Mars targets healthier, on-the-go crowd with Snickers Crsiper and other c-store launches

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

Snickers Crisper is for those looking for a candy lower in calories and easily portable
Snickers Crisper is for those looking for a candy lower in calories and easily portable

Related tags Snickers Confectionery Chocolate

Mars announced the November launch of its portion-controlled Snickers Crisper at this year’s National Association of Convenience Stores Show.

The company is trying to tap consumer preferences for fewer calories, portion control and on-the-go products. Tim Quinn, Mars’ vice president of trade development, told ConfectioneryNews consumers want “innovative snacking options that are better for you,”, something the company kept in mind when creating Snicker Crisper.

The product comes in single packs featuring two pieces at a combined 1.41 oz with a rice center with caramel, peanuts and a coating of milk chocolate. Two pieces of the Snickers Crispers are about 200 calories, Quinn said.

Crisper will launch across the US on November 30 and will cost between $0.99 and $1.09, with larger “4 to go” packs retailing between $1.69 and $1.79. Quinn also said there will be “medium fun size bags” for between $2.69 and $3.99.

A healthier approach to confectionery

Quinn said every serving of candy Mars sells is now 250 calories or less and the Crisper is no exception.

“It plays in what the industry calls the king size category, but we don’t want to call it that,”​ he said. “This size is not appropriate for one eating session, so we call them ‘4 to go.’ You can take on one or two pieces. It helps for portion control.”

M&M to go bottle

Mars won’t ever neglect key products, such as Snickers bars and M&M’s, Quinn said, but he added customer insights have been clear that people want snack and confectionery items with fewer calories.

“Consumers are changing and some like some innovative snacking options that have fewer calories,”​ he said. “Even with confectionery, the lower calorie options, such as M&M Pretzel and Crispy and even the Snickers Crisper are only 200 calories. We’re cognizant of that and just trying to give consumers what they’re asking for: Choices.”

Textured chocolate boom

Mars says Snickers Crisper is capitalizing on growing consumer preferences for varied texture in chocolate products.

According to Nielsen the ‘crispy crunchy’ segment within the chocolate category is worth $1.2 bn, having grown 9.2% between 2011 and 2013, twice the category average.

Packaging suited for reuse, on-the-go

The Snickers Crisper launch will also feature a “packaging innovation,”​ Quinn said, as it will come in a wrapper that can be twisted closed to eat another time. The launch of the company’s Milky Way Midnight Bar will also come in this resalable packaging in “2 to go” sharing size.

Milky Way Dark 2 to go

In addition to the Snickers product packaging, Mars also unveiled a new “on-the-go bottle” for M&M’s at NACS. The bottles, with a round circumference at the top, are about four inches tall. Quinn said they are reusable and feature M&M character branding on the front of the package.

“It’ll fit in the beverage holder in your car and is an easy thing to throw in a briefcase or a purse​,” he said. “For the kids, it’s a really innovative thing. We tested in it Canada and it did extremely well. We really are anxious to have it here in the US.”

These bottles are currently available at Wal-Mart and will soon be available nationwide.

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