Jelly Beans

These bold, beautiful beans are fun and can even be functional. And they’re definitely not just for Easter any more.  

The jelly bean market is growing modestly — up 1.6 percent in 2006, driven by activity in the premium segment of the business. Similar to a trend seen in other segments such as dark chocolate, consumers appear to be “trading up” to more premium products.
In Information Resources Inc.-tracked food, drug and mass channels, sales for 2006 were approximately $85 million. Bulk sales of jelly beans are not tracked by a syndicated service, but are estimated to represent up to 20 percent of total industry sales. In the non-bulk segment of the market, laydown bags and peg bags account for the greatest portion of sales, but gift items and single-serve packs are playing increasingly important roles.
Target Audience
Women ages 25 to 64 represent the primary jelly bean consumers, but these colorful candies have plenty of kid appeal as well. The tween market is another key target audience for jelly bean marketers.
Certainly jelly bean makers have done their best to create options for all kinds of consumers. There are sugar-free offerings for the health conscious, licensed jelly beans, vitamin-enriched products designed to appeal to moms, and even electrolyte-enhanced beans for the athletically inclined.
Seasonal Opportunities
As one might expect, Easter is the prime jelly bean season, accounting for up to 40 percent of annual sales. But price competition in the category is intense during the Easter season, cutting into profitability. Fortunately, retailers are reporting profitable sales growth with “everyday” items.  
Pre-packaged gifts are key for harried holiday shoppers looking for something new and different. Jelly bean makers are bringing some inspiring creativity to the category with a growing mix of colorful, appealing pre-packaged gift items — everything from a purse-shaped box of jelly beans for Easter and spring to a retro candy shoppe glass jar filled with red, pink and white beans for Valentine’s Day.
Christmas follows Easter in the jelly bean sales holiday hierarchy. The summer and warm fall months, when many consumers are leaning toward non-chocolate candy choices, present another prime jelly bean retailing opportunity.
And whatever the season, of course, it pays to present a diverse product assortment at a range of different price points.
Expect continued creativity in packaging and seasonal jelly bean gift items. Experts see potential for jelly beans that tout functional benefits such as an antioxidant-supplying pomegranate bean.
$85 million
Jelly Beans Estimated U.S. Retail Market Size*

* In food, drug and mass merchandisers
Source: Information Resources Inc.

Merchandising Musts
• Focus on fun. This category is all about fun and color, so do capitalize on that. Pristine, gravity-feed bulk jelly bean displays automatically add a bit of visual excitement to just about any retail environment.
• Think outside the candy aisle. Off-shelf, secondary displays with eye-catching graphics are a not-to-be-ignored merchandising opportunity. Cross-merchandising with giftable containers is another savvy strategy for retailers seeking to encourage consumers to trade up to higher price points.