Chocolate brands

Increased dollar sales in the U.S. candy market

ConfectioneryNews analyzes sales data from multiple outlets in the United States, including C stores and IRI Market Analysts’ supermarkets for the 52 weeks through August 7, 2016.

Data shows strong performance from market leaders Mars and Hershey and share losses for Nestlé USA.

The chocolate market is driven by value. The value of sales of chocolate confectionery in the United States during the period increased 1.6% to $ 13.6 billion, but unit sales fell 2.3%.

Chocolate products cost an average of $ 0.08 more than the previous year, or an average of $ 2.07 per unit.

SMALLER SIZES: Mars & Hershey

Dollar sales for chocolate weighing less than 3.5 ounces. (99g) increased by 2.4%, but unit sales of this segment decreased by 0.5%.

Reese is the number one smaller chocolate candy with $ 553.5 million in sales and a 13.5% value share. © iStock / robtek

Hershey performed best in small sizes. It posted revenue of $ 2 billion in the category, up 2.7% year-on-year.

Hershey accounted for nearly half of sales by value in the US small-size chocolate category, behind its closest competitor March, which accounted for 36.3% of total category sales.

The Hershey’s Reese’s brand extended its lead in the small size category with sales growth of 6.2% in dollars, while the Hershey’s Chocolate brand also increased its sales in value by 1.8%. The Hershey’s Almond Joy brand performed particularly well with dollar sales up 10%.

March’s small-sized chocolate dollar sales increased 2.9% with strong performance from M & M’s and Twix 4TB Go.


[52 Weeks Ending Aug 7, 2016 (YOY) – Total U.S. Multi-Outlet w/ C-Store (Supermarkets, Drugstores, Mass Market Retailers, Gas/C-Stores, Military Commissaries and Select Club & Dollar Retail Chains)]

Source: IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm (@irimondial)

SMALLER SIZES: Nestlé USA, Lindt & Ferrero

While Nestlé’s S1 resultsCall last month, its chief financial officer Francois Roger said the company was facing “Intense competition in the general public segment” in American confectionery. This has been highlighted in the IRI data.

Butterfinger Nestlé United States - robtek
Butterfinger estimates sales of products weighing less than 3 oz (99 g) down 18.2% to $ 87 million. © iStock / robtek

Nestlé USA’s sales by value fell 14.1% in small chocolate during the period. It was the third player in the petite size category, but Butterfinger was its only product to make the top 20, and the brand’s sales were down 18.17%.

Jean-Philippe Bertschy, analyst at Banque Vontobel, recently suggestedNestlé is considering offloading its confectionery business in the United States, especially as its global bestseller KitKat is licensed in Hershey in the United States.

Mondelēz said last week that it continues to explore acquisition targets after recently abandoning his interest in Hershey.

Lindt – which outperformed the chocolate industry globally last year – saw declines in small-format American chocolate during the period. The company’s dollar sales fell 4.5% in the category, and none of its brands made it into the top 20.

Ferrero USA also did not have any brands in the top 20, but increased its total dollar sales by 7.8% in small chocolate formats.

The Italian confectioner was presented as another possible acquisition target for Mondelēz.


The big M&M of March - lovleah
Mars M & M’s leads the sales of larger chocolate candies in the United States with a 13.5% share, beating its closest competitor brand Hershey Chocolate (7.4% share in dollars). © iStock / lovleah

Dollar sales of chocolate weighing more than 3.5 ounces. (99g) are up 1.6% in value and 0.3% in unit sales over the period.

Hershey dominated the category, accounting for 39% of overall sales. Hershey’s Chocolate, Reese’s and Kisses all posted growth in dollar sales. However, sales of Brookside chocolate were down 22%.

The second largest player March saw a 3.7% growth in plus sizes thanks to its M & M’s brand, which increased its dollar sales by 10.3%, despite a price reduction of $ 0.06 on average.

Nestlé USA was down 2.2% in the category, as its Butterfinger and Raisinets brands both saw sales decline in dollars.

Lindt posted a strong performance in the large sizes with sales growth in value of 2.9% for Lindt & Sprüngli and growth of 3.6% for its subsidiary Ghirardelli. Sales by value of its best-performing brand, Lindor, increased 4.5%.


[52 Weeks Ending Aug 7, 2016 (YOY) – Total U.S. Multi-Outlet w/ C-Store (Supermarkets, Drugstores, Mass Market Retailers, Gas/C-Stores, Military Commissaries and Select Club & Dollar Retail Chains)]

Source: IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm (@irimondial)

NB – Data for all chocolate includes snack sizes, gift boxes, novelties and sugar-free chocolate, which are not taken into account in our analysis.

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