At the National Confectioners Association (NCA) Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, Mars Chocolate North America and Wrigley will share a unified vision of driving growth for customers through three key areas: product innovations, effective activations and selling strategies. Taking center stage at the trade show are several new flavor extensions to consumers' favorite brands, including: Extra® Chewy Mints, 5® Gum Mega Packs, M&M'S® Caramel Chocolate Candies, M&M'® White Chocolate Candies, Skittles® and Starburst® Sweet Heat, SNICKERS® & Hazelnut Bar and TWIX® Dark Chocolate Cookie Bars.
"This year we're launching more than 30 new products and packs that offer a range of choices to meet consumer preferences," said Timothy LeBel, President of Sales for Mars Chocolate North America. "Our new products deliver on several key industry trends, including focusing on transparency and choice, offering the opportunity to indulge in moderation, and meeting consumers' desire for fun and functional gum and mints as well as new formats and flavors in chocolate. We're tapping into consumer trends and producing surprising twists and experiences from our most popular brands."
In addition to product innovations, Wrigley and Mars Chocolate will unveil new selling strategies aimed at driving sales for retailers. "We're looking within and even beyond our category to not only understand what innovations will resonate with consumers, but also to truly understand the way they shop for those products," said Edward Taylor, Vice President of U.S. Sales and Operations for Wrigley. "Helping our partners maximize opportunities is a top priority for us and to expand on the success of our Transaction Zone Vision program, we'll be highlighting a variety of new shopper behavior findings from our Path-to-Purchase research at this year's show, as well as sharing online insights."
To learn more about shopper behavior, attendees at the NCA Expo can attend the panel discussion "Elevating the Confectionery Shopping Experience in the Evolving Retail Landscape." Experts from Wrigley, Mars Chocolate and Jewel-Osco will share new research and discuss the evolution of seamless retail, how generational behaviors are changing expectations in confectionery, and a case study on how retailer and manufacturer collaboration can drive shopper conversion. The session will take place at noon Wed., May 24, in the Discovery Theater in the Skyline Hall of McCormick Place.
Based on shopper insights, Mars Chocolate and Wrigley also developed engaging, results-driven consumer activations for retailers that will motivate shopping for confectionery. Programs for 2017 include the "Chew to a Better You" campaign to encourage consumers to incorporate sugar-free gum into their health and wellness routine; the M&M'S® Brand NASCAR sponsorship; a "Marvel® Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" promotion with M&M'S®, Skittles® and Starburst® brands; and the 2017 SNICKERS® and Skittles® NFL® Fantasy Lineup with NFL-themed packaging.
New items Mars Chocolate will display at the NCA Sweets and Snacks Expo include:
• M&M’S® Caramel Chocolate Candies. This innovative treat features a delectable combination of rich, milk chocolate with a smooth caramel center –- and is coated in the world-famous colorful candy shell. (May 2017, $1.09-$1.39 for 1.41-ounce Singles, $1.69-$1.99 for 2.83-ounce Share Size, $2.99-$3.99 for 9.9-ounce Sharing Size SUP)
• TWIX® Dark Chocolate Cookie Bars feature the classic crunchy shortbread TWIX® cookie covered in golden caramel, enrobed in rich dark chocolate. (May 2017, $.99 - $1.09 for 1.79-ounce Single, $1.69-$1.79 for 3.02-ounce 4 to Go)
• goodnessKNOWS® snack squares will feature a new logo & packaging refresh that will begin to roll out spring 2017. The new design will help make it easier for consumers to identify which flavor speaks most to them on their snack journey. (May 2017 $1.59 - $1.99 for 1.2-ounce singles, $4.99-$6.99 for a five-pack carton)
• MALTESERS® Bite-Size Candies. As the No. 1 bite-sized brand in the U.K., this treat features light, crispy, airy centers, dipped in smooth chocolatey deliciousness. (January 2017, SRP: $1.09-$1.39 for 1.3-ounce Singles; $1.00-$1.70 for 3.0-ounce Theater Box; $1.80-$2.40 for 3.52-ounce Peg Bag; $4.99-$5.99 for 14.5-ounce Tub; $9.48-$9.99 for 31.0-ounce Tub)
• SNICKERS® & Hazelnut Bar satisfies with everything consumers love about SNICKERS -– peanuts, caramel and nougat covered in milk chocolate—with the addition of delicious hazelnuts. (December 2016, $.99–$1.09 for 1.76-ounce Single, $1.69-$1.79 for 3.23-ounce 2 to Go)
• M&M'S® White Chocolate is a delicious new, year-round offering that features creamy white chocolate enclosed in a colorful candy shell. (May 2017, $1.09-$1.39 for 1.50-ounce Single)
• M&M'S® Strawberry Nut Chocolate Candies (Limited Edition) are part of M&M'S Get Nutty program, where consumers are encouraged to take a selfie with their favorite M&M'S Brand flavor and submit on social channels with the #GetNuttyWithM hashtag for a chance to win prizes. This treat features a crunchy peanut covered in strawberry-flavored milk chocolate, enclosed in a colorful candy shell. (March 2017, $1.69-$1.99 for 3.27-ounce Share Size and $4.69-$4.99 for 18.4-ounce Family Size SUP)
• DOVE® Fruit Mixed Berries Dipped in DOVE® Dark Chocolate. Featuring strawberries, blueberries and cranberries, this new flavor variety is the perfect combination of real fruit and America's No. 1 DOVE® Dark Chocolate. (December 2016, $3.99-$4.29 for 5.5-ounce SUP)
• DOVE® Fruit Dark Chocolate Cherry & Sea Salt Almond. Building on the popular DOVE® Fruit Cherry –- which was a top seller last year -– this new offering combines real cherries with the No. 1 nut in America -- almonds. (December 2016, $3.99-$4.29 for 5.5-ounce SUP)
• DOVE® Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate. Peanut butter is paired with the No. 1 solid dark chocolate in the U.S. — DOVE® Dark Chocolate, putting a silky-smooth twist on this familiar classic combination. (April 2017 $4.09-$4.79 for 7.94-ounce laydown bag)
• TWIX® White Chocolate Cookie Bars feature two crunchy cookie bars covered with smooth caramel and enrobed in creamy white chocolate. (December 2017, $0.99-$1.09 for a 1.79-ounce Single, $1.69-$1.79 for 2.64-ounce 2 to Go, $3.49-$4.99 for FUN SIZE® Medium Bag)
• M&M'S® Brand Ice Cream Bars. Each individually wrapped bar features chopped M&M'S® Milk Chocolate Candies inside reduced fat vanilla ice cream, all smothered in creamy milk chocolate. (December 2016, SRP $1.79 for a 2.64-ounce single and $3.99 for a box of six 1.63-ounce bars)
• COMBOS® Stuffed Snacks — New Logo & Package Design. A bold new logo and packaging for COMBOS® Snacks will grab consumers in-store, beginning in fall 2017. The simplified design will stand out on-shelf and engage shoppers, while the food imagery will drive appetite appeal and purchase.
• New Items for Halloween 2017 include: M&M'S® Brand White Pumpkin Pie Candies; a "Spooky Chocolate Variety Mix" bag filled with 150 pieces; a Chocolate & Sugar Variety Mix Bag with 170 pieces; and MALTESERS® FUN SIZE® in a medium bag.
• Christmas 2017 new offerings include: CELEBRATIONS® Brand Bottle filled with individually wrapped miniatures of BOUNTY®, DOVE®, MILKY WAY®, SNICKERS® and TWIX® brands; M&M'S® Caramel in the red and green colors of the season; DOVE® Brand PROMISES® Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Mint Cookie Gifts; and a 4-pack of M&M'S® Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Candies in tubes.
• The Valentine's Day 2018 Line Up includes: M&M'S® Brand Caramel Chocolate Candies Cupid's Mix, M&M'S® Brand Triple Chocolate Candies Cupid's Mix, DOVE® Brand Silky Smooth Assorted Chocolates Premium Extra Large Heart Tin, FUN SIZE® Chocolate & Sugar Valentine Exchange Bag (30 Pieces), and DOVE® Brand PROMISES® Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate & Dark Chocolate Swirl Hearts.
New items that Wrigley will unveil at the 2017 Sweets & Snacks Expo include:
• Extra® Chewy Mints. Extra is extending into the Mints category in December 2017 with the launch of new Extra Chewy Mints in two flavors: Peppermint and Polar Ice. Extra Chewy Mints have a thin, crispy outer shell and a chewy core that are packed with all the flavor and freshening power of Extra gum. They will be available nationwide in a 1.5 oz. durable, plastic pack (MSRP $2.19) and 7.5 oz. pegged, Stand-Up Bag (MSRP $6.99).
• Skittles® and Starburst® Sweet Heat. This December, Skittles and Starburst are spicing things up with Sweet Heat, where each pack features fruity flavors with a spicy kick. Skittles: $0.99 for a Single Pack, $1.79 for a Share Size Pack, $3.19 for a Laydown Bag and $2.59 for a Medium Stand Up Pouch. Starburst: $0.99 for a Single Pack and $3.19 for a Laydown Bag.
• Juicy Fruit® Mixies. In December 2017, Juicy Fruit® is debuting Juicy Fruit Mixies with four fruity flavors in each bottle. Bottles contain a mix of Original, Strawberry, Watermelon and Grape flavors. Available at retailers nationwide in a 15-piece, Single-Serve Bottle (MSRP $1.49) and a 40-piece Bottle (MSRP $3.49).
• 5 Gum® Peppermint Cobalt Mega Pack and Spearmint Rain Mega Pack. In June 2017, Wrigley will introduce 5 Gum Mega Packs in a unique, 35-stick, durable, plastic Mega Pack. The new 5 Gum Mega Pack comes in Peppermint Cobalt and Spearmint Rain flavors, and holds over twice as much gum as a standard 15-stick pack, so consumers do not have to worry about running out. The Mega Packs will be available at retailers nationwide (MSRP $2.99).
• Skittles® Trick Plays. Skittles is adding a fun twist on the popular football strategy with Skittles Trick Plays. NFL fans will be kept guessing when the colors on the outside of the candies don't necessarily match the flavors on the inside. Available for a limited time only, Trick Plays will be in stores just in time for the 2017 NFL season (MSRP $0.99).
• Starburst® Minis Sours. This December, Starburst® is combining consumer demand for sour flavors and Starburst Minis Original into Starburst Minis Sours. Each pack includes a mouth-puckering mix of flavors including Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Watermelon and Strawberry. Available in a Single Pack (MSRP $0.99), Peg Bag (MSRP $2.09) and Medium Stand-Up Pouch (MSRP $2.59).
• Juicy Fruit® America Pop. This May, Juicy Fruit is introducing a perfect treat for summer: Juicy Fruit America Pop gum. Each stick contains a blend of Cherry, Lemon and Blue Raspberry flavors, channeling the delicious flavor of the red, white and blue ice pops. Available at retailers nationwide in a 15-stick, Single-Serve Pack (MSRP $1.19) and a Multipack with three 15-stick Single-Serve Packs (MSRP $2.69).
• Extra® Mint Chocolate Chip. In August 2017, Extra is re-introducing its irresistible Extra Mint Chocolate Chip flavor. Back by popular demand, this unique and delicious flavor tastes like Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, and it will be available at all retailers nationwide in a 15-stick, Single-Serve Pack (MSRP $1.19) and Multipack with three 15-stick Single-Serve Packs (MSRP $2.96).
• Starburst® Minis Fun Size. Just in time for Halloween, Starburst is introducing Starburst Minis Fun Size packs. Minis are the ultimate Halloween snacking treat, bringing a fun new juicy surprise to trick or treaters. Available in Laydown Bags (MSRP $2.99).
• Skittles® Ugly Sweater Edition Original & Sour. Skittles is taking the ugly sweater tradition to a whole new level with Skittles Ugly Sweater Edition. Available in Original and Sour flavors, this is a fun play on the holiday trend and is the perfect addition to any festive celebration this year. Available nationwide this holiday season in 7.2 oz. Stand-Up Pouches (MSRP $2.59).
• Life Savers® 5 Flavor Big Tube. Just in time for the holidays, Life Savers is introducing a new 5 Flavor Big Tube. This super-sized version of the original is the perfect stocking stuffer for loved ones. Available at retailers nationwide (MSRP $7.99).
• Life Savers® Message Hearts and Rings Game Book. Life Savers Message Hearts and Rings Game Book is a fun and interactive way to show some love on Valentine's Day. Each booklet contains Life Savers Gummies Wildberry Message Hearts and Rings, in seasonally relevant shapes and flavors and a Valentine's Day-themed Tic-Tac-Toe board to play with friends and family. Available at retailers nationwide (MSRP $2.99).