CHICAGO — Ferrara Candy Co., a company related to The Ferrero Group, is bringing its Fruit Stripes Gum brand into the gummy category.

The new product features three flavors swirled into a gummy candy version of the Fruit Stripes mascot, Yipes the Zebra. Available in March 2022, each bag contains a mix of tangerine, lemon and cherry flavors.

The Fruit Stripe Gum brand is outpacing its category, with sales up 4.5% from a year ago, said Greg Guidotti, general manager of the sugar portfolio at Ferrara Candy Co. When it comes to dollars per trip, the brand is up 13.2% from last year, he said.

“We have a great iconic business in Fruit Stripe, and now we’re taking that equity to gummies,” Mr. Guidotti told Food Business News during an interview at the National Association of Convenience Stores’ 2021 NACS Show, held Oct. 5-8 in Chicago. “We’re bringing the fun of Fruit Stripe to another format that is more relevant to consumers today.”

Other new products showcased at the NACS 2021 show tap into consumer demand for multiple textures and flavor combinations.

The company is building on the success of Nerds Gummy Clusters with a new Very Berry flavor extension. Available next year, the Very Berry mix adds a twist to the original Gummy Clusters, which feature a fruity gummy center coated with crunchy, tangy Nerds candies.

“Based on what we're already seeing, this will probably be a $50 million business on Very Berry alone, and Nerds Gummy Clusters will be almost $100 million,” Mr. Guidotti said. “It really has reinvigorated the whole Nerds brand. All of the products across each format are growing.”

He pointed to Big Chewy Nerds and original Nerds as examples. Sales of Nerds Ropes are up nearly 30% year-over-year, he said.

“Nerds is growing 10 times the category with 121% year-over-year sales growth,” Mr. Guidotti said. “The brand now ranks No. 1 in non-chocolate confections with the highest absolute dollar growth.”

SweeTarts Fusions

Chewy textures and flavor combinations also are showing up in new products from the SweeTarts and Trolli brands. Ferrara last year relaunched the SweeTarts brand’s portfolio of chewy candies with refreshed versions of its SweeTarts Mini Chewy and SweeTarts Giant Chewy products.

The latest addition is SweeTarts Chewy Fusions, a dual-flavored, dual-textured candy that offers a “multi-dimensional snacking experience,” according to the company. Each fruit-flavored candy piece features a thin, crispy candy shell with crunchy candy bites inside surrounding a soft, chewy center.

“We improved the color, texture and flavor on the Mini Chewy and Giant Chewy products,” Mr. Guidotti said. “With the core now strong and growing with the category, we launched SweeTarts Chewy Fusions. It has a multi-texture and delivers on flavor duality.”

The latest innovation for the Trolli brand is Sour Bursting Crawlers.

“Trolli is known for that sour, bright gummy profile,” Mr. Guidotti said. “This takes it to the next level with a technological advantage to actually have it burst in the center, which totally changes the gummy experience.”

Another addition to the Nerds lineup showcased at the NACS 2021 show is Nerds Twist & Mix, which will launch in late November. Featuring a twistable lid with two dispensers, the playful packaging allows consumers to mix and match different combinations of five Nerds candies. Flavors include strawberry, orange, watermelon, cherry and lemonade.

“This is providing a new level of customization and mixing,” Mr. Guidotti said. “You could have one flavor, you could have two flavors or you could have five flavors, and it still has that audible shake that everybody knows. You have to understand your equity, what is iconic and what your distinct assets are and then bring that into today’s time as an interesting item. Nerds Twist & Mix also has the opportunity for impulse, which is playing into c-stores’ needs to drive traffic.”