CHICAGO — Personalization and mashups are two trends in product development that may be seen in new seasonal confections from Ferrara Candy Co. The company is introducing a slate of holiday innovation across its stable of longstanding brands.
“The company as a whole is igniting innovation growth across our portfolio, including our seasonal business,” said Peter Goldman, senior director of Brach’s and seasonal confections at Ferrara Candy Co. “For holiday specifically, we start by understanding the key usage occasions for the season and the consumer insights behind them. Then we seek to develop products by leveraging the breadth of our brand portfolio to create items to meet consumers unmet needs and to build on our equities and existing product forms. Seasonal innovation will remain a key part of our growth strategy moving forward.”
With $3 billion in annual revenues, Ferrara Candy Co. holds the No. 1 position in seasonal confections and the No. 2 position in sugar confections. Ferrara Candy Co. was formed in 2012 with the merger of Ferrara Pan Candy Co., Inc. and Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co., Inc. Its core portfolio of brands includes Trolli, Black Forest, Brach’s, Sathers, RedHots, Lemonheads, Jujyfruits, Atomic FireBall, Boston Baked Beans and several others.
In 2017, Ferrara Candy Co. was acquired by the Luxembourg-based Ferrero Group. A few months later, the Ferrero Group acquired Nestle USA’s confectionery business. The transaction added such non-chocolate brands as SweeTarts, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, FunDip, PixyStix, Gobstopper, BottleCaps, Spree and Runts to Ferrara Candy Co.’s portfolio. Nestle USA’s former chocolate brands, including Crunch, Butterfinger and Baby Ruth, are managed by Ferrero North America, based in Parsippany, N.J.
“Specific to the holiday, we’re No. 1 in sugar confections because we lead the industry in candy cane sales with Brach’s candy canes, but we also have leading products for the classic candy dish and innovative gifting/stocking stuffer options,” Mr. Goldman said. “Not everyone realizes that candy is the No. 2 item used to stuff stockings (No. 1 is gift cards), especially for kids’ stockings.”
New this holiday season is Fun Dip & Cherry Candy Canes, which includes pouches of flavored candy powders for dipping.
“This product breaks ground as a candy cane innovation because it’s a fun, multisensorial product in which consumers can dip their Brach’s Cherry Canes into two different flavors of Fun Dip pouches,” Mr. Goldman said. “It’s the first time that Lik-m-aid Fun Dip — a nostalgic candy adored since 1940 — has launched an offering in the candy cane set.”
Another seasonal item is SweeTarts Candy Canes, featuring the brand’s signature tanginess and vibrant hues. Flavors include green apple, cherry and blue punch.
“We know that consumers love this product because they’re our best-selling premium candy cane product, and Ferrara’s overall sour cane sales are up 11% from a year ago,” Mr. Goldman said.
Because candy canes often are used as decorations, offering a variety of unique colors, shapes and sizes is “a must,” he added.
“One broader marketplace trend that we applied to our holiday products, and that we apply to many of our products, is creating multisensorial products in which we mash up different tastes, textures and colors,” Mr. Goldman said. “We also continue to see an increase in candy and gingerbread kits allowing consumers to build their gingerbread houses with some of their favorite candies. We are currently testing a Brach’s D.I.Y. decorating kit at Walmart this year in which we provide consumers with six different items they can use to decorate their gingerbread houses, use for baking, or just put in their candy dishes.”