Mars’ 2014 calendar includes a number of product introductions—M&M varieties, miniature versions of full-size candy bars, and fruit covered with Dove chocolate. Tim Quinn, vice president of trade development with Mars, told ConfectioneryNews product creation is crucial to the candy brand’s success.
“Innovation is always important,” he said. “New products constitute approximately 75% of confectionery sales.”
With that in mind, Mars is rolling out a number of product introductions in the coming months. Nearly all of the items, instead of being wholly new to retail, are updated flavors, sized-up or sized-down edibles, and other variations on products consumers are familiar with.
Dove chocolate-covered fruit
Recently launched Dove chocolate-coated berries reside at the intersection of two growing segments—dark chocolate, the second-fastest growing section of the chocolate market, and fruit, a snacking segment up 10.5% in one year. The line comes in two package sizes: a 2.83-ounce 'sharing size,' and a 6-ounce stand-up resealable pouch.
The products will start appearing at retail in September.
With annual sales of around $1.8bn, the M&Ms line is one of Mars’ highest profile lines. The company is looking to bolster the powerhouse candy line with recently introduced Birthday Cake M&Ms, which taste like frosting and cake.
“Birthday Cake M&Ms are a fun, innovative way to capture a growing flavor trend,” Quinn said.
M&Ms Mega, which contain three times the chocolate of a conventional M&M, are another addition. According to Mars, the product is expected to hit it big at retail—66% of consumers polled pre-launch indicated they “definitely” or “probably” would buy them.
Mars has introduced a number of its perennial favorites in Bites, unwrapped miniature versions of their full-size counterparts. Twix, 3 Musketeers, and Milky Way Simply Caramel Bites are the latest addition to the family.
“Portion-control segment was up 10% last year,” he said.
In addition to product introductions, Mars is continuing its drive for increased operational sustainability.
“We firmly believe in being green—sustainability is of the utmost importance,” Quinn said. “If we don’t take care of water and energy and use every resource responsibility, we’re not going to have any more resources.”
The company’s sustainability goals including attaining zero fossil fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions, impact on water, and waste to landfill by 2040. Mars plans to reach the goals through operational efficiency, incorporating emerging technologies, and boosting use of renewable energy.
Quinn spoke to CN during the recent Sweets and Snacks Expo. The event, which took place in Chicago, is an annual tradeshow dedicated to product and packaging introductions and trends in the candy and snack industry.