Creating Passionate Followings #1 - The New Seasonal

April 18, 2013
Consumer Flavor Ingredients Trends
The check-out aisle isn’t what it used to be. Confectionery items have new competition for that few dollars extra that consumers are willing to spend. Single serving snacks offer indulgence or a salty treat. An ever increasing array of beverages offers either indulgence or refreshment. New focus on product rotation is the result as confections brands seek to offer a changing assortment of interesting flavor concepts to keep consumer interest.

Seasonal concepts are an obvious means to offer a changing variety. Seasonal candy, especially chocolate and sugar, has been a category mainstay. Even the gum and mint segments are jumping in on seasonal. But even seasonal is changing. Seasonal used to mean Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Halloween. But to make a product rotation strategy really work, we look at seasonal beyond holidays.

Put on your consumer hat for a minute. What is it like to walk into a Target store in March? Sure there is a whole section of Easter products, and more peppered throughout the store from grocery to home décor. But there are also rain boots, gardening tools, baseball gear and more heralding the season. Each season offers us a completely new shopping experience.

After chocolate, color cosmetics and home fragrance are the leading seasonal categories. These products go beyond holidays and tap into the sensory experiences of a season rather than specific holidays. Like berry sorbet lip gloss and “poolside” fragranced candles. How about spring cherry hand lotion?  The beer category has made the most of this as well. Anyone else excited about the return of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy? Yum! Spring Berry Pop-Tarts and Pink Lemonade cake mix were introduced last spring. What can we look forward to now?

Rethinking seasonal beyond holidays can fill the gap between holidays and create anticipation for your next rotational SKU. Think about the trends of the season in terms of colors. What are the flavors of the season inspired by seasonal fruits and traditional dishes?  Lastly, consider the activities of the season. For example, spring flavors inspired by the family brunch - cinnamon rolls, pancakes, fresh melon and pineapple.

Summer Shandy, the Shamrock Shake, and the Pumpkin Spice Latte have passionate followings. How can thinking different about seasonal build passionate followings for confections?