Hershey makes major return to US National Association of Convenience Stores show

The Hershey Company is showcasing its latest drive towards ‘instant consumables’ and delivering a greater array of snacks options at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) event, beginning today in Chicago, US.

Taking place at McCormick Place, which is also the traditional home of the Sweets and Snacks Expo, the key retailing event takes place for the first time in two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Visitors to the show can expect the Hershey booth (#4631) to highlight how it is driving trips to c-stores through key consumer insights that address evolving needs and trip missions. While shoppers changed their habits during the pandemic, snacks innovation continues to make retail venues a destination for consumers.

“It was especially important this past year that we were able to create innovation and excitement to help drive trips, increase basket size and optimise the category, and that’s exactly what we did,” said Glenn Frazier, Director of Category Management for U.S. Convenience, The Hershey Company. “While core brands remain the bedrock of the business, new products and limited-edition products continue to make c-stores a destination for the candy, mint and gum category – a top-dollar sales category for the channel.”

Fan favourites in the candy category, including the company’s Milk Chocolate, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with almonds, Reese’s and KIT KAT, generate 18% of category sales, and exclusive c-store launches, like Reese’s Snack Cake, continue to make the c-store channel a destination for consumers, even amid changing consumer behaviours during the pandemic.

Hershey’s key insights show that, while unplanned and “treat myself moments” remained key drivers for consumers shopping c-stores during the pandemic, with a spike in stock-up trips and larger pack purchases. Moving forward, we can expect some continued changes.

“Our insights show that consumers will still prefer to shop the channel in-store versus online and app ordering, which still represents less than 10% of transactions,” said Frazier. “We also found that while “need it now” is a top motivator for those purchasing in the category, and retailers are seeing an uptick in afternoon visits for treats and meals, more shoppers will pivot from larger pack sizes to instant consumable packs moving forward.”

Effective merchandising is also essential to sparking impulsive purchases and building baskets. Out-of-aisle merchandising throughout the store drives sales and is rooted in the consumer decision process to help shoppers locate products quickly. With 58% of category purchases partially planned or not planned at all, merchandising is critical to boosting unplanned purchases.

Armed with these key insights surrounding what customers are looking for, The Hershey Company continues to lean into its expertise as a category leader to shape new occasions for consumers. In December 2020, the company leveraged key consumer information to help innovate a well established brand, Reese’s, in the c-store channel, launching a new product – Reese’s Snack Cake.

Hershey found that during mid-morning, people seek more indulgent treats, like snack cakes and at least 50% of snack cake and nutrition bar users are open to trying new brands. With this desire from consumers for new flavours and opportunities for occasions, Hershey set out to help bring significant innovation to the snack cake category, driving excitement for the occasions. Within six months, Reese’s snack cake became a top 10 item within the category. For more information visit www.thehersheycompany.com

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