HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. -- As retailers review their snack and candy planograms and consider emerging package sizes and pricing, they will undoubtedly decide on whether or not to trade up.
From all indications, larger candy packages are trending, especially in so-called “stand-up,” re-sealable bags of mini, bite-sized portions.
Bite sizes have grown four times faster than the total chocolate category over the past four years, according to research by Mars Chocolate North America, Hackettstown, N.J. (
for a related article from the February issue of CSP
magazine.) The zip-lock package and portion sizes give customers the option of sharing with others, giving rise to the term “sharable” or “sharing size” as ways to describe this product grouping.
To review this emerging trend, Convenience Store Products approached Larry Lupo, vice president of sales for the convenience and drug channels, Mars Chocolate North America, Hackettstown, N.J., for a Q & A:
Convenience Store Products: For share-size candy, why do most shoppers want to get that size--in other words, what “need state” would you say it fills?
Larry Lupo: C-store shoppers who choose larger-size confections are usually looking for something sharable or portable. They either want to share it with a friend, or eat some now and save some for later.
Shoppers are also drawn to the larger size for value. Our “Mars-Wrigley Front End Study” shows that offering value options in this area of the c-store helps increase conversion. “Value” can mean different things to different consumers, and in confections, it can include change makers (smaller, individually wrapped candies), sharing size and single bars.
Convenience Store Products: How has Mars addressed the issue of sharing sizes?
Lupo: At Mars we have sharing size options: “2 to Go” and “4 to Go” bars and sharing-size bags, which include multiple pieces inside a resealable, twist-wrap package. The innovative wrapper has memory film designed to tightly seal the remaining candy by twisting it, keeping the remaining pieces clean and tightly wrapped.
Convenience Store Products: How do c-stores potentially fill that need state?
Lupo: C-store buyers should note that 60% of consumers are looking for a singles bar and won’t trade up to a sharing size. Although the sharing-size segment is growing, we encourage retailers not to lose focus on singles. Plan-o-grams should balance singles and sharing-size confections to meet shoppers’ needs. Brand blocking is important and power brands should be displayed in the middle of the section.
Convenience Store Products: Any other thoughts around packaging?
Lupo: People are looking for portion control, and sharing-size confections are the ideal format, enabling them to eat some now and save some for later.