The Candy Maker’s Unique Role
In the world of candy production, Tim LeBel, who typically serves as Mars Wrigley’s president of sales for 11 months of the year, assumes a distinctive role during October. He takes on the title of “chief Halloween officer.”
The Enormous Significance of Halloween
Halloween has traditionally been a pivotal day for candy manufacturers, and it continues to grow in importance. This is especially true for candy giants like Mars, Hershey, Ferrero, and Mondelez, along with the retailers who stock their sweet treats.
Booming Halloween Candy Market
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are projected to spend a staggering $3.6 billion on Halloween candy this year, a noticeable increase from last year’s $3.1 billion. This remarkable trend persists even as many consumers tighten their spending in other areas.
Michele Buck, CEO of Hershey, noted that during challenging economic times, people often seek solace in life’s simple pleasures, such as Halloween.
Mars – More Than Just Candy
While Mars is renowned for its candy lineup, including iconic brands like M&M’s, Snickers, Three Musketeers, and Twix, it’s important to note that the company’s portfolio extends beyond confectionery to include ice cream, chewing gum, and even pet food.
Mars’ Meticulous Planning
With Halloween stakes so high, Mars takes an extraordinary approach. Planning for the holiday begins two years in advance, involving discussions with key retailers about trends related to flavors, packaging, and sustainability.
As Tim LeBel explains, “A lot of those things take two years to develop and execute to bring to market.” This means that ideas considered in 2021 start materializing in 2023.
After the Halloween rush, Mars conducts a detailed post-mortem with retailers. They evaluate which items performed well and which ones went off-trend. This process guides Mars in making future adjustments.
Innovation and Online Presence
Mars always has a few tricks up its sleeve, like the introduction of Skittles Shriekers. Additionally, the company is embracing online shopping. Mars has partnered with digital convenience store Gopuff to ensure a seamless candy supply for Halloween enthusiasts. Visitors can even request a free delivery of Mars candy within an hour, thanks to MMsHalloweenRescueSquad.com.
The Irreplaceable Classics
Despite innovations, Mars treasures its classics, such as Snickers bars, consistently ranking as the second best-selling Halloween candy, surpassed only by Hershey’s Reese’s cups. Mars’ variety bags also remain popular.
Retailers’ Influence on Mars’ Strategy
Retailer insights are instrumental in shaping Mars’ plans for the upcoming Halloween season. These insights emphasize the value of displaying Mars’ candy portfolio from August to October, capturing multiple consumer occasions.
Last-Minute Candy Rush
While candy sales span the entire Halloween season, LeBel highlights that 48% of Halloween candy sales occur during the last week of October. This underscores the need for Mars and other candy manufacturers to be exceptionally prepared to meet this surge in demand.
Mars’ Success Story
Mars’ meticulous planning has certainly paid off. The company not only met but exceeded its production targets this Halloween season, leaving ample stock ready to ship.