By: Jennifer Childers | McLane Company Category Data Analyst

In late 2023, The McLane Category Insight team partnered with key vendors, such as Mars, Hershey, Mondelez, Ferrara, Ferrero, Pro Mark, Crossmark, A C Central, CA Carlin, and Advantage, to analyze candy sets. Using IRI, Nelson, and McLane data, the focus was on refining the planogram (POG) to create a stronger mix, addressing underperforming items and supply chain challenges. The goal was to assist customers with category growth and shelf optimization. Here’s what we discovered:

Refreshment Segment

  • Overall growth in refreshment (gum and mint) is at 15.3%.
    • Gum sales are up 16%, primarily driven by mega and bottle packs (20% growth).
    • Though the largest growth is in larger packs the single pack gums are also up 12%.
    • Mint sales are up 11%, with standard packs outpacing larger packs.
    • Fruity flavors in gum and mints have seen increased sales, with mint-flavored gum holding the largest share.

Our Recommendation: When evaluating your planogram assortment be careful not to cut out your single serve items as they are core to the set and provide an entry price point for new flavors and those suffering from inflation. Also, look at your space to sales for Gum and Mint. Gum holds an 80% share and mint a 10% share.

Instant Consumables Confection (IC Confection)

  • Chocolate experiences a 10% increase in dollars but a -5% decrease in units due to price adjustments.
    • Non-chocolate sees a 3.7% growth in dollars but a -10.6% decline in units.
    • Chocolate King-size bars dominate sales, comprising 72% of IC space.

Our Recommendation: Be strategic with thestandard bar assortment. Though standard bars are important to the category as there are shoppers who will not trade up, the top 10 items make up 50% of standard bar sales.

Peg Candy Segment

  • Peg Candy records a 12% growth in dollars, with a slight -1.6% dip in units.
    • Non-chocolate dominates with an 84% share, led by gummies (13% growth), sour (14%), and sweet (12%).
    • Fruit snacks exhibit a 20% growth in both dollars and units, prompting a move to the front of the set.

Our Recommendation: Look at your merchandising strategy here. Space to sales of brands has shifted in the last year so you may have a new brand or segment leader. For example, we chose to move fruit snacks to the front as the growth of the segment is high and the sales per item is higher than the deep lines extensions of other brands.

McLane’s category insights team’s approach revolves around adapting to market trends, optimizing product mix, and enhancing the planogram to drive category growth and ensure well-stocked shelves for McLane customers.