4 Confection Products to Help C-Stores Seize the Seasons

Albanese bunny gummies

Convenience-store retailers know their chocolate. Yet, seasonal confection sales are elusive to many c-stores due to price, promotion and display execution, leaving the majority of seasonal chocolate sales to grocery, drug and mass merchandisers.

One Midwestern retailer, speaking anonymously, told Convenience Stores Products: “I’ve really cut back on seasonal candy. It’s never really moved in any of my stores."

"Whereas some retailers tout seasonal candy as a nice chunk of incremental sales, I'm not in the same boat. I order maybe a case of only the top two to three sellers for each of our stores and that’s all," he continued. 

However, in 2017, the new-product innovation pipeline for bite-size and gift-box segments is leading the consolidated category—adding potential lift to both Halloween and Christmas selling. Both seasons outpaced king- and standard-size bars in dollar and unit performances in early 2017.

Click through for a few strategies to help maximize seasonal candy sales, as well as a few standout seasonal novelty products from the 2017 Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Strawberry Bark

Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Strawberry Bark

Sales of snack-size candy packs in U.S. c-stores grew 19.6% during the 24-week period ending May 14, 2017 (from the year-earlier period), while holiday-oriented gift boxes rose 52%, according to Chicago-based market research firm IRI.

At the National Confectioners Association's (NCA's) recent Sweet & Snacks Expo innovative standouts in the seasonal bucket included Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Strawberry Bark in a stand-up pouch. Made with rich chocolate layers and real strawberry bits, this product is an ideal gift for Valentine's Day. 


Pez Candy’s Christmas Ornament With Mini Dispensers

Pez Candy’s Christmas Ornament with Mini Dispensers

The move to bite-size packs is being supported in several ways. According to Washington, D.C.-based NCA, 90% of parents use Halloween as an occasion to talk to their children about candy and moderation, and 85% prefer Halloween candy in small packages, such as miniatures or snack-size candies.

Another standout seasonal item from the Sweets & Snacks Expo is Pez Candy’s Christmas Ornament With Mini Dispensers. New Pez Christmas Ornaments include one mini dispenser and two rolls of Pez candy packaged in green or red ornaments. Dispensers include Mini Santa, Mini Elf or new Mini Angel.

Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers Minis Hairy Heart Gift Heart (Ferrera Candy Co.)

Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers Minis Hairy Heart Gift Heart (Ferrera Candy Co.)

Speaking to the upcoming Halloween season, Tiffany Menyhart, director of U.S. category management for Wrigley and Mars, said c-stores should “let seasonal products shine with a dedicated section that stands out to customers. Maximize exposure at checkout: Every c-store should have a countertop display by the cash register, which could include seasonal products.”

“And place secondary displays in high-traffic locations, [where] they have an opportunity to showcase seasonal products outside of those found in the aisle,” she said.

Another example of a seasonal novelty product from this year's Sweets & Snacks Expo is the Trolli Sour Bright Crawlers Minis Hairy Heart Gift Heart from the Ferrera Candy Co. This product is a nonromantic option to the gift-heart category. This tie-dyed, hair-trimmed heart is geared toward younger consumers.

Warheads Chewy Bunnies

Warheads Chewy Bunnies

Warheads Chewy Bunnies in assorted flavors from Impact Confections Inc. combine sour flavors and the shape of an Easter bunny.