HERSHEY, Pa. -- The king-size candy bar has emerged as the fastest-growing pack type in convenience stores this year, and was a key driver of sales for The Hershey Co. in the third quarter, according to a report by Foodnavigator-usa.com.
"Within the c-store channel, the king-sized candy bar has emerged with the fastest-growing pack type. Year-to-date, king size is up about 18 percent ... and [is] on pace to be a $1.1 billion business in convenience stores by year-end," Chief Executive John Bilbrey said during a conference call about Hershey's third-quarter results last week.
In 2011, Hershey's convenience store king-size retail takeaway has increased 22 percent, with market share up 1.6 points, Bilbrey added, noting that Hershey is the king-size leader with a 54-percent share of the segment.
"King-size conversion has progressed nicely due to merchandising, continued distribution gains, innovation and consumer recognition that this is a good price/value proposition," he said.
The company's third-quarter c-store chocolate, non-chocolate and mint takeaways were up 13 percent, 15.4 percent and 13.8 percent, respectively. The gains were driven by price realization, net volume gains due to king-sized growth, and strong in-store merchandising, the report stated.
Commenting on recent launches, Bilbrey said Reese's Minis and Hershey's Drops have been an "overwhelming success. Both products have exceeded our expectations ... We were particularly pleased with the Reese's Minis king-size where dollar velocity ranked second among all king-size offerings in c-stores and sixth in FDMs (food, drug and mass merchandise channels)."
As for new products, he said some "close-end line extensions" are planned for the fourth quarter and early 2012. "Late in the fourth quarter and into 2012, we'll launch some close-end line extensions that will bring variety and excitement to some existing brands including Hershey's Drops, Cookies 'n' Cream at a king-size pack price, Hershey's Pieces Milk Chocolate with Almonds, and Jolly Rancher Crunch 'N Chew," Bilbrey reported.