In just a few weeks, professionals in the convenience and fuel retailing industry will converge in Chicago for the annual NACS Show – a consortium of more than 23,5000 industry stakeholders all focused on one goal: growing the convenience channel’s bottom line.
In the second part of this four-part blog series, we look at The Hershey Company’s consumer-driven insights and some of the top trends c-store owners and operators can expect to see, hear and taste when they stop by Hershey’s booth (#4616) at NACS.
In our previous blog, we shared the opportunities that exist for c-store operators who embrace the power of sweet and salty snacks to meet the taste preferences of their increasingly snack-oriented shoppers.
Once more clearly defined and segmented, snacking categories are blurring as manufacturers create more new and complex snacks. This blurring of lines has given rise to boundless opportunities for a highly sought-after snacking ingredient: chocolate. This is seen over and over as chocolate snacks outpace total snack growth in c-store. Fifty-nine percent of consumers report they use snacking as an opportunity to indulge. Since the chocolate category already accounts for half of c-store sales, c-store operators should lean into chocolate as a tremendous growth driver.
Thanks to iconic, beloved brands like Reese’s and Hershey’s, The Hershey Company is particularly advantaged in this area. We’re using this position of strength to develop merchandising and product innovation that support our retail partners and help them build baskets and drive sales.
As we look at the c-store channel, Reese’s is the largest confection brand by far: It's 62% larger than the next brand, with more households purchasing Reese’s than any other confection brand across the U.S. Reese’s includes the No. 1-selling confection item – the iconic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups King Size, and six of the top 20 chocolate/non-chocolate items in the channel. The Reese’s brand also accounts for over 47% of all seasonal sales within c-store, with the top two items in all four seasons (Valentine's, Easter, Halloween, and Holiday). As a comparison, the next largest brand accounts for only ten percent of seasonal sales.
Through product innovation, The Hershey Company has consistently leveraged the strength of the Reese’s brand to create even more opportunities for c-store shoppers to indulge. In 2016, we introduced Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups – a buzz-worthy fusion of two of our favorite Reese’s products – and drove $60 million in c-store sales. Today, we’re springboarding from the success of Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter cups and leveraging the popularity of sweet and salty snacks to innovate more Reese’s product innovations across other categories in the store, items that land solidly in the “sweet and salty” and “crunchy and textured” sweet spot. This includes our Reese’s Pretzels, Reese’s Popped Snack Mix and Reese’s Crunchers, the last of which won best in show at the 2017 Sweets and Snacks Expo earlier in the year.
We’ll be sampling Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cup, Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups, Reese’s Dipped Pretzels, Reese’s Popped Mix and Reese’s Crunchers at our booth during NACS, so be sure to stop by and indulge if you’re on the show floor.
In c-store, location and positioning of products is key. C-store owners and operators can leverage the power of Reese’s via planogram optimization. This includes Reese’s recognizable brand positioned within the first four feet of the aisle to draw shoppers’ attention and invite them in – it’s truly the power of orange! Additional merchandising of Reese’s top-selling confection products in secondary locations throughout the path to purchase is key to capitalizing on all sales opportunities.
Reese’s continues to partner with the NCAA to generate consumer excitement around the brand. We know fans of NCAA sports love Reese’s and 80% of Reese’s consumers watch the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, making the NCAA and Reese’s the perfect combination. We’ve seen many retailers benefit from leaning into Reese’s partnership with the NCAA throughout the year, implementing branded end caps, displays and signage to guide shoppers right to the products they want the most.
In addition, we are excited to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Reese’s in 2018, with programming and support planned around this exciting milestone. More details to come on how The Hershey Company will celebrate 90 years of Reese’s love with our retail partners and loyal Reese’s shoppers, so stay tuned…
Household penetration peaks for categories like candy during seasonal periods, with seasonal limited-time-offerings packing tremendous appeal for chocolate enthusiasts and giving other shoppers a new usage occasion.
As previously mentioned, Reese’s ranks among the top two products for all four seasons – Valentine’s, Easter, Halloween and Holiday – yet only 45% of c-store retailers currently participate in seasons. This signals a tremendous opportunity for the channel – especially smaller and independent chains.
Consider bundling Reese’s and other top-selling items with popular categories like fountain drinks. You can accomplish this by cross-merchandising Reese’s from or near these areas.
This is a play that can also be leveraged in food service. Reese’s is an excellent add-on to an existing meal deal – giving you another chance to build the shopper’s basket and giving them an opportunity to enjoy a much-loved treat at the end of their meal.
The Reese’s brand, as outlined here, continues to be a critical growth driver within the c-store channel. Our team of experts is always available to work with c-store owners and operators to decide what types of promotions, displays and Reese’s product mixes will appeal most to shoppers.
Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at Hershey’s gold standard planogram and c-store category insights we’ll be sharing at 2017 NACS. In the meantime, check out our recent blog in the 2017 NACS Series, “The Power of Sweet & Salty in C-Store.”