Hershey's chocolate Valentine’s NPD: KitKat Red Velvet, Reese’s hearts and more

IRI data shows that Valentine's Day generated nearly $2.8bn worth of confectionery sales in 2015.

Hershey has  launched a string of Valentine’s Day products this year under its core brands across the US, including KitKat, Reese’s, and Cadbury, as IRI estimates the season generated nearly $2.8bn worth of candy sales in 2015.

Valentine’s Day along with three other major holiday seasons, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas, together makes up about $15bn in total sales, accounting for nearly half of the US annual candy sales, according to a National Confectioners Association’s summer webinar last year.

IRI previously highlighted confectionery sales during the six weeks leading up to Valentin’s Day in 2016 declined by 2.3% compared to the previous period.

However, seasonal confectionery sales for the convenience channel outpaced the overall confectionery industry, ConfectioneryNews learned at the NACS Show in Georgia, Atlanta, last year.

Hershey data showed that seasonal confectionery sales at US c-stores during Valentine’s have increased 17.2% in the last six years, compared to 2.5% in mass channel, and 1.4%, drug channel.

Tapping key seasonal trends

For Valentine’s Day 2017, Hershey has incorporated several key trends among the CPG industry.

Parker Products’ research has shown that 59% of consumers enjoy trying new dessert flavors, and nearly half enjoy new textures,” senior director of seasons at Hershey’s US confection division, Alex Corcoran, said.

“Hershey is a share leader in three out of the four Valentine’s usage occasions, focusing on candy dish (Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates), Valentine’s exchange (Reese’s conversation cups), and instant consumption (Reese’s peanut butter hearts),” he said.

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