Many of the new products debuted at the Winter Confectionery Efficient Program Planning Session (ECRM) in Atlanta last month look to capitalize on proven new product launch strategies, be it brand leveraging, reinvigorated packaging or twists on successful flavors.

Moreover, buyers on the other side of the table appear to favor the idea of “miminizing risk” in a recovering economy. The top three items scanned by buyers, as tracked by ECRM, were line extensions, including: Life Savers Candy Canes at number one, followed by Mini Airheads Holiday Band by Perfetti Van melle and Ring Pop Christmas 4-count bag.
The most drastic example of minimizing risk was Necco, which makes Sweethearts, Mary Jane, and Clark Bars. Officials from the company said they’re “back to basics” now, adding that when their new owners came in, they had unsuccessfully tried do 85 new launches in one year.
Indeed one of the company’s main product introductions was simply a new package - a movie theater box for their Mighty Malts, which will sell for 99 cents.
Brown and Haley, the makers of ROCA toffee, also debuted a new package at the event. Their ROCA now comes in a range of 5-oz. stand up gable boxes, as opposed to the bag they were sold in before.
“When you’re a premium brand, you’ve got to look premium,” says Steve Jafee, Midwest region sales manager for the company.
Other companies that debuted new packages included Original Gourmet Food, which has new Christmas tins for it’s Passion Cookies; and KLG Candies, which featured a new box package design for it’s Chapel Hill Toffee, which until now had only been sold in bags.
“We are introducing this new packaging in late summer of 2011 to help protect the toffee and increase shelf life,” explains Mark Graves, with Chapel Hill Toffee. “The graphics on the front allow buyers to see the toffee while the new rigid box allows retailers to display Chapel Hill Toffee in a variety of ways.”

Top 8 items

1. Life Savers Candy Canes24 Ct.,  6 OZ
Wrigley Sales Company
2.Mini Airheads Holiday Band 12-Ct. Case
Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc.
3.Ring PopChristmas 4-Ct. bag
BazookaCandy Brands - a Division of The Topps Co.
4.Santa Pants with Yogurt Christmas Pretzels, 14 oz.
Tropical Nut & Fruit 5. Life Savers Spooky Shapes Theater Box
Wrigley Sales Co.
6 .Twist and Pour (Single) , 1 oz.
Wrigley Sales Co.
7.Toblerone Tobelle Milk Chocolate 5.64 oz.
Kraft Foods North America, Inc.
8.Mini Airheads Holiday Sticker Fun Book
Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc.