Valentine’s Day is about sharing the love, and Ferrero is leveraging its portfolio of brands to offer consumers options for all the special people in their lives.

Buoyed by a strong holiday season, the company anticipates a strong performance for Valentine’s Day as chocolate lovers seek comfort and joy for themselves and their loved ones.

Candy Industry recently spoke to Dan Rodriguez, director category management, chocolate portfolio, Ferrero, about the company’s product lineup, insights from its survey conducted in partnership with Suzy, and its expectations for the 2022 Valentine’s Day season.

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

DR: Ferrero brands have historically performed really well this time of year. Ferrero Rocher consistently ranks among the top premium chocolate items each Valentine’s Day, and Fannie May is currently the fastest growing premium chocolate brand. Ferrero’s overall chocolate portfolio has outperformed category growth for three Januarys in a row now. 

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

DR: We have seen that people increasingly are looking for Valentine’s Day treats not only for their partners, but also for their kids, friends, teachers, etc., demonstrating the clear opportunity for our industry during this season. We have a great lineup of seasonal items and are investing in campaigns and promotions to ensure that our brands are visible and available to consumers throughout the season. 

CI: When did Ferrero conduct the survey with Suzy? What did Ferrero learn from it?

DR: Ferrero conducted the Valentine’s Day survey with research platform Suzy in January 2022.  The survey found that nearly 80 percent of respondents said they planned to buy candy for Valentine’s Day – beating out greeting cards, which nearly 45 percent of respondents say they plan to purchase. Given this data, along with the strong sales we’ve experienced for the Halloween and holiday seasons, we anticipate to see candy and chocolate being the go-to option for Valentine’s Day gifting this year.  

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

DR: Many of Ferrero’s new products that have been released this year are from our everyday chocolate brands, such as the Baby Ruth Heart Box featuring mini Baby Ruth chocolates in a heart-shaped package, perfect for gifting. Additionally, we’ve expanded our Kinder line – offering the new Kinder Chocolate Love Gift Box, featuring 25 pieces of individually wrapped heart-shaped Kinder chocolate featuring smooth milk chocolate with a creamy milk filling.

CI: Does Ferrero anticipate COVID-19 having an effect on sales performance for Valentine’s Day? If so, how? How did Ferrero respond to any COVID-related challenges?

DR: Demand for many of our brands has grown tremendously over the past year and a half as people look for comfort in their favorite foods and celebrate special moments at home. Depending on who you are with this Valentine’s Day, some Ferrero Rocher, Kinder Joy eggs, or our many other treats can be the perfect thing to make that home celebration special.

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

DR: The overall health of our category is strong, and chocolate sales in 2021 were up over 9 percent versus 2020, accelerated by very strong Halloween and winter holiday performance. We expect the momentum to continue through Valentine’s Day and beyond into the Easter season.

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

DR: At Ferrero we’re working to make sure to offer the perfect solution for all of the different use occasions people have this holiday. Brands like Butterfinger and CRUNCH are perfect for classrooms and friends, and Kinder Joy is a great family bonding item, while Ferrero Rocher and all our premium brands are perfect for sophisticated sharing with Galentine’s Day friends and of course, for your special someone.