Non-chocolate candies — gum, mints, gummy, sour confections and more — represent perennial favorites, and they are increasingly playing in the better-for-you (BFY) arena.
“Take-home and king-size packages are doing very well,” said Eric Patterson, merchandising manager for Beacon & Bridge Market, a family-owned, Flint, Mich.-based c-store chain with 25 locations. “Customers are shifting away from single-serve because they want to have something sweet to snack on here and there throughout the day.”
At the same time, candy companies are co-branding with other familiar flavors, such as Sour Patch Kids Crush Soda Fruit Mix, in an attempt to draw new entries into the category, Patterson pointed out.
Better For You
Health and wellness are becoming more important to shoppers. Consumer demand for clean labels and the media’s focus on wellness are expected to continue to influence the industry and fuel further expansion of functional foods. Look for continued growth in BFY candy, sour and gummy candy, and innovations.
American consumers are willing to pay a higher retail for healthier options. Emerging plant-based, non-GMO and sugar-free brands are gaining market share.
For example, sugar-free diet candy saw a dollar sales lift of 5.9% and unit sales growth of 3.4%, while sugarless gum enjoyed a dollar sales boost of 2.8%, according to IRI U.S.
convenience store all scan data for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 29, 2019.
According to Packaged Facts, consumers are seeing a bevy of good-for-you new products in the non-chocolate candy category, including:
- Formulations with simple and pure ingredients, no allergens and/or no artificial ingredients
- Novelty and seasonal shapes, inclusions, packaging and interactive features
- Bolder, intense flavor
- Bolder flavor with a one-two punch
- Sour flavors, which are a longstanding hit in sugar candies
- Flavor collisions, confectionery hybrids and category hopping
- Distinctive but practical packaging
To maximize success in the BFY non-chocolate segment, c-store retailers need to first ask themselves who their customer is, advised Dr. Colleen Meyer, a principal in Meyer and Mintz Consulting in Forest Falls, Calif.
In response to that question, “I have had many businesses say, ‘Everyone!’ No, it is not everyone,” Meyer said. “They must target the consumer who is interested in that type of (BFY) product.”
The type of consumer who would purchase BFY non-chocolate candies includes health-conscious individuals, people who go to the gym, runners, bicyclists and those who play sports.