Although American consumers have become ever more health-conscious, they have not lost their sweet tooth. It’s evident that even the most health-conscious shoppers still choose to “treat” themselves to an indulgence now and then. However, like all categories, they are still extremely picky about the ingredients that go in these treats.
Known as a “gateway” category, specialty Chocolate and Other Confectionery items brought in the sixth-highest sales at retail among all 61 specialty food categories, garnering $2.1 billion in 2016 and 3.7 percent market share. Cookies and Snack Bars landed in the top 20 performing categories, with $1.3 billion in sales, a 5.5 percent increase since 2014. (Frozen Dessert saw 33 percent sales growth from 2014- 2016, an impressive number that again indicates shoppers’ love of sweet treats.)
These confectionery categories elicit an emotional response from consumers, so get creative with merchandising displays and invite your customers into a theater where emotions can take over. Retailers can still capitalize on health and nutrition trends by offering chocolate and other sweets that boast fruits, nuts or granola as well as health claims, such as “rich in antioxidants,” “energy-boosting” and “superfood.” In addition, look for those out-of-the-box flavors that offer a new and exciting culinary experience.
Based on customer request, Milkboy Swiss Chocolates launched 1.4-ounce Snack Size Bars of its three top-selling flavors: Alpine Swiss Milk; Alpine Milk with Crunchy Caramel and Sea Salt; and 85 Percent Extra Dark Cocoa. They will be available end of Summer 2017. SRP $1.99 each
718/221-5540 or MilkBoy.com
Delicate, crisp and creamy, Dolcetto Wafer Bites are baked with premium, natural ingredients in 100-calorie snack bags. It’s an indulgent yet portioned treat in three flavors: Zesty Lemon, Chocolate and Cookies & Cream. Check them out at the New York Fancy Food Show, Booth #1740.
310/898-2180 or FusionGourmet.com
There are two new additions to Bissinger’s signature Chocolate Bar Collection: Tart Cherry & Cocoa Nib Crisp; and Strawberry Caramel & Peanut. Bars in this collection are Rainforest Alliance Certified, gluten-free and free from artificial flavors and colors. SRP $5.99 per 3-ounce bar
314/615-2444 or Bissingers.com
Southern Butter Pecan cookies feature Georgia pecans mixed with a blend of real butter, toffee and brown sugar. No substitutes, no shortcuts; only gourmet ingredients.
800/458-2447 or ChristieCookies.com
Chocolate Dipped Orange Slices are premium California Glacé orange slices hand-dipped in a signature reserve dark chocolate for a luxurious indulgence. Each shipper contains 15 wrapped slices with two shippers per case. SRP $2.99 per slice
707/796-7815 or TornRanch.com
Customers can celebrate every festive occasion and birthday with the Rainbow Confetti Collection. This group mixes lots of color and includes paper shopping bags, gift wrap and basket boxes. Request your free Nashville Wraps catalog for more fun packaging options.
800/547-9727 or NashvilleWraps.com
Hampton Popcorn’s Cookies and Cream flavor features caramel popcorn topped with swirls of white chocolate and chocolate cookies. It’s a top-selling flavor that’s available in the signature Hampton Classic 1-Gallon Tin. Retail $12.99-$15.99
Plantation Candies offers an assortment of old-fashioned filled candy available in five flavors. They’re gluten-free and handcrafted in the USA.
Daelmans Stroopwafels launched a new flavor: Chocolate- Caramel, a rich flavor from real chocolate and natural ingredients. It evolves into a soft melty treat when placed atop a hot cup of tea, releasing aromas of cinnamon and vanilla.
212/315-2343 or TheBrandPassport.com
Due to customer request, Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle has released two gluten-free fl avors in 5-ounce resealable bags: Traditional Chocolate Chip and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt. Each boasts a rich chocolate, crunchy taste. MSRP $3.49-$3.99
800/276-9643 or BrownieBrittle.com
Inspired by boutique bakeries, The Invisible Chef’s Bakery Inspired collection of specialty cakes debuts Summer 2017 with three intriguing flavors: Chocolate Almond Swirl, Iced Red Velvet and Smoked Butterscotch Crumb. SRP $9.95.
330/880-5223 or TheInvisibleChef.com
Rocking Chair Mix is a 7-ounce can of a salty-sweet snack made of cereal, pretzels and whole roasted almonds. Each piece is individually coated while ingredients are non-hydrogenated and trans-fat free. SRP $8
434/589-2011 or RedRockerCandyWholesale.com
Funky Chunky Cafe features three flavors inspired by a local coffee shop: Dark Chocolate Mocha (with covered espresso beans); Caramel Latte; and Vanilla Sweet Creme. Large 5-ounce bags SRP for $6.50, and tall 1-pound canisters SRP for $23.50.
888/473-8659 or FunkyChunkyInc.com
The new Mrs. Weinstein’s Gourmet Toffee Popcorn is available in three flavors: Sea Salt Caramel Toffee Popcorn, Original Butter Toffee Popcorn and Cinnamon Crunch Toffee Popcorn. Available in 6-ounce bags (MSRP $6.99) and 8-ounce bags (MSRP $9.99).
800/222-2269 or SweetShopUSA.com
John Kelly Chocolates’ 8-piece assortment box is the perfect gift item for the holiday season. Its award-winning gourmet truffle fudge is hand-made in small batches and packaged in a premium signature box. SRP $33
323/851-3269 or JohnKellyChocolates.com
Candy Cane Caramels feature creamy caramel dipped in Fair Trade Certified dark chocolate and Marich’s signature candy cane coating. Available in the grab-and-go 2.1-ounce Single Serve (SRP $2.49-$2.99); a snackable resalable pouch (SRP $4.99-$5.99); or a 48-count Pouch Shipper Floor Display.
800/624-7055 or Marich.com
Italy’s Rigoni di Asiago is now offering Nocciolata (pronounced no-cho-lata) Dairy Free, a certified-vegan alternative of its chocolate-hazelnut spread in 9.52-ounce glass jars. Made with organic ingredients and free from GMO’s, preservatives, colors, additives or artificial sweeteners.
425/398-9761 or CulinaryCollective.com
Iconic caramel brand Werther’s Original announced its newest flavor variety, Cocoa Crème Soft Caramels. Pairing the rich, creamy caramel fans love with a smooth, luxurious creamy chocolate filling, this is a first-time flavor combination for the company. SRP $2.49 Werthers-Original.us
Feeling meets flavor in the Mixed Emotions Collection, a 4.25- ounce, five-flavor gift box from Jelly Belly. Each flavor represents a feeling: Lemon/Happy, Sour Apple/Playful, Sizzling Cinnamon/Grumpy, Berry Blue/Sad and Orange Crush/Love.
800/323-9380 or JellyBelly.com