Ferrero’s seasonal offerings are up 51% year over year ahead of Valentine’s Day, Vice President of Category Management & Shopper Insights Phil DeConto said Feb. 12.
Ferrero‘s sales are growing faster than those of other premium chocolate makers; this year the figure stands north of 37% while industry-wide sales were up 20%. For Valentine’s Day candy specifically, the spread it almost as impressive: Ferrero’s holiday offerings are up 51% year over year, versus 37% growth in Valentine’s offerings across the premium chocolate category. The company maintains its North American headquarters in Parsippany.
DeConto talked to NJBIZ amid the biggest push for lover’s chocolate, which falls Feb. 11 through Feb. 14 each year.
“Chocolate has had a very successful year. This has been a very trying time for Americans … I don’t think we need to rehash it, and a lot of Americans are looking to chocolate for moments of bliss or normalcy, for treating yourself or your household,” DeConto said.
Early sales of Valentine’s products, like Ferrero Collection Heart Shaped Boxes and Crunch Candy & Card Kits, aren’t exclusively due to the holiday, DeConto said. January purchases are more likely for sharing at home pre-holiday and will likely be followed up with a purchase closer to the holiday.
“One of the things we talk about is merchandizing drives purchasing. The more you can have displays, the more you can make it enticing and drive awareness, the more people are going to purchase it,” he said.
“We’re likely to picture romantic gifting for Valentine’s Day and that’s certainly a driver, and there’s certain pack types that fit that. But then friendship gifting, or as coined by Parks & Rec gifting for ‘Galentine’s Day’ and then parent gifting, the Crunch and Butterfinger sets are [perfect for that],” DeConto said.
The sweets appreciation extends beyond the candy aisle and into the kitchen, too.
“Baking is at an all-time high. There’s a lot of appeal to baking, there’s something ritualistic, there’s a great parent-child binding opportunity, and who doesn’t like to have the smell of fresh-baked cookies in the house?” DeConto said.
Ferrero has been working with baking influencers to increase engagement with its Butterfinger brand on Twitter through its #butterfingerbakers hashtag, and Ferrero’s website and Pinterest offer up Nutella-stuffed recipes.