“Hi-Chew bites are the new format of the brand line…and this is the first trial of the unwrapped candy,” explained Teruhiro Kawabe, Chief Representative for the USA & President, CEO of Morinaga America Inc.
According to the company’s press release, “HI-Chew contains no colors from synthetic sources and is gluten-free. HI-Chew Bites is offered in a 2.12 ounce bag for a suggested retail price of $1.99 (varies per market)…with wider distribution planned for later this year.”
An immersive pop-up inspired by HI-Chew's vibrant packaging
The pop-up mimicked the vibrant colors of HI-Chew Bites’ packaging Joanne Hsu, senior brand marketing manager, Morinaga, explained. As Nolita’s neighborhood is known for variety of specialty shops, cafes and bakeries, the pop-up served as an opportunity for consumers to visit and experience HI-Chew’s snacks in an immersive setting.
“We really wanted to create a space [that reflects] the products,” she explained, which also featured the entire US HI-Chew portfolio for fans to experience.
HI-Chew Bites features the signature flavors of the original wrapped candy—green apple, mango and strawberry—in a shareable pouch for snackers on the go. The brand also introduced two new flavors—lilikoi and pineapple—available only in Hawaii and included in the pop-up shop “to entice our customers and fans in New York,” Hsu added.
Taste, texture and convenience continue driving confectionery trends
Portability in confectionery is an ongoing trend as more consumers, particularly Gen Z and Millennials, are looking for convenience in their snacks. Taste is also a driver across generations, particularly as consumers sought out more comfort foods and snacks during the pandemic.
While healthy attributes in candy (i.e. less sugar, zero calories, natural flavors, etc.) fit into consumers’ preferences, overall, the confectionery segment is largely driven by consumer’s need to feel good through comforting, nostalgic foods.
HI-Chew’s candies are in between a gummy and a chew. Gelatin-based, the candy is famous for its soft and chewy texture. Notably, Cargill’s study found consumer’s prefer softer gummies, highlighting HI-Chew’s ability to straddle the line between a pillowy texture that breaks down easily when chewing.
Despite consumer preferences for softer textures, gelatin-based gummies continue to remain the most popular in the market, underscoring the consumer divide in gummy textures and opening opportunities for brand’s to include texture variety in its portfolio—as well as flavor variety and shapes.