Progressive Grocer - September 2017 - 80

Grocery

Holiday Candy & Snack Merchandising

Product: The 5th P

T

he fall and winter holiday season is a time to
indulge in foods not usually eaten at other times
of the year - pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, egg
nog, Hanukkah latkes, Christmas cake - as well
as candy and snacks in festive limited-time flavors that
reinforce the specialness of the occasions. In fact, providing the right product should be considered the fifth P of
holiday candy and snack merchandising, along with the
others discussed in the main article.
"Holiday-specific items are an expectation for our customers, so it's important that we carry a variety of products,"
notes Kenneth Hausmann, category business manager for
candy at Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC. "Whether
it's pumpkin spice flavors for fall, or gingerbread for the winter, it's important to have these items within our assortment.
...[T]hese limited-edition products complement our total
store holiday merchandising plans."
"Fall/winter candies and snacks are very important to
Tops," concurs Hausmann's counterpart for the salty snack
category, Russell Daniels. "Salty snacks, with their in/out different flavors, help add variety and incremental sales to the
snack business, especially at this time of year, when people
are hosting gatherings and wanting to bring something new
and different to the table for their guests."
Accordingly, grocers strive to offer their shoppers an
extensive variety of holiday items. "Between our Halloween
and Christmas candy, we have a total of 375 SKUs available,"
says Larry Pierce, EVP, merchandising and marketing at
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash.
"Consumers come to expect and seek out unique seasonal variations of their favorite brands, such as
seasonally wrapped or flavored Kisses and Reese's shapes - pumpkins, trees, etc.," observes
Jan Grinstead, senior brand manager holiday at
The Hershey Co., in Hershey, Pa. "These items
are highly incremental to our everyday offerings and allow us to fulfill seasonal needs such as
trick-or-treating, stocking stuffers or gifting."
"During the holidays, shoppers seek out their
favorite seasonal flavors, like M&M's Brand White
Candy Corn Candies for Halloween, Starburst
Jelly Beans for Easter, M&M's Holiday Mint for
Christmas, and Dove Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark for the winter holidays," notes
Tim Quinn, VP of trade development for
Chicago-based Mars Wrigley Confectionery.
For Halloween 2017, Mars has a
150-piece Spooky Chocolate Variety Mix
bag offering four of its iconic brands,
each with a seasonally relevant twist:
Snickers XScream, Milky Way Midnight
Madness, M&M's Costume Award Mix and
Milky Way SCAREamel; a 170-piece Choco-

80

late & Sugar Variety Mix
Bag featuring M&M's,
Snickers, Skittles, Milky
Way and, for the first
time, Dove Chocolate
treat-size bars; M&M's
Brand White Pumpkin
Pie Candies Harvest
Blend; Maltesers Fun Size in a medium bag; and Starburst
Minis Fun Size.
The company's Yuletide offerings this year, meanwhile, are
a Celebrations Brand Bottle filled with individually wrapped
miniatures of Bounty, Dove, Milky Way, Snickers and Twix
Brands; M&M's Caramel in seasonal red and green colors;
Dove Brand Promises Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Mint
Cookie Gifts; a 4-pack of M&M's Brand Minis Milk Chocolate
Candies in tubes; a Skittles Ugly Sweater Edition in Original
and Sour flavors; and a Life Savers 5 Flavor Big Tube.
Among savory snack providers entering the seasonal
flavor derby is Crunchmaster, a brand of
Loves Park, Ill.-based
TH Foods, which is rolling out Pumpkin Harvest crackers for fall,
featuring "the savory
taste of pumpkin and
autumn spices with
the goodness of whole
grain and flax seeds."
Seasonal packaging is also part
of optimal product
presentation at retail.
"As we continue to
encourage gratitude
year-round, the holiday season is always a time for merci to
further inspire expressing thanks," says Kelly Cook, marketing
director at Chicago-based Storck USA, maker of the merci line
of individually wrapped European chocolates. "This season
we are excited to roll out new holiday packaging to appeal to
consumers' gift-giving needs during the season of gratitude. Building off of last year's holiday momentum, the new
packaging elevates the quality and personalized gift-giving
chocolate consumers have come to know from merci."
The popularity of seasonally inspired candy and snack
items among shoppers shows no signs of slowing. Observes
Craig Spalding, director of marketing for Boulder, Colo.based 1908 Brands and brand manager for the Thrive Tribe
line of Paleo cookies, which offers limited-edition holiday
flavors, "I think more brands will be expected to offer
holiday-specific flavors to keep customers interested and
keep the brand alive and growing." PG

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | September 2017

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