Store Brands

DEC 2015

Store Brands delivers unprecedented strategic and tactical information needed by retail executives to develop and support compelling, differentiated store brand programs to build customer loyalty.

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3 0 Store Brands / December 2015 / ccording to the Washington-based National Confectioners Association, the average American eats candy about twice a week. And our national love affair with chocolate and candy is expected continue. Global market research firm Mintel reports that confectionery sales grew 24 percent from 2009 to 2014, and "steady growth" is expected through 2019, when the U.S. chocolate market is projected to reach $25 billion. Trends with traction One trend that seems to be certain in confectionery is that toward a more healthful indulgence. "We are seeing a continued focus by most major retailers in the wellness or better-for-you indulgence category," says Barry Rosenbaum, president of Hicksville, N.Y.-based Nassau Candy, a manufacturer, importer and distributor of specialty confections, gourmet foods and perishables. "That has been a trend for quite some time, and we expect it to continue for the foreseeable future." Earlier this year, Glendale, Calif.-based Nestlé USA said it will remove all artificial color and flavorings from its chocolate candy products sold in the United States by the end of 2015, suggesting that more natural versions of candy could eventually turn from trendy to mainstream. Besides the absence of artificial ingredients, another growing trend in line with the desire for better-for-you offerings is smaller-sized versions. "Major manufacturers continue to see growth potential in mini products, as this format seamlessly fits into the current preference among young adults for food that is easy to snack on, portion control[led] and [easy to] share with friends," notes Euromonitor in its November 2014 "Chocolate Confectionery in the US," report. According to Mintel's February "Chocolate Confectionery — US" report, plain chocolate varieties are out of favor, with 71 percent of consumers instead preferring chocolate varieties that contain mix-ins. Contrasting flavor combinations also remain a top trend. "We are continuing to see strength in sweet and salty, led by sea salt caramel, which is a big SKU for us," Rosenbaum says, pointing out continued growth for seasonal flavors such as pumpkin and spicy/hot as well. Trends on the horizon Better-for-you ingredients aren't the only trend retailers need to consider for their store brand chocolate and candy offerings, however. Consumers increasingly want sweets that are just as good for others as for them, meaning Fair Trade certified, which ensures that cocoa farmers earn a fair price for their cocoa. "We are seeing growth and demand for Fair Trade chocolate, as well as Non-GMO Verified," Rosenbaum says. "Although they are buzzwords within the industry, they really haven't yet taken off to a great extent, and we are beginning to feel far more demand for them." Data from New York-based Nielsen show a sales jump for GMO-free chocolate, from $29 million in 2011 to $72 million in 2014. And Hershey, Pa.-based Hershey Co. announced a decision to go non-GMO with its milk chocolate and its Hershey's Kisses candies by the end of 2015. "People want to indulge, but they want to indulge in a way that is either part of the wellness umbrella and/or lets them feel good about doing the right thing, particularly with Fair Trade chocolate," Rosenbaum says. — M. Hogan The sweet spots a focus on better-for-you formulations and social responsibility could sweeten sales of own-brand candy and chocolate. candy and chocolate

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