Sweets & Snacks Expo

Mars-Wrigley appeals to Gen Z through product innovation, including gummies and peanut butter

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Mars-Wrigley
Source: Mars-Wrigley

Related tags mars wrigley Gummies Candy

Gen Z consumers prefer new snacking experiences "that are talking to them in an authentic way," Mike Gilroy, the Mars-Wrigley’s VP of trade development and sponsorship, told FoodNavigator-USA at the Sweets & Snacks Expo earlier this month.

Leveraging brands like M&M’s and Skittles into mini formats and sizes, Mars-Wrigley opens innovation to cater to Gen Z consumers who are looking for novel tastes, textures and formats in a convenient format.

The company launched during the National Association for Convenience Stores conference last October​ the Skittles Minis and Peanut Butter M&M’s Minis, which Gilroy explained serves as both a portable classic snack as well as an at-home baking and ice cream topping.

Gilroy explained that while the company is focused on grabbing Gen Z consumers’ attention through different formats and bringing new consumers to its brand, the company is still focused on its “older, trusted consumers that love our brands.”

The ‘continued rise of gummies’

STARBURST Gummies All Pink (1)
Source: Mars-Wrigley

The “continued rise of gummies” shapes the company’s portfolio. Mars-Wrigley was “long in the gummies game” with its Lifesavers brand for more than a decade, and the company developed gummies of its Skittles and Starburst brands, both which were featured at the show, Gilroy explained. Skittles Gummies are available in Wild Berry and Original flavors, while Starburst Gummies are available in Sour, Original and All Pink flavors.

“Gummies are a massive opportunity [that] appeals to Gen Z. Retailers… are looking at unit growth, not just dollar growth. … Gummies continue to rise as a category [which] is up 2.5% year on year in units,” Gilroy said.

He added that the category’s growth is built upon a unit growth of 4% the year prior, which is primarily driven Gen Z consumers “who really love gummies.” More than half (57.6%) of Gen Z consumers prefer gummies, highlighting the generations’ impact on this booming​ category.

Peanut Butter M&M’s Mega serves as a generational bridge

The company’s Peanut Butter M&M’s launch in the Mega format, which combines chocolate and peanut butter in a larger size, also introduces younger consumers to the brand while keeping its existing base through the popular flavor pairing. Peanut butter and chocolate continue to reach widespread popularity for its sweet and salty combination, which highlights consumers’ preferences across all ages for layered, indulgent flavors.

“Peanut butter is the No. 1 flavor pairing when you are talking about chocolate. It presents people with a level of comfort when you think about peanut butter,” Gilroy said.

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