- Mars Chocolate North America and Wrigley are set to launch more than 30 new products at the National Confectioners Association Sweets & Snacks Expo, according to a company release.
- The two companies will display their goal to drive growth through "product innovations, effective activations and selling strategies." Product innovations from Mars include Twix Dark Chocolate Cookie Bars, M&M'S White Chocolate and M&M's Brand Ice Cream Bars. Wrigley is rolling out items including Skittles and Starburst Sweet Heat, Skittles Ugly Sweater Edition, Juicy Fruit America Pop.
- "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," Timothy LeBel, President of Sales for Mars Chocolate North America, said. "We're tapping into consumer trends and producing surprising twists and experiences from our most popular brands."
It seems that Wrigley is trying to capitalize on ingredient trends that are taking off in the savory snack space. Spicy flavors have grown very popular in the past few years as consumer interest in authentic ethnic flavor profiles continues to rise, but it will be interesting to see if this is well received in the confection space. Pepsi recently jumped on the spice bandwagon too with Pepsi Fire, a spicy, cinnamon-flavored soda that will be sold for a limited eight-week run this summer.
Only time will tell if these bold flavor innovations pay off. Both Wrigley and Mars have also invested in tamer flavor profiles as well, such as M&M'S Strawberry Nut Chocolate Candies and Extra Mint Chocolate Chip gum. Wrigley has is also differentiating some of its products by revamping their packaging, rather than their recipes, with Skittles Ugly Sweater Edition in Original and Sour flavors.
Even though both candy makers are incorporating ingredients that are popular in the snack space, however, neither is going as far as positioning their confections as a candy-snack hybrid. Hershey has developed a "snackfection" initiative in hopes that by leveraging sweet and salty flavor combinations and smooth and crunchy texture profiles, their products will thrive in the ever-growing snack space.
Manufacturers interesting in advancing their product lines should also watch to see if Mars and Wrigley's more traditional, sweet-centered product innovations drive stronger sales than Hershey's snack-focused campaign.