Less is More

More and more candy manufacturers are rewarding health-conscious consumers with smaller bites of heaven.
The evidence of consumer health awareness and education is sprinkled all over the candy department. Treats are low-carb and no-sugar, have cleaner ingredient statements with purer contents, there are organic offerings, and smaller sizes for single-serving portion control. It is this latter option that many feel has the most staying power, and perhaps the greatest long-term profit potential for retailers.
“Reduced size is an excellent idea on several counts,” says Joan Steuer, president of Chocolate Marketing in Beverly Hills, Calif. “One, portion-controlled candy ironically often means greater sales — as health-conscious consumers perceive the candy item as a ‘controlled indulgence’ and may even purchase smaller sizes more often as a perceived guilt-free treat.”
Retailers can also benefit from the fact that reduced sizes often cost more — and their customers expect that. “Consumers have already learned from other categories, ranging from dry goods to foods, that smaller sizes are more expensive, and thus, already educated, are not surprised to see this with candy,” Steuer adds. “The retailer can benefit from higher margins on these smaller sizes of candy.”
Manufacturers have responded to the “tiny” trend. Kraft Foods has just announced its 100-calorie Nabisco Packs — portion-controlled snacks all with zero grams of trans fat. On the specialty candy front, Grammy Lammy Handmade Candies, Portland, Maine, has recently unveiled Millie’s Delights, a new bite-size product.
“People are enjoying bite-size snacks more and more,” says Linda Lambridges, owner. “We add just as much quality to these smaller treats, and they will satisfy a sweet tooth as much as our well known larger chocolates. We are listening to our customers and trying to give them another product they love.”
Guylian USA Inc., a leading manufacturer of premium boxed Belgian chocolates based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., has also responded to the “exploding self-purchase trend” with what it calls “impulse packs” of individually wrapped chocolates — its new Seahorse Twists, Solitaire dark chocolates and Praline Hearts. According to Leslie Coopersmith, president, these types of candies are a growing category because they serve two strategic purposes.
“On one hand, they’re perfect candy-dish items, but they also suit people who simply want high-end chocolates in smaller portions than a traditional candy bar,” she says.
Coopersmith believes that Guylian and other manufacturers who respond to the latter trend will even pick up additional customers. “Every year, consumers are becoming more educated in terms of what is healthy to put into their bodies,” she states. “But it has always proven true in the confectionery area that there’s always a need and want by consumers for a little treat. By putting our candies into smaller packages, we expect to get a lot more trial from people who won’t feel guilty about consuming the product because it’s a portion-controlled piece.”
Price-wise, Guylian expects that its impulse candies have combined the best of both worlds. As a premium candy in individually wrapped pieces, it does offer retailers higher margins. However, the new stand-up bags are actually less costly than its traditional gift boxes, and therefore, comparatively speaking, “the cost per piece is very reasonable,” says Coopersmith.