Evaluating Industry Marketing Practices: The Candy Industry

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Evaluating Industry Marketing Practices – The Candy Industry

Marketing is imperative to the growth of every company.  It is used to capture the consumer and keep the consumer interested in the product.  Hershey’s food corporation and Nestle Co. are both candy manufacturers that can easily be compared because they are in direct competition since they share the same target market in the same target areas.  Through marketing, both companies must focus on attracting their target markets by developing an effective market mix of product, price, promotion, and place.

Major Target Markets and How Many People in Each Target Market

The target market of the candy and other confectionery goods industry is children and adults with a sweet tooth.  Consumers of all ages satisfy their sugar cravings with candy; both Hershey and Nestle target to these consumers.  Although it is true that candy in general markets to all consumers, there are certain products that focus on a specific market.  An example of this would be Hershey creating kosher products to meet the dietary needs of those who follow religious diets. 

In both Hershey and Nestle, there are numerous products that market to more specific consumers through creating products that are kosher, low in fat, conscious of peanut allergies, and improve dental health.  By doing so, both companies can create products that appeal to all consumers.  This target market is large and can be found in places all over the world.  Since this is such a large and diverse target market, there exists a large window of marketing opportunities to capitalize on profitability.

How Target Markets Differ in Terms of Wants and Needs

The target markets can be divided into children and adults, and then further subdivided into consumers with allergies, consumers with religious dietary needs, and consumers who are health conscious.  The difference between children consumers and adult consumers is a great one.  Children tend to be attracted to fun looking products that are sweet and colorful, while adults lean towards products that are more health conscious and provide more nutritional value (Cassel, 2009) (Spinner, 2009).


After the target market is identified, the company must come up with a diverse array of products to meet the wants and needs of each consumer.  A product is anything that meets the wants and needs of a customer and is available for purchase.  To attract children, companies use colorful packaging, bite size products, added values like games and stickers, products that light up, and products that make noise (Cassel, 2009) (Spinner, 2009).  To attract adult consumers, companies lean towards healthier products because adults tend to be more health conscious with their food choices. 

For consumers with allergies, peanut-less candies are available and also all products are packaged with an ingredient label to protect the consumer from a harmful reaction to the product.  Kosher products are readily available for those consumers with religious dietary needs.  For such consumers, a kosher symbol can be located on the packaging in order to identify the product as kosher. 

Lastly, for those health conscious consumers new products are developed to meet their needs as well.  Products with increasing nutritional value by adding nuts and fruits to the mix are sweeping the market.  Also 100 calorie packs, sugar free products, and products that improve dental health meet the needs of the health conscious consumer.


Price is the amount of money the customer is willing to pay for the product.  Price is hugely affected by the economy of where the business is taking place.  The Hershey Co. is raising prices on its products by an average of 11% as the nation’s largest candy maker tries to stem the impact of soaring commodities costs (Hershey, 2009) (USA, 2008). 

When commodities costs rise, all the companies within the industry must adjust their product price in order to maximize profitability.  The economic crisis in the United States is also taking a toll on the candy and confectionery goods industry. 

Roddy Child-Villiers, head of investor relations at Nestle said, “There’s only so much money in these people’s pockets…we need to be competing very aggressively for our share of their spend” (Nestle, 2009).  By keeping prices affordable in rough economic times will allow even the poorest of consumers to purchase confectionery products.


Promotion is the communication between the customer and the business.  Generally promotion is used to get knowledge about a certain product out to the public and entice the customer to want to buy it.  Promotion is an instrumental part of every business that can be used to boost company sales significantly if executed properly.  Promotion is most commonly seen as advertisements and coupons and is the best way to get information about the product out to the public. 

Advertising also entices the consumer to want to buy the product, which if successful, would boost sales for the company.  Advertisements such as Hershey’s jingle for Kit Kat, “break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar” are simple yet catchy, so that they get stuck in our heads and lure us to buy the product.  

Due to the economic crisis, promotion is even more important because people are cutting costs.  Coupons meet the needs of low-income shoppers or the consumers that are looking to save money.  Also, the use of the web to market to consumers is becoming more popular as an increasing number of consumers are getting their coupons online (Brandau, 2009) (Anonymous, 2009).  Coupon usage was up 10% for the fourth quarter of 2008 and is steadily increasing as the economic recession continues (Anonymous, 2009) (Brandau, 2009).


Place is where the product is marketing itself and where it is being sold.  Hershey’s and Nestle products are found all over the globe from vendors on the streets to large grocery stores.  The Hershey Company is the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate and sugar confectionery (Hershey, 2009) (Research, 2008). 

Hershey’s geographic operating segments include the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and other international locations, such as Japan, Korea, the Philippines, India and China (Company, 2009) (Research, 2008).  Having a presence in business around the globe sets Hershey’s as a dominating force in the candy and other confectionery goods industry.  Nestle is also showing interest in global business and is Switzerland’s largest industrial company (Nestle, 2009) (Nestle Group, 2008).

Although Hershey’s and Nestle confectionery products market to similar consumers, there are slight variations in the international market.  The similarity in the majority of the marketing mix of both companies shows that they are in direct competition of one another and are both after the same customers. This competition is one factor that affects how companies within the candy and  goods industry conduct business.  Another factor would pertain to the threats sand opportunities within the industry.

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