With Valentine’s Day just days away, Ferrara says early signs point to a strong season.

The company hopes to provide consumers with a little mystery and a lot of fun this Valentine’s Day, asking them to guess a new Fun Dip mystery flavor. Ferrara also produced tons of Brach’s Conversation Hearts, allowing fans to express just how they feel.

Candy Industry recently spoke to Chad Womack, marketing director of seasonal confections at Ferrara, about its product lineup and the company’s expectations for the 2022 Valentine’s Day season.

CI: How would you characterize the 2021 Valentine’s Day season?

CW: Similar to what we saw with the 2020 holiday season, there was an increased consumer desire for seasonal items outside of the traditional selling period. To meet that uptick in demand, we conducted our direct-to-consumer fulfillment process four-to-six weeks earlier than when it took place during the previous two years, an approach we also took this past holiday season.

CI: Are there any insights from last year that Ferrara is carrying into this year’s Valentine’s Day season?

CW: Absolutely. It probably won’t come as a surprise, but decorating and baking were themes at the forefront of Valentine’s Day last year. Our classic Conversation Hearts helped fans celebrate safely at home with these themes, and we’re noting similar early trends this year. 

CI: How did Ferrara approach developing new products for Valentine’s Day this year? Are there any products you’d like to highlight specifically?

CW: As a leader in non-chocolate confections at Valentine’s Day, we work to offer iconic staples that our fans know and love each season like Conversation Hearts. We also look at consumer trends and the changing environment to deliver unique products that appeal to the masses. For example, this year, we tapped into the nostalgia of fan-favorite Fun Dip, changing its iconic Mystery Flavor for the first time – our lips are sealed on what the flavor is, though! For now...

CI: How does the company expect Brach’s Conversation Hearts to perform this year? Were any changes made to the messages?

CW: While I can’t comment on sales data, I can tell you that we’re very excited for this season and anticipate a similar result to past years.

While we didn’t make any major changes to Conversations Hearts this year, over the years we’ve adapted the messages from more than 30 sayings. We always include some timeless and perennially popular phrases, such as “BE MINE” and “HUG ME.” In 2020, we introduced ‘Heart “2” Heart’ Conversation Hearts with double-sided sayings for double the fun and new sayings like “YAAS” and “GOAT.” And last year, we launched the new ‘Wisecracks’ Conversation Hearts with bright blue packaging and slapstick sayings like “DREAM ON,” “NOPE” and “FRIEND ZONE.” 

CI: Does Ferrara anticipate COVID-19 having an effect on sales performance for Valentine’s Day?

CW: While it’s certainly another unconventional year, we still anticipate a strong Valentine’s Day season. Whether it's for smaller in-person gatherings or virtual celebrations, candy is still at the forefront of the holiday’s traditions, and consumers are continuing to find creative ways to incorporate our treats in their festivities.

CI: Looking ahead to Easter, what does Ferrara expect to happen?

CW: I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but we have a lot of delicious new products lined up in the upcoming months. We’re looking forward to sharing them with our consumers soon to make for a sweet spring ahead.

CI: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

CW: As the Valentine’s Day seasonal candy leader, Ferrara’s equity is largely due to the Brach’s brand and its popular Conversation Hearts. In fact, this year, Ferrara produced enough Conversation Hearts to equal the weight of 114 elephants! We’re excited for the upcoming season and look forward to seeing all the different ways our fans celebrate with us.