Mars Chocolate North America is motivated by a desire to deliver
great products that consumers will love. BY SETH MENDELSON
AT MORE THAN 100 YEARS OLD, you would think it would be safe to say that it is time to slow down. Yet, the people who run Mars Chocolate North America, the candy division of Mars Incorporated, have a totally dif- ferent view. Instead of slowing down and perhaps resting
on their laurels, they are in the process of introducing more and more
items to the candy segment, hoping that these products will bring in
new customers and give existing shoppers more choices.
To borrow a phrase from Mark Twain, rumors of the decline of the
candy market have been greatly exaggerated for many years. Industry
officials have long said that consumers are looking for healthier alter-
natives to traditional candy products, seeking to eliminate as much
sugar from their diets as possible. But often what consumers say they
want is quite different than how they act when they walk supermarket
aisles. In fact, the candy section may be the best example of this
behavior. Industry statistics show that candy sales are increasing and
retailers are responding with more space on shelves, and thankfully
for a market where more than 80 percent of volume is on impulse,
more secondary locations that spur these decisions.
Still, officials at the Hackettstown, N.J.-based Mars Chocolate division are hedging their bets a bit on the candy market. On one hand,
they are moving full-steam ahead on line extensions on such products as M&M’S, Dove, Snickers and Milky Way, confident that new
varieties of these popular items will generate additional consumer
interest, build sales and add profits to the ledgers of retailers across
the country, not to mention Mars itself.
“Candy consumption is going up,” says Larry Lupo, Mars’ vice
president of sales—grocery, convenience stores and drugstores. “And