Candy Industry was recently able to catch up with Robert Hoover, vice president marketing, premium chocolate at Ferrero North America, to talk about Valentine's Day trends in the confectionery category.

Liz Parker: What are some current trends for Valentine’s Day treats?

Robert Hoover: Chocolate is always a top gift for Valentine’s day and premium box chocolates will have an especially strong season as we expect more at-home celebrations with the holiday falling on a Tuesday this year. Importantly, gift-givers continue to trade-up and spend more on premium chocolate as they see it as an affordable luxury. 

LP: How has premiumization changed/evolved in the confectionery category?

RH: Premiumization is a long-term trend within confection as consumers are unwilling to compromise on affordable luxuries and choosing to spend more for top-tier brands. More recently, premiumization is extending beyond the core seasons of Holiday and Val to moments of celebration throughout the year. Simply put, people want to acknowledge and make the most of those special "any day" moments and wins in their daily life.

LP: How is Ferrero creating premium experiences to attract shoppers as well as elevate the occasion and overall consumer experience across its brands?

RH: Our team recently launched Ferrero Rocher Premium Chocolate Bars which puts the immersive, multi-textural experience of Ferrero Rocher in a new format that is perfect for self-indulgence and any day celebration.   

Over the years we’ve seen success across the Ferrero portfolio when we introduce more premium ingredients or products. Sales of Butterfinger and Baby Ruth are up significantly since we upgraded those brands with higher quality chocolate, peanuts, and packaging. And Kinder Bueno Ferrero’s ‘everyday premium’ bar has grown into a $167 million brand in North America since we launched in the U.S. in 2019.