The chocolate team, including brand manager Hilary Butler, said the free handouts were supposed to “rescue the relationships of last-minute gifters facing the possible fallout of greeting spouses or sweethearts empty-handed.”
The pink Russell Stover-themed truck, stocked with chocolate boxes that come with 23 different pieces of chocolate each, were parked at the Richard Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago at 7 a.m. The company said it finished giving away all the boxes in only three and half hours.
“Valentine’s Day is our number one season, and it contributes a significant amount of seasonal sales to Russell Stover,” said Butler. “We started selling our classic chocolate assortment in red hearts since 1923. It’s a mix of ingredients including caramel, nuts and fruits like coconut. Everything in the box is also made with real butter and sweet cream.”
The latest Nielsen report showed chocolate is the main driver of $695m in US Valentine’s candy sales in 2017, while chocolates with all natural, clean label and sustainable claims are also attracting more consumers during the season.
Additionally, Russell Stover is going to introduce many new products over the next few months thanks to the improved production efficiency after being acquired by Lindt, Butler told ConfectioneryNews.
“It’s been a great partnership with Lindt. The efficiency has improved since the acquisition [in 2014], not only from a manufacturing perspective, but also from the retail perspective,” she said.
“We projected our Valentine’s sales are going to grow significantly next year. With the campaign, we’ve already seen positive sales growth in the last 48 hours,” said Butler.