Cocoa Crème Soft Caramels, retails for $2.49, and is now available in grocery stores and retailers nationwide.
Werther’s manages several product portfolios, all centered around caramel, including sugar confectionery, sugar-free and popcorn.
The brand says it is the largest company in the US chewy caramel market with a 25% share, and says Werther's Original made up 83% of all Storck’s confectionery and snack sales in 2016.
Leveraging the success of soft caramel launch
The director of marketing at the caramel maker, Meredith Suffron, said the majority of the American consumers chose caramel and chocolate as their favorite candy flavor combination based on a recent Ipsos eNation shopper survey that included around 1,000 American adults.
“44% of surveyed consumers chose caramel as their favorite candy flavor to combine with chocolate, followed by mint at 19%, and 53% of them prefer flavor combinations rather than individual flavors,” she said.
That became the primary motivation behind the new product launch, according to the company.
“We’re also trying to leverage the success of our soft caramel we launched in 2015, which is a big growth driver of our business and a big win among our consumers,” Suffron said.
“By working with our R&D team, we’re able to develop a real cocoa-based crème filling.”
Werther’s chewy and soft caramels accounted for 24% of dollar sales in the total chewy caramel category in 2016, an increase of 10 percentage points since 2014, according to IRI data that includes the total US multi-outlets with c-stores.
Caramel consumption is changing
Suffron said the US has a lot of caramel consumers and more of them are looking for caramel combined with other types of products.
“The way people eat caramel is changing, and our business is following that trend, growing from the traditional hard candy to providing caramel in different ways,” she said.
Werther’s hard sugar candy category experienced 0.11% dollar sales decline year-over-year, according to IRI data that includes total US multi-outlets with c-stores for the latest 52 weeks ending Aug. 7, 2016.
Major confectionery manufacturers have started tapping into the growing caramel category.
Mars debuted M&M’s filled with caramel during the NACS Show in Atlanta, Georgia, last year, and will bring it to the US retail in April this year. Nestlé also recently developed caramel-flavored KitKat Mini Moments for the travel retail channel.
Outpacing the category growth
Werther’s said it has outpaced the US caramel growth rate in the last two years, with the category dollar sales growing at a rate of over 3.6% in 2015 and dropping by 2.5% in 2016.
The brand itself has experienced growth, with dollar sales increasing by 13.8% in 2015, and 3.5% in 2016.