Ferrara Very Berry Nerds wins innovation award at Sweets&Snacks 2022
Ferrara, one of North America’s most popular candy brands is showcasing 12 new innovations at Sweets & Snacks this year.
The Chicago-based company also picked up a Most Innovative New Product Award at the Expo in the Non-Chocolate category, for its Very Berry Nerds, a unique dual-texture cluster of crunchy, tangy candy with a fruity gummy centre.
"This honour reinforces the excitement that consumers have been sharing with us about Nerds all year," said Greg Guidotti, Chief Marketing Officer at Ferrara. "We hoped candy fans would be as excited about Nerds Very Berry when we were developing it, and it's an honour to know they clearly are. This Most Innovative New Product Award is a testament to the innovation taking place at Ferrara."
The company’s sprawling stand in the main hall of the Expo also included new product lines from its brands including Black Forest, Funables, Laffy Taffy, Trolli and SweeTARTS, along with new seasonal offerings from the iconic BRACH’S.
Since becoming part of Ferrero in 2017, the company’s NPDs has taken the market by storm, winning awards like the one above at this year’s Sweets and Snacks, and pushing sales skyward across its categories.
“It’s a complex category”, Guidotti told ConfectioneryNews, “and we are growing faster than the category, we’ve had a great run. We’ve taken it and broken it down to three things – velocity, innovation, and distribution.
“When you think about how the category has been interrupted through Covid, our innovation has stayed the same and the consumer is still looking for flavour-full, multi-sensorial multi-textural, candy.”
Guidotti described Nerds gummy clusters, introduced to the market in 2020 as a “once-in-a-career” innovation.
The new product represents 55% of Ferrara’s NERDS business, bringing in alone a cool $200m annually.
Ferrara’s SweetTarts is another power brand, growing 20% in the past year and touching $200m in sales. A new innovation for the brand will be the launch into gummies and is already gaining recognition as a finalist in this year’s Expo new product awards.
Ferrara’s popular candies are sold across channels and generations – and, according to Guidotti, “trending down to Gen-Z.”
Many of Ferrara’s products are established heritage brands that have been around for decades, but are keeping up with trends due to significant investment in research and development.
General Manger, Seasonal, Katie Duffy, said her side of the business was depressed by the Covid pandemic with consumers not celebrating occasions like Halloween in the same tradition.
“We’ve seen in 2021 and into 2022 so far there has been a real bounce-back, in what’s happened in the seasonal business. Consumers are now looking to celebrate earlier and bigger and they are not as price sensitive for seasonal products.
“Brach’s is the number one seasonal sugar brand, it’s also the leading brand in three of the four seasons and Ferrara is the number one sugar confections manufacturer across the seasons, and we are exceptionally proud of our market leadership.
Brach’s has been around since 1904 with a proven track record of multi-generational appeal. “People know it and they love it and we are going to be driving an agenda to unlock the potential that lies within it.”
Duffy also said that the Brach’s brand offers sugar-free options and Ferrara is looking at plant-based alternatives to the ingredient, gelatine, to meet the growing consumer demand for healthy indulgence.