Major holidays aren’t the only occasions for selling seasonal confections.

Confectionery sales are driven by seasonality, Jones says. So are cookie and cracker sales, which peak in the fall. Salty snacks hit the mark in January (Superbowl), July 4 and around New Year’s Eve - party time. Meanwhile, back-to-school drives the fruit snack and granola bar categories.

But what about other holidays and celebratory events? Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Administrator’s Assistant Day, graduation, birthdays, movie theater outings, baseball games? Then there’s Thanksgiving, “the biggest food holiday of the year,” Jones says. Why not turn it into a bigger confection and snack sales opportunity?

Just how do you capture consumers during these lesser holidays and off-seasons? For of all, if you’re not doing so already, start cross-category merchandising, Jones suggests. Place candy near greeting cards, cigarettes alongside gum and mints, wine with boxed chocolates, cookies with milk, salty snacks near beer, crackers in conjunction with cheese, granola bars with juice boxes … the list of options is endless. You just need to get creative.

Another way to grab hold of shoppers is by locating confectionery sections earlier in the shopping trip such as near the front of the store. Top-performing retailers also offer a “total snack solution center,” or one-stop shopping area, Jones says.

But don’t overlook the obvious. Simple efforts can be made to increase sales success. It may go without saying, but always dress your store for the holidays. Create a compelling buying environment for shoppers. Then, be sure to provide a wide array of candy brands and types. Variety is the spice of life, and retailers risk lost purchases if they don’t carry exactly what the end consumer is looking for, Jones notes.

You can’t make everyone happy all of the time, but as a retailer, you sure can try. Take advantage of each season as it comes and goes. The result will be a win-win for both you and the confection and snack shopper.

Hot Holiday Treats

  • R.M. Palmer Co. is offering several new items for Easter 2009, including Quax, The Yummy Duck, a 1.75-oz. molded, milk chocolate-flavored, bright yellow duck with an orange beak and brown eyes.
  • New Valentine’s and Easter Glo-Pacifiers from Koko’s Confectionery are pacifiers topped with 1-oz lollipops in hand-painted heart and bunny shapes.
  • At the 2008 All Candy Expo, Just Born introduced a new flavor for the Easter and Valentine’s Day seasons: Chocolate Mousse-flavored Peeps, available in both bunny and bear shapes.
  • Ford Gum’s introductions for Easter 2009 include Carousel brand Bubble Gum Mini-Egg Cartons. Each carton contains one dozen specked bubble gum eggs. The suggested retail price per carton is 49-59 cents.
  • Just in time for Christmas 2008, Bee International’s new Wonka brand Christmas Cottage includes 8 oz. of SweeTarts, Runts, Nerds and Bottlecaps, as well as ready-to-use icing.