Hershey, which used to launch more than 200 new products a year, has introduced just 40 items in the first three quarters of 2009 and is instead focusing on core brands. "If people are going to spend money in this market, they are going to spend money on something they really are comfortable with," said Hershey CEO David West this spring.
Private-label candy sales are expected to shrink in the weeks leading up to Halloween as consumers gobble up national brands for trick-or-treating. As the holiday approaches, companies including Hershey and Mars are ramping up marketing efforts, and offering themed packaging and products.
Godiva is launching its Gems line of lower-priced chocolate at supermarkets and other mass retailers. The company expects that the chocolates, which have the same recipe, will help double the company's sales in the next five years.
Dublin-based Jelly Bean Factory will introduce a line of jelly beans for the travel-retail market at the TFWA World Exhibition. Products will include gift jars, tins, and novelty items such as alarm clocks and makeup bags.
ConAgra Foods says it will cut sodium in its products 20% by 2015. "This is a definite challenge, but one that is very worthwhile and one we are confident that we can meet," said Al Bolles, executive vice president of research, quality and innovation for the company, maker and distributor of brands including Chef Boyardee and Hebrew National.