MCLEAN, Va. -- The National Confectioners Association here will develop a candy marketing program to aid retailers. The program is tentatively titled: "Confectionery and Successful Category Management."
The association's first step will be to conduct "a comprehensive study on the candy category," Bill Sheehan, NCA's manager of communications, told SN.
Last year, NCA said it would organize a retail advisory board to help it address retail concerns but has since put that project on a back burner.
"We put it on hold because our Sweet Truth Trade Relations Committee wanted to do the study first. We want to focus our efforts and devote our time to this key project this year," Sheehan said.
He added that this study would touch on all classes of trade -- including supermarkets, mass merchandisers and chain drug stores -- but will concentrate primarily on supermarkets because they still hold the largest share of candy sales.
Sheehan said the impetus for the marketing program study is the fact that candy sales are soft. What NCA and its trade committee want to do is gather as much data as possible to measure candy's performance and merchandising status vs. other snack foods.
"We want to look at it from a retail buyer and/or merchandiser's point of view. We want to get a better understanding of what they're seeing and where candy fits in," Sheehan explained.
"And then we would put a package together, a marketing program, and get it out to the respective retail channels. That way, we're not just sitting around talking about what we want to do, we're actually going to address the problems," said Sheehan.
He also said NCA has plans to publish a quarterly newsletter to spotlight retailers with outstanding candy programs, "so that candy buyers throughout the industry can see that [certain merchandising tactics] really work."
Meanwhile, NCA also will incorporate the results of an earlier retail/wholesale survey, conducted last year.
Of the more than 300 respondents in that survey, 84.8% said they merchandise candy at the checkout; 73.1% in a freestanding display; 74.6% use end cap displays; 67.8% in the gondola; 55.7% employ dump bins; 39.4% in counter displays, and 7.2% merchandise candy in all places.
The majority of candy buyers, 72.7%, said promotional activity takes place at the checkouts. About sixty-two percent said they use the promotional aisle, end caps were named by 62.1% and gondolas by 61.4%.