Convenience Store News

JUL 2015

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Chocolate + Non-Chocolate + Gum + Salty Snacks CANDY & SNACKS W ith today's consumers more interested than ever in better-for-you eating, the intersec- tion of health and candy was a frequent topic discussed at the recent 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo, and the key takeaway for candy retail- ers including convenience store opera- tors was the importance of messag- ing and marketing candy as a permissible "treat." Health concerns and candy's public image are issues retailers and sup- pliers alike should keep in mind, but National Confectioners Association (NCA) President and CEO John Downs pointed out that consumers would rather adjust their overall sugar consumption by cut- ting down on sugar that is hidden in non-candy products and enjoy candy in moderation as a treat. "Consumers understand what they are getting when they buy candy," Downs said, citing the extraordinari- ly high 98-percent household penetration rate of candy, which beats out other products many would consider to be more important, such as toilet paper. He encour- aged the industry to "celebrate" candy's role in a bal- anced lifestyle. "Life is sweet — celebrate it." All products can be part of a healthy lifestyle, accord- ing to Mary Myers, director of product development at Mars Chocolate North America, who was one of the speakers during an educational session entitled "New Era in Candy Land: Navigating Health and Well-Being." During the same session, consumer trend analyst, food marketing expert and "Supermarket Guru" Phil Lempert advised that "people want education" in this subject area because just as retailers face confusion over health and wellness, so too do consumers. In 1986, 71 percent of people claimed to always avoid snacking. Today, only 39 percent do so, and avoiding sugar is more important to consumers than avoiding fat. As a result, better-for-you is the fastest-growing snack seg- ment, cited Darren Seifer of The NPD Group, who dis- cussed the changing role of snacks in consumers' diets as part of another educational session. "Things change," Seifer said, comparing the shift in snacking patterns to the tectonic plate movement of the Earth. "They change slow- ly, but they change." The timing of snack- ing is also changing, as snack foods move into Health & Wellness & Candy? A key theme at the 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo was consumers' view of candy as a treat By Angela Hanson Seen on the Show Floor Organic and better-for-you products that tie into consumers' desire for healthier treats and can fit into their lifestyle had a significant presence on the exhibition floor, as did premium and indulgent treats. Exhibiting suppliers noted today's consumers are increasingly interested in experimenting with new and bold flavors, as well as new combinations of familiar flavors. Sour in particular is growing in popularity, along with cotton candy, sea salt and exotic fruits. 88 Convenience Store News |JULY 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM A new feature of this year's event was the Retail Impact Forum, where top retailers shared their industry perspectives.

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