ATLANTA — Flavor mashups are among trends driving product development at Mars Wrigley Confectionery. Launching next year, Skittles Dips combine chewy, fruit candies with a soft, yogurt-flavored coating. Also on tap is Twix Cookies & Crème, featuring chocolate cookie bars layered with crème and cookie bits and enrobed in milk chocolate.
The products were previewed at the National Association of Convenience Stores’ 2019 NACS Show, held Oct. 1-4 in Atlanta.
“Mashup flavors are a trend we’re seeing, and … as one of the category leaders, we certainly are on that trend as well,” said Mike Gilroy, vice-president of trade development and sponsorship at Mars Wrigley, a division of Mars, Inc. and based in Hackettstown, N.J.
Another upcoming introduction is M&M’s Fudge Brownie, which has a fudgy filling. It is the third M&M’s variety to feature a soft and chewy center, following the launches of M&M’s Caramel and M&M’s Hazelnut Spread candies. Developing the proprietary technology to produce the candies was a multi-year effort and among the company’s largest technical endeavors.
“The soft-center technology is a really innovative platform for us that will allow us to go into all kinds different spaces,” Mr. Gilroy told Food Business News. “We’re really excited about this one.”
An addition to the Milky Way lineup is a salted caramel variety, which adds salt flakes to the traditional mix of milk chocolate, caramel and nougat. Available early next year, Snickers White will contain peanuts, caramel and nougat coated in white chocolate.
“White chocolate last year as a category was on fire, and it continues to do well,” Mr. Gilroy said.
New to the Starburst lineup is Starburst Swirlers, which are chewy, fruity sticks in three flavor combinations: strawberry cherry, orange strawberry and cherry lemon. Each stick contains 40 calories, Mr. Gilroy said.
“It’s taking the Starburst chew and putting it into the stick format,” he said. “It’s closer to a chew, but it has been aerated, so it’s not as dense.”
Mars Wrigley is expanding its gum portfolio with Extra Refreshers soft-chew gum in mint mix and berry mix and Starburst gum, which offers a mix of cherry, orange, strawberry and lemon flavors.
“Starburst is the No. 1 brand in fruity confection, so we’re bringing the power of Starburst to the gum category,” Mr. Gilroy said. “What we find with gum in particular … for younger consumers, it’s about engaging them with the fun aspect of gum.”
Available for Halloween, Zombie Skittles features an assortment of fruit-flavored candies with a hidden “rotten zombie” flavor mixed into each package. The research and development team was tasked with creating a “disgusting but enjoyable” flavor, according to the company.