Washington — NCA is kicking off National Candy Month with the support of retailers across the country. According to the Association, the event will be celebrated with special displays, promotions and signage at more than 31,000 stores, by retailers including Coborn’s Inc., Dollar General Corp., Hy-Vee, Inc., Sheetz, Inc., RaceTrac Petroleum, Inc., TravelCenters of America LLC, and SuperValu. In addition, many distributors are working with independent retailers to support the event and boost sales during the start of summer.
As part of the event, the Association revealed the top three summer candy flavors — strawberry, watermelon and cherry — and the top three summer candy types — chocolate, gummies and hard candy. In addition, the group offered details on how consumers plan to incorporate confections into their summer plans, with 94 percent of Americans who camp noting they will bring chocolate or candy with them and 93 percent saying candy is a must on road trips.
“Whether you’re headed to the beach or to the pool, out for a hike or just to your backyard, chocolate and candy can add some sweetness to the summer,” John Downs, NCA president & CEO, says. “With more retailers joining us in this fun and unique national awareness moment, we are bringing the National Candy Month celebration to more and more people nationwide.”
Hy-Vee, Inc. saw success with National Candy Month in 2020 and Todd Gean, category manager- candy, says this year the supermarket chain will have 280 stores taking part and is offering employees the chance to participate in a display contest with cash prizes to help engage at the store level.
“National Candy Month is our fifth holiday, and it gives us an opportunity to create excitement within our category and bridge the gap between Easter and Halloween,” Gean tells Candy & Snack TODAY. “I truly feel it’s something that will continue to grow in popularity and serves as a ‘welcome to summer’ promotion that our customers really enjoy.”
He says in 2020 the company included an in-ad National Candy Month callout with different features each week.
Coborn’s Inc. is also expanding the program in 2021, according to Andy Knoblauch, vice-president of center store merchandising, noting the company participated with limited stores in 2020 and grew candy sales 38 percent for the month. The program is running companywide for 2021.
TravelCenters was one of the retailers that tested the program in 2020, and the results were so promising it is participating again this year with inline and endcap gondola toppers, gas island pump toppers, wind masters, door clings, M&M’s feet decals on floor to lead you from the entrance to the main end cap, wobblers and shelf strips, reports Peter J. Kempton Jr., category manager, centerstore. The company is also offering mix and match pricing by pack types across the category.
Kempton points out that even though the 2020 test was in the middle of the pandemic it was evident this was a viable fifth season opportunity. “This newest season bridges the gap between Easter and Halloween,” he says, adding: “It is not only important for the retailers and manufacturers to support the industry, but what a great time to do so during the spring and summer vacation/travel season.”
NCA is also engaging with consumers, retailers and manufacturers online through a social media campaign using the hashtag #NationalCandyMonth to share the message that chocolate and candy add some sweetness to the summer months and liven up many celebrations. The Association will be using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram platforms.