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Why Snickers is poised to rule the candy world

A box of large Snickers candy bars is on display at a Costco store April 4, 2008 in Tucson, Arizona.

Prepare for a new king on the candy throne: Snickers will surpass M&M’s to become the number one candy brand in the world sometime this year, according to a new report from Euromonitor International.

A strong showing in Eastern Europe is a key part of Snickers’ global growth, and Russian sales have more than doubled in just five years.

“Chocolate is sweet and peanuts are not sweet," said Olga Chalykh, as she manned the front desk of Moscow’s Chocolate Hostel. "I like the taste."

That mix of sweet and salty is old news in America, where Snickers debuted in 1930. But it’s quite novel elsewhere.

“It’s certainly a new flavor, a different flavor proposition for much of the rest of the world,” says Euromonitor global head of food research Lee Linthicum. “It’s one that’s actually gaining traction in many markets.”

Peanuts are also a key part of a marketing pitch that touts an energy boost.

“It’s almost like a de facto energy bar, like a PowerBar,” Linthicum adds. “It’s not! It’s a candy bar, but the peanut element is important.”

That pitch has kept Snickers going strong back home in America. To stay on top around the world, though, Snickers will need to expand in China.

“The Chinese don’t have a history with chocolate, but they certainly have an appetite for all things Western,” says Bernard Pacyniak, editor-in-chief of the trade journal Candy Industry.

He points out that India matters too -- but chocolate is tricky there because India’s climate can melt it into a gooey mess.

Kai Ryssdal: Sometime this year, according to the market research firm Euromonitor International, Snickers is going to pass M&Ms and become the number one candy brand in the world.

Marketplace's Mark Garrison explains how it's going to happen.


Mark Garrison: Snickers’ flavor is anything but novel in America. The candy bar debuted in 1930. Herbert Hoover was president. But Lee Linthicum, Euromonitor’s global head of food research, says the peanut-chocolate combo is unusual elsewhere.

Lee Linthicum: It’s certainly a new flavor, a different flavor proposition for much of the rest of the world and it’s one that’s actually gaining traction in many markets.

He predicts all that traction will add up to more than $3.5 billion in Snickers sales this year. The mix of salty and sweet isn’t the only selling point. Linthicum says Snickers’ message of a peanut-powered boost is also working.

Linthicum: It’s almost like a de facto energy bar, like a PowerBar. It’s not, it’s a candy bar -- but the peanut element is important.

That pitch has kept Snickers strong back home in America. To stay on top around the world, Snickers will need to succeed in that rather large East Asian country that winds up in nearly every global business story. Bernard Pacyniak is editor-in-chief of the trade journal Candy Industry.

Bernard Pacyniak: China is the huge market for a lot of major chocolate and confectionary companies. You know, the Chinese don’t have a history with chocolate, but they certainly have an appetite for all things Western.

He says India matters too, but chocolate is tricky because India’s climate can melt it into a gooey mess. So, maybe there’s hope for M&M’s to reclaim the top spot. After all, they promise to melt in your mouth, not in your hand.

In New York, I'm Mark Garrison for Marketplace.

About the author

Mark Garrison is a reporter for Marketplace and substitute host for the Marketplace Morning Report, based in New York.
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