Hershey to focus on retailing and consumer trends for Sweets & Snacks Expo

The Hershey Company is to place a key emphasis on retail leadership showcase its leadership in retail and consumer insights for Sweets & Snacks Expo, based upon a striking new two-floor stand for the key event, writes Neill Barston.

As the business explained, it will focus on the value of space for both store and shoppers alike, at the event, which opened for its first day today (Monday 23 May), at McCormick Place with the start of two-day supplier showcase.

Significantly, the company recently participated in a study with Retail Dive, where it explored the needs of retailers. Key insights from this survey will be revealed during the Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Additionally, visitors to the company’s booth (#10704) will sample products from Hershey’s diverse portfolio, including Cadbury, Fulfil, Jolly Rancher, Kit Kat, Lily’s Sweets, ONE Bars, Reese’s, and Rolo, and new product offerings from Pirate’s Booty and SkinnyPop Popcorn.

The Hershey Company gathered critical insights from retailers regarding the importance of redesigning and discovering new spaces in retail following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the 160 retailers participating in the study say they are planning to update their front-end store space to provide a more convenient and efficient shopping experience for consumers, including continued growth opportunities like paypoints and cashier-less checkouts. Finding ways to redesign these spaces is important to meet evolving consumer expectations, improve customer experience, streamline operations and increase basket size.

According to the survey, which will be released in early June 2022, 61.6% of the surveyed retailers plan to significantly renovate or update their store space in the next 1-5 years – the most popular update being the addition of new paypoints in their locations.

“In our survey, we found that 37.8% of retailers plan to increase the number of paypoints in their stores within the next year,” said Gina Peterson, Senior Manager of Retail Experience, The Hershey Company. “This is critical for many retailers in order to meet new expectations from consumers and continue to help drive bigger baskets. We can expect the trend toward more self-checkout and cashier-less paypoints to continue.”

A total of 73.8% of retailers surveyed said that the front-end floor design in their store plays a role in customers’ unplanned purchases, and 47.6% of surveyed retailers are motivated to make front-end renovations and updates to help improve customer experience. Adding new paypoints helps increase purchases, especially unplanned buys.

Additionally, more paypoints can solve other challenges for retailers, too. While nearly 30% of respondents said that the greatest challenge to their location is staffing shortages, 34.8% said adding more self-checkout paypoints will help alleviate their staffing challenges. 31.1% of retailers even stated they envision a cashier-less future in their stores within the next 1-5 years.

The majority of retailers surveyed also shared that online shopping will make up more of their sales moving forward. While 15.9% of surveyed retailers predict more than half of their sales will derive from e-commerce in 2022, that percentage jumps to 26.8% of retailers who expect e-commerce to yield more than half of their total sales by 2027. However, unplanned and “treat myself moments” in stores continue to remain the driving forces for consumers.

“The trend of digital commerce sales continues to accelerate, but we know that consumers are mostly purchasing their products in stores,” said Peterson. “Unplanned buys and occasions are still important for consumers, which is why we are dedicated to helping our retail partners grow in new and innovative ways in their locations.”

Hershey believes that consumer satisfaction is key to driving innovation, as evidenced by the April 2022 launch of the Reese’s Pantry Pack.

The portable, organisable, compact package neatly stocked with 25 individually wrapped snack-size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups helps to create a more convenient and efficient way for consumers to stock up on products, thus helping retailers adapt to consumers’ needs.

This innovative new packaging solves key consumer needs based on evolving habits. According to findings from Hershey, 31% of consumers are eating at home more, 40% want a well-stocked pantry and 43% believe it’s more affordable to stock up.

The Reese’s brand has also seen an uptick in home-based occasions during the pandemic, like movie nights and baking, encouraging more snacking opportunities as a family. In addition to helping consumers have efficient pantry space, Reese’s Pantry Pack is also beneficial to retailers, as 57% of surveyed retailers[ plan to deploy more occasion-based merchandising in stores over the next 6-12 months than they did in 2021.

“We listened to our consumers’ wish lists, and what we found was the need for more of our products at once, but in a compact and organized way,” said Nathan Forney, Senior Manager of Packtypes Strategy, The Hershey Company. “We’re helping change the way people think of their pantry space with this new product, and we expect this uptick in pantry loading to continue.”

On Tuesday, May 24, at 8:15 a.m. in the Eye-Opener Room 183B at Sweets & Snacks Expo, Jason Reiman, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Officer of The Hershey Company, will be a guest speaker during the session, “State of the Supply Chain: What Have We Learned and Where Are We Going?” Reiman will participate in the panel with industry supply chain leaders. He will share valuable insights and outlooks on the supply chain in the short, medium and long-term spaces.

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