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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The sweet smell of successful marketing

Candy makers are seeing the power of marketing on consumers.

It's been years since miniature versions of full-size candy bars have been on the market. I still remember when Hershey's Kisses and Miniatures were first advertised on TV, and I begged my mom to buy some. As a child, I was enthralled by the idea of trying three or four types of candy instead of having to choose only one to take home from the store. The fact is that most candy consumers are like me. We buy the miniatures because we want variety -- and they fit so great in a candy dish. But that also means that those bite-size treats don't last long once the bag is opened.

But a new day has dawned in the snack food/candy market. Consumers now flock to portion-controlled packaging. Nabisco’s 100-Calorie Packs are all the rage around my office. Nobody feels guilty about a treat when they know exactly how it affects their calorie consumption.

According to a Reuters article, published Wednesday, Hershey Co. and Nestle unveiled similar concepts earlier this week at the All Candy Expo in Chicago. Both companies promoted low-calorie stick versions of their full-size candy bars. Other portion-controlled concepts debuted at the show included 100-calorie packages of Sunkist fruit chews and other low-calorie or sugar-free candies.

The most profound observation comes from Daniel Azzara, Hershey's vice president for global innovation and quality. He told Reuters that this isn't really innovative for the company.

"What's interesting to me is the idea that (now) it's actually labeled "100 calorie" on the front of the package and consumers see that as portion controlled," Azzara said. "In reality, we've had a lot of snack size and Kisses and small pieces of chocolate for a long time."

Azzara's words speak volumes to me. After all, if I couldn't stop at just one Kiss, what would make me think one stick would be enough? Is it because the nutritional information is more clearly displayed? Is my subconscious really that easily fooled? Or is it just that the packaging is more complete? The wrappers are a bit more difficult to open than simply unfoiling a Kiss.
I'm not sure that this marketing ploy will have much effect on how much candy people actually consume, but I do think there will be a lot less guilt surrounding the consumption.

Read the full article on CNN.com here: http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/diet.fitness/06/06/diet.candy.reut/index.html

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