Why Nostalgia Candies Always Sell Well

UPDATED ON JANUARY 11, 2022
BY DANIEL ROTHSTEIN

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There’s something sweet about childhood memories. A lot of the time, we can connect these fond thoughts and memories to a variety of sweet treats we enjoyed as children. Who could forget Saturday morning cartoons with bowls of our favorite sugary cereals. Or the ice cream party in 3rd grade when your class sold the most magazine subscriptions. Or, what about that hard butterscotch candy in the glass bowl at your grandparent’s house?

Nostalgia candies always sell well because they subconsciously play into these thoughts and emotions experienced in your past. The brain’s synaptic impulses feed off of even your earliest memories of days past. As we look back at our favorite types of candy from childhood, each one can remind us of some very specific parts of our youth.

For instance, Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip will always remind me of playing little league baseball at the diamond in my small hometown. Whenever I think about Fun Dip, instantly I am vividly reminded of seemingly every aspect from that part of my life.

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Memories of the color of our uniforms, the leathery smell of my dad’s old baseball glove, the sound of the bat making contact with the ball, even my coach’s thick and bushy moustache. Everything comes rushing back into my mind with even the sight of a package of Fun Dip.

As candy sellers, we understand the power of this nostalgia and the effects it can have on your company’s candy sales. Playing on these emotional ties that we have to food, actually resonates with a broad audience. New research by FONA International suggests that 71 percent of U.S. consumers enjoy things that bring back memories from their childhood.

This is especially evident in Hollywood as they’ve been remaking a lot of the popular movies from the 1980’s in recent years. Just further proof of what we’re preparing to show you in this article: nostalgia sells.

How food can bring back good memories

It turns out that food memories are a very real phenomenon. When we eat, we are using all five of our senses. Taste, smell, touch, sight and even hearing are all used when we eat something.

If the thing we are eating is particularly enjoyable, say your favorite candy bar, we may tend to remember these moments more vividly than we would with other types of experiences. With food, it isn’t just about the act of eating it.

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The memories associated with food tend cover a much broader spectrum of the human experience. If you ever taste something and the familiar flavors remind you of some good memories from your past, you’ll notice that there’s much more there than just the food itself.

It’s also about the process of preparing it, or who first introduced you to it and who you spent time with while you were eating it. Your innate survival instincts also play a role while your body is being nourished by some special treat. All of this relates in your mind to what the experience felt like, both physically and emotionally.

Besides being timeless and flat-out tasty, this emotional connection we place with food may be the primary reason that retro candy is so popular today. If you’ve ever walked down the candy aisle of your local store and seen some candy favorites from your childhood, you may already know what we’re talking about.

What makes retro candy so popular?

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Much of the nostalgic candy selection you see at stores today are full of all types of memorable products. These are still around for a reason - people loved them back then, and they still love them today!

Depending on which decade you grew up in, the term nostalgic, or retro candy could mean an entirely different thing than it would to your parents, or your grandparents. Nevertheless, many of the old fashioned candy favorites of yesteryear are growing more popular with younger generations who didn’t even grow up with the items.

When I was a kid growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, candies like Bit-O-Honey and Lemonhead were considered vintage candy. For someone who is a millennial or Gen Z, they may recognize things like Bubblicious bubble gum, or sour Warheads as a “retro” candy.

Gosh, am I really getting that old??? Actually, please, don’t answer that!

Whatever the case may be we can certainly understand the power that nostalgia has on our emotions and our buying patterns. That’s why the food and beverage industry has brought back many of the old time candy favorites we loved as kids.

Sharing nostalgic and vintage sweets also makes for a special type of bonding between parents, grandparents and their children. A great way for the older generation to bond with their kids is to share some of their favorite candies from their childhood with them.

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How your store could benefit from featuring nostalgia candy products.

As you can see from these examples, retro candies most certainly will remain popular for many decades to come. Featuring a robust selection of these vintage candy products will help your business appeal to consumers of all different age groups.

As long as people are still sharing their memories of yesterday, there will still be a market for retro candy. The only thing that has changed is the way they are marketed. Many of these old fashioned candies will rely on more modern marketing techniques, such as social media engagement and ecommerce. On the digital landscape, some of these stories can be shared to a broad and diverse audience, generating even more mass appeal.

Much of the buzz around many of the retro candy favorites comes from social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. Countless hours of videos with people sampling these products are garnering clicks, likes and views across various social media platforms.

Showcasing popular products from the past is a great way to generate sales from the candy aisle of your store. If you help your customers find candy that resonates with memories from their childhood, it is quite likely you’ll turn a new customer into a returning one.

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Here at Redstone Foods, we proudly offer a wide variety of retro and nostalgia chocolate bars, penny candy and snack products from around the world. This diverse offering also includes one of the largest selections of glass bottle craft sodas in the United States.

Our team of dedicated sales representatives are available to help you with all of your questions. If you ever need help deciding what to order, or how much, we are always happy to assist you in any way necessary.

Create an account with us online, or give us a call today!

1-800-444-3520