Progressive Grocer

AUG 2015

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64 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | August 2015 Candy & Snack Merchandising Grocery Blurred Lines Seasonal snacks may be creating greater buzz than candy by virtue of their relative novelty, but they're often borrowing from the candy ingredient list to do so, with chocolate, caramel and peppermint among the favored favors. Indeed, Claire Cretors, president of Waukegan, Ill.-based G.H. Cretors, a maker of gourmet favored popcorn, has observed a "blurring across category lines — candy brands are moving into the snacking space and traditional snacks have been inching closer to the candy space." Adds Cretors, "Tere are no more 'rules' when it comes to playing in your category during the holiday season." She also notes as major seasonal trends the continuing proliferation of new and unique favors — sweet, savory, and sweet and spicy, among others — and the launch of indulgent favors. G.H. Cretors has just entered the seasonal- snacking arena; the company's frst such lineup consists of four SKUs: Orchard Apple Caramel Corn, Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn, Double Chocolate Caramel Corn, and a tin with three favors: Orchard Apple Caramel Corn, Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn and G.H. Cretors' "famous" Chicago Mix. "Tese favors will be targeted to consumers seeking premium, artisanal and unique seasonal favors to enjoy at home, share with friends or give as a holiday gift," Cretors says. Another newcomer to the segment, West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Brownie Brittle LLC, is launch- ing Chocolate Chip with White Snowfake Drizzle, Mint Chocolate Chip with Dark Drizzle and Salted Caramel with Dark Drizzle varieties, all in festive snowfake-spangled packaging. Te inspiration to create the line, notes company founder Sheila G. Mains, arose partly from an emerging consumer need: "While the holidays are usually seen as a time for indulging, one of the trends we have seen is the idea of 'indulging responsibly,' and this was one of the catalysts that sparked the idea for this treat." In addition to its new holiday SKUs, Brownie Brittle has joined forces with the St. Helena, Calif.- based Robert Mondavi Winery "to show- case how well chocolate works with their wines," says Mains. "Tis will take place during the months of November and December, [and] will include a bottle necker with a coupon for Brownie Brittle on select Mondavi varieties." Visual Appeal Among established seasonal players, Charlotte, N.C.-based Tropical Foods has Christille Bay, a line of four-compartment party trays; a collection of resealable cubes flled with traditional holiday candy and holiday-themed snack mixes; and Festive Favorite Chocolate and Yogurt Pretzels. According to Director of Marketing Chad Hartman, consumers "love Christille Bay because they can buy an assort- ment of snacks … all in one package. Tey like the unique snack mixes in the resealable cubes, especially Reindeer Food, which blends … peanuts, candy corn and dried fruit. Festive Favorite has also had positive feedback for the beautifully designed bag and the tasty coated pretzels inside." Big Shippers Tropical's seasonal merchandising strategy has a solid grounding in experience. "We have found that shippers or being part of destination holiday displays are the best merchandising," says Hartman. "With shippers, you stick out from the normal fow of a grocery store, so it is easy to catch the shop- per's eye with the right product. Dedicated holiday displays are a key part of in-and-out holiday sales in grocery and retail stores. Tey are a destination that consumers go to and buy; having your products in that display talks to all consumers [who] are seeking out products such as yours." He continues: "Te key to our marketing strategy is providing visually appealing product in key desti- nation locations. All of our packages show as much product as possible so consumers know exactly what they are getting. … Establishing great locations within the store to attract customers is a second key strategy to get maximum consumer visibility." For its Pretzel Crisps line, available annually in Dark Chocolate & Peppermint and White Choco- late & Peppermint holiday varieties, Snyder's-Lance Inc., also based in Charlotte, similarly discovered "that pre-packed shippers work best around the holidays because of their simple and clean design," says Eric Van De Wal, VP marketing and innova- tion at Clearview Foods, a division of Snyder's-Lance. "Holiday shopping is a busy time of year, so we like to en- sure that our products stand out in the deli aisle as simply and clearly as possible." "We plan on us- ing holiday-themed header cards on our limited-edition Candy brands are moving into the snacking space and traditional snacks have been inching closer to the candy space. There are no more 'rules' when it comes to playing in your category during the holiday season." —Claire Cretors, G.H. Cretors

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