail market in 2009, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

NCA also noted c-stores brought in $4.6 billion in dollar sales in 2009, up 3%. Seasonal confectionary sales were up 1.2% in 2009 and NCA projects a 0.4% increase in 2010 for total seasonal sales. Information Resources Inc. (IRI) data for the Food, Drug & Mass channels (excluding Wal-Mart, ended Dec. 27, 2009) found candy and gum ranked fourth among edible categories, below carbonated beverages, milk and salty snacks.

In 2010, NCA predicted candy trends will include more private label chocolates, upscale private label and gourmet packaging. Mass brands are introducing more dark chocolate items. Look for exotic chocolate flavorings, such as citrus, spice, salt, fruits and high cocoa content chocolate.

Year-End Trends
In 2009, value candy products grew significantly. Specialty nut/coconut candy sales were up 7.7%, non-chocolate chewy candy grew 12%, and bags and boxes of licorice were up 12%, according to IRI. The group also reported gum dollars totaled $1.26 billion, down 1.5%. Regular gum was down 9% while sugarless gum was up 0.2%. NCA noted that gum manufacturers introduced new exotic fusion flavors and fortified products in 2009.

In addition to economic pressures in the U.S., cocoa prices continue to be at historic highs, while corn sweetener and sugar prices are at near historic highs. Due to price increases in the confectionery industry in 2009, the candy industry saw an increase in dollar sales combined with a decrease in tonnage. Dollar sales at retail overall totaled $29.3 billion, while pounds sold at retail totaled 7.10 billion, according to NCA.

Also in 2009, core mass brands grew in units and dollars, and consumers moved to value channels and value brands. Dark chocolate sales are continuing to grow, but at a slower pace, increasing  9% in 2009, while everyday gourmet chocolate was flat. Consumers still want a gourmet-type product, but at a value price, NCA noted.

Express Convenience Centers, which has 19 stores between Oshkosh and Green Bay Wis., has seen an uptick in gum and mint sales in 2009 due to new flavors.  Also, sales of five-ounce boxes of candy are increasing. “Retail on candy keeps going up. Five-ounce packs were more expensive before, but now are the same price as a king-size candy bar, but customers get more for the price,” noted Jim Anholzer, general manager. When it comes to chocolate, core brands are driving sales. n

Top Chocolate Candy Sales (Under 3.5 Ounces)

BRANDSALES DOLLARS% Sales ChangeUnit salesONE YEAR PRICE CHANGE
Total Chocolate (under 3.5 ounces)$1,587,146,0007.95%1,399,778,000$1.13
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups$230,227,4008.74%185,952,100$1.24
M & M’s$202,418,3004.67%175,612,200$1.15
Snicker’s $191,250,90036.09%171,064,200$1.12
Hershey’s$140,711,600-7.42%121,150,300$1.16
Twix$113,318,00012.06%90,163,870$1.26
Kit Kat$87,676,99015.46%75,671,860$1.16
Three Musketeers$62,062,950-6.45%51,388,350$1.21
Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme$48,389,76025.38%41,554,950$1.16
Peter Paul Almond Joy$32,997,46010.36%27,875,620$1.18
Cadbury Caramello$40,854,10014.09%24,875,620$1.26
Hershey’s Whatchamacallit$26,981,83022.37%22,728,970$1.19
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