It is always fun to see what made it on the Top 10 Food & Beverage list on the annual IRI New Products Pacesetter report. Fun, and revealing. What really struck me was that in the face of a continuing onslaught of new products touting health and wellness benefits, #1 on the list for 2018 was Kinder Joy and #2 was M&M’s Caramel, each generating more than $100MM in year one. The draw of an everyday sweet treat – chocolate in any form – is clearly irresistible, and likely more primal than any health benefit a food or beverage can promise. My experience researching chocolate/sweet snacks confirms this. When you hear the language consumers use to talk about how chocolate candy makes them feel, and the lengths moms will go to hide their private stash of sweet indulgences, you understand how these items made it to the top of the list.
Kinder Joy is particularly interesting. According to IRI, the Chocolate Novelty category household penetration before Kinder Joy was 1.5%; after, 16%.How could this tiny brand break through so broadly and so quickly? My take on why it worked so well (with confirmation from an insider in the chocolate novelty business):
* The combination of candy/chocolate and a toy in one product is a real draw for kids - and @$1.50 makes it an affordable treat for mom, dad, grandparents etc.
* The surprise factor of not knowing what toy you’re going to find in the egg enhances the appeal for kids, and eggs on (sorry for the pun) the kids to get the adult to buy it for them.
* Having to assemble the toy makes the experience fun - I’ve seen this in research I’ve conducted for candy that is customizable and “interactive."
* Scooping the cocoa out of the egg shape with the provided spoon is interactive and fun as well.
* The product must be tasty enough to get kids to ask for another egg - although it looks like white chocolate, which I would think would be a deterrent...
* The collectability is driving repeat purchase - especially because Ferrero tied into Avengers, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and Frozen.
* The extensive range of toys is driving depth of repeat.
Factor in that Kinder Joy has been a popular global brand for years - popular enough to be imported illegally for years prior to FDA approval - and you can see how almost 50% of households with kids under 11 have bought Kinder Joy.
Looking forward to seeing what tops the charts in 2019.