Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Peeps hatch plan to sell all year

Easter’s famous marshmallow chicks have come to roost year-round.

Peeps, one of Easter’s most popular candies, may dominate the marshmallow candy market, but it’s yet to be determined if they can survive on the shelves year-round. Starting May 1, Just Born, the treat’s manufacturer, will add new varieties of Peeps including miniature Peeps and three different flavors (strawberry crème, chocolate crème, and sour watermelon). Vince Barker, an associate professor of strategic management, said he thinks the strategy is wise and uses his sons as evidence.

“While I do not eat a lot of Peeps, my family loves them and my sons in particular are huge fans,” Barker said. “We already buy peeps shaped as pumpkins and hearts for other holidays as treats, so my family’s experience shows a market might exist for Peeps outside of holiday periods.”

Barker said Just Born’s strategy will lead to more than just increased revenue and customer satisfaction. Keeping Peeps on the shelves year-round will likely lower the cost of production. Laura Poppo, a strategic management professor, said she agrees with Barker— producing Peeps year round makes economic sense.

“Assuming Peeps require some specialized equipment to manufacture, if they only use this equipment a few months out of the year, then their return on investment is minimized,” Poppo said.

Now that Peeps will be offered all year, people can count on constant access to them at grocery stores.  With these candies taking up shelf space, Poppo is concerned by what it might replace.

“I am just wondering what product the supermarkets are going to take off the shelf in order to put Peeps on the shelf year round — I hope it is not black licorice,” Poppo said.

by Mackenzie Leander