Making the Most of Candy, Every Day

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Making the Most of Candy, Every Day


When it comes to grocery retail categories, confectionery is a sweet spot: 98 percent of households purchase candy, spending $95.64 annually. It’s profitable, with gum the No. 1 and candy the No. 3 most profitable of the center store categories (soup is No. 2). And the candy category is growing; the market is currently at $32.7 billion, with $6 billion of growth anticipated over the next five years, according to data from IRI.

For supermarket retailers, there’s even more to smile about. Margins on candy sales are 37.1 percent at the front end, and a healthy 28.1 percent in the candy aisle.

But consider the jump of all these numbers if consumers made a purchase every 15 days instead of the current 16-day average. Or what if a seasonal candy purchase turned into an everyday candy purchase?

NCA’s Larry Wilson, VP of customer relations, teamed with IRI’s Larry Levin, GTM practice leader, to present key insights around E5: the five characteristics of candy that retailers should leverage to grow everyday candy sales, including Experience, Emotion, Effectiveness, Efficiency and Environment. The presentation, which took place in Chicago on Nov. 20, 2013, was a comprehensive overview of E5.

Experience: shoppers are underwhelmed with what they see in candy aisles. On a scale of one to 10, they give the experience of shopping for candy a 4.8. NCA recommends attractive displays with vivid colors, and in-store sampling. As with any positive experience, retailers should engage as many of the senses as possible.

Emotion: Few categories can tap into nostalgia and positive emotion the way candy can. NCA research indicates that emotionally engaged consumers are three times more likely to recommend and purchase.

Effectiveness: Give consumers what they want, when they want. Understanding your customer base will help drive assortment, merchandising, marketing and advertising.

Efficiency, as it relates to operational excellence. All gum needs is visibility, for example. Non-chocolate needs to continually appeal to new customers. Chocolate should be promoted for new usage occasions.

Environment: Embrace trends. Understanding what motivates or even preoccupies the customer can aid in planning. Key trends identified by NCA include value-based shopping, convenience, health and wellness, and snacking.

The live presentation kicks off NCA’s Sweet Insights series of webinars intended to empower retailers and manufacturers to fully leverage the candy category. The first webinar, featuring E5 insights, defines the category’s strengths and offers insight into how retailers across all channels can leverage key characteristics for stronger confectionery programs. The webinar will air Dec. 19, 2013, at 1 p.m. ET. Visit for more information.