We recently spent time with Laurens Gerlings, vice president of sales for Hershey Canada.
Here are Gerlings’ top five merchandising tips to help you increase confectionery profits:
1. Find the right balance. “It’s very much making sure you have the right product mix: based on the trends we’re seeing, retailers should be looking at 10% mint, 25% gum, and 65% chocolate and sweet.”
2. Follow the latest trends. “One big consumer trend is dark chocolate, which we’re tapping into with the Brookside brand. The mint category is also becoming very relevant: in the last 52 weeks in the convenience channel specifically, the Hershey Ice Breakers brand is up 16%.”
3. Don’t fight the impulse. “The confectionery category is highly impulsive: 50% of consumers go in with the idea of buying confection. The household penetration rate for confectionery is 98%, however, so it’s all about making sure you’re converting the consumer who comes into your store to purchase confection on top of whatever else they were planning to buy.”
4. Create excitement with promotions. “Two-for pricing and combos are very effective for this retail channel. Nothing can be better than walking into a store at lunch time and buying that drink with a sandwich and a chocolate bar.”
5. Work with your full-service distributor. “We’re reinvesting in making sure we have the right coverage and that we’re educating full-service distributor reps about how important this category is to retailers, and to them. Full-service distributors are important to the retailer, because the retailer is asked to know or understand a lot.”
 Nielsen MT; National 5 Channels, YTD & L12W PE July 26, 2014.
 Hershey’s Canadian Missions Survey (2012), TCG Analysis.
 Nielsen Homescan.