Exhibitors all over the Sweets and Snacks show floor are debuting products. The Hershey Company is among the most prolific, with product introductions across a number of categories.
“Gum as a category is down in sales,” she said. “Whether it’s a loss of flavor, a disposal issue, or something else, consumers are buying less gum.”
Mints, however are still going strong. Straddling those two worlds is Hershey’s Ice Breakers Cool Blast Chews; it looks like a traditional gum and, for the first few chews, feels like gum but quickly dissolves, leaving no wad of gum to drop on the sidewalk and stick to your shoe.
The product, which is housed in a tube with a sliding tray dispensing the chews, will hit retail in September.
Snacking and sharing are growing consumer behaviors. Shoppers want appealing nibbles they can tote in the car, to the office, or enjoy while multitasking; they also want containers that lend themselves to sharing, such as standup pouches and resealable packaging.
Hershey has put many of its brands in such snack-and-share packaging. Jolly Ranchers Bites (a filled gummy extension of its popular hard candy) comes in standup bags with a reclosable zip top, as do its recently launched Brookside Dark Chocolate Clusters.
Hershey is spreading itself around in more ways than one. The company is extending its confectionery brands into new categories both edible (such as snacks) and otherwise (shirts, toys, and home décor items).
The other way is more literal. Last year marked the Sweets and Snacks debut of its Hershey’s Spreads line of chocolate-based spreads. Later this year, consumers will be able to buy Reese’s Spreads, which put the chocolate-peanut butter combo of its peanut butter cups into a jar.
“The Reese’s Spreads bring a unique taste to the spread category,” she said. “We’re also launching Hershey’s Snacksters, in a container that looks a lot like the Hershey’s Cocoa Powder package.”
Reese’s Spreads will be on shelves later this year. Snacksters will be sold starting next year.
Back to the beginning
Lancaster Soft Cremes are a line of caramel candies in packaging with a premium feel. The confections may be unfamiliar to consumers, but the product hearkens back to the early days of Hershey history.
The Lancaster Caramel Company was founded in 1886 by Milton Hershey; the company’s success enabled him to found the chocolate giant. Hershey sold Lancaster to the tune of $1m in 1900 (a princely sum at the time) to focus on chocolate, and his namesake has returned to the brand by relaunching caramels under the Lancaster brand.
The 2014 Sweets and Snacks Expo, the annual industry event produced by the National Confectioners Association, is taking place May 20-22 in Chicago.