Strawberry flavors, 'sour singles' sweeten up Valentine's Day candy launches

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image Credit: Mondelez
Image Credit: Mondelez

Related tags Valentine's day Confectionery Candy

From limited-time offerings to licensed products, this Valentine’s Day candy season is shaping up to be a big one in terms of sales and product launches, with many leading CPGs providing sweet treats for those romantics – and even some for those who despise the holiday.

While many consumers and CPG companies are navigating economic challenges, the overall confectionery category is resilient ahead of Valentine’s Day, National Confectioners Association Spokesperson Carly Schildhaus told FoodNavigator-USA. Recently, Godiva CEO Nurtac Afridi echoed this sentiment​, noting that the premium chocolate market is posed to grow more than the mass category.

In fact, 92% of Americans plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day with chocolate and candy – and 93% of people say they would like to receive a gift of chocolate and candy to celebrate Valentine’s Day,​” Schildhaus said.

CPG companies across the confections category have readied their brands for the season by releasing a range of holiday-themed products in various sizes, flavors, and formats, including ... 

Sour Patch Kids goes ‘anti-Valentine’s Day’ with latest release

Mondelez "is celebrating sweethearts and sour singles" with the release of its Black Raspberry flavor in a new black heart-shaped candy size, available at national retailers in a 3.4 oz Gifting Heart Box or Theater box. Additionally, Mondelez is launching the “Sour Hearts Social Club for Sour Hearts,” a social club for those "who want to enjoy the sweet side of Valentine's Day...without the romance."

To support the new candy and the Sour Hearts Social Club for Sour Hearts, Sour Patch Kids is throwing "the ultimate anti-Valentine's Day celebration" on Feb. 13, at The Allis at Soho House in Chicago, which will feature tasting menus, cooking classes, and wine tastings.

Mars releases two limited-edition chocolates

This Valentine’s Day season, Mars is celebrating with two new products: M&M's White Chocolate Strawberry Shake, a strawberry-flavored white chocolate treat in a red, green, or pink colored shell, and the Dove Promises Dark Chocolate Ganache candies. Both are available nationwide from select retailers. In addition to these releases, consumers can purchase personalized gift boxes and Valentine’s Day-themed products on M&M's website.

Mars' premium chocolate brand Ethel M Chocolates also will be available in a 5-piece Love Collection, a 28-piece Large Heart Gift Box, and a design-your-own box.

"While Valentine's Day has historically been tied to couples, shopper data reveals an evolution in consumers' patterns around Valentine's Day. Omnichannel data shows consumers are gifting candy to friends, family, and loved ones to inspire moments of everyday happiness,​” Tim LeBel, president of sales at Mars Wrigley, said in the product press release.

Hershey falls for strawberry

Hershey released several new flavors​ and heart-shaped boxes for its chocolates. On the new flavor front, it released a Hershey Kisses Chocolate Dipped Strawberry flavor, a twist on its classic milk chocolate candy that features a strawberry-flavored center. The Kisses are individually wrapped and available for a limited for in either 7- or 9-oz bags.

In addition to this release, Hershey shared that it'll also be offering a 6.6 oz Reese's Peanut Butter Cups-Shaped Gift Box filled with Reese's Peanut Butter cups, a 9.9 oz bag of Rolo Creamy Caramels (which feature a recipe for Rolo Pretzel Delights Bites), and 2.5 oz Hershey's Milk Chocolate Hearts Bars.

Do you have a heart for ‘FRIENDS?’

Lastly, a Valentine’s Day classic — conversation hearts — are getting a licensed twist. Candy brand Brach's released a limited-edition version​ of its conversation hearts inspired by the tv show FRIENDS, which features quotes and references from the show like "MOO POINT," "UR MY LBSTR," and "ON A BREAK," and comes with a new blend of blueberry, cherry, orange, pineapple, strawberry, and watermelon. These FRIENDS-licensed conversation hearts are available alongside the original version at grocery stores, convenience stores, and mass-market retailers nationwide.

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