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In the United States alone, grains bring in over $ 11 billion a year. Considering this fiercely competitive market, the brightly colored boxes and cartoon mascots compete fiercely for the attention of buyers. The same can be said of candy, with $ 15 billion spent on chocolate alone, and the industry as a whole with almost $ 20 billion in 2020. And it only keeps growing from there.
Of course, a proven method of gaining the attention of the public is the limited edition product. Sometimes tied to a special product or promotion, and almost always offered for a short period of time, limited editions have been around for decades – all with varying degrees of success, of course. Here’s a look at some of the most well-known limited edition cereals and candies with an eye on their popularity then, their price now, as well as a look at how their respective companies fared after their introduction.
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General Mills first launched this cereal in 2003 as part of the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards promotion. The slime-shaped green-colored corn puffs and Nickelodeon logo-shaped marshmallows would reappear on grocery store shelves as part of the promotion until 2009.
2003 was a good year for General Mills overall, with the acquisition of Pillsbury which increased profits by approximately 60%. Even though General Mills profits continued to grow until 2009, with an 8% net sales increase in 2009, Green Slime never seemed to be a major contributor. He has been arrested for over a decade.
Hershey’s Glow in the Dark Chocolate Bars
Halloween is hands down the biggest party when it comes to candy. So in 2018, Hershey’s launched a phosphorescent line of some of its most popular products, including Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit-Kats and their classic Hershey bar.
The gadget appears to have paid off, as the line has been reintroduced every Halloween since, and the candy is currently available on Hershey’s online store. Hershey’s profits have continued to grow since the product was in existence, reaching just under $ 7.8 billion in 2018 and $ 8.1 billion in 2020.
Chocolate winter lucky charm
A seasonal General Mills business in 2018, this winter-themed edition of Lucky Charms featured chocolate corn puffs and marshmallows in the shape of snowflakes and snowmen. It was sort of a hybrid between two previous limited editions, Winter Lucky Charms in 1999 and Chocolate Lucky Charms in 2005.
The company’s sales declined slightly in 2018, despite a strong overall performance, and the cereal disappeared when the season changed. A family-sized box cost just under $ 4 when it first launched. They can be found on eBay for around $ 20.
Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cup Snowman
Obviously, as part of a holiday-themed promotion, Butterfinger took to peanut butter mug territory and shaped the mold like a snowman. The candy did not contain any artificial ingredients and mixed the brand’s usual crunchy peanut butter with a milder variety.
Nestlé recorded a slight decline in overall profits that same year, despite higher sales. When it comes to the snowman peanut butter mug, there are few on the aftermarket.
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Pumpkin Special Spice K
Eager to be part of the general pumpkin spice trend that sweeps the country in late summer every year, Kellogg has jumped into the action with Special K. First introduced in 2016, the seasonal product is always a “while stocks last” situation.
The company’s profits have steadily increased since the introduction of the cereal. He saw his profits increase by 4.16% from June 2019 to June 2020. It seems that the pumpkin spice craze is still paying off.
M & Ms with white chocolate and carrots
The M & Ms have continued to flirt with experimental concoctions over the years, although the White Chocolate Carrot Cake is perhaps one of their most notable. Released in time for Easter in 2013 and only available at Walmart in mid-sized bags, the candy quietly vanished shortly after.
Mars was named one of the Top 100 Companies to Work For that same year, and in 2014, Topeka, Kansas, housed its first new factory in 35 years. Were these special editions of M & Ms part of this success? It’s hard to say.
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Bacon and Maple Donut with Chicken and Waffles
Released in 2019 on National Cereal Day, this pair of sweet and savory offerings made headlines at the time for their sheer novelty. These cereals were only available in a handful of stores, with Walmart the only national chain to carry them.
Post lost money in 2019, but the cereal was successful simply because of its hard-to-find novelty status. Boxes vary between $ 40 and $ 50 on eBay today.
Hershey’s Flavors of America
The candy giant didn’t just get big when he made part of his line glow in the dark. In 2017, Hershey launched Flavors of America, a group of six limited-edition candy bars designed after the distinct flavors of certain U.S. states. There was a Hershey Cherry Cheesecake Bar for New York, BBQ PayDay for Texas, and Strawberry Kit-Kats representing California.
The promotion appeared to be popular, with a lot of coverage when it first launched and few aftermarket examples. Meanwhile, Hershey’s profits have steadily increased over the past few years – 2017 valued them at nearly $ 7.8 billion.
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Reese’s Puffs Bats
Releasing in late summer 2018, this Halloween-themed version of Reese’s foray into the grain market (via General Mills) featured the usual chocolate and peanut butter puffs in the shape of balds- mouse. They were popular enough to be relaunched in 2019, 2020, and again this year.
The cereal’s limited availability has made it a collector’s item, with unopened boxes ranging from $ 20 to $ 45 on eBay.
Fall flavored peeps
Like sweet corn, Peeps have always been a candy that divides. Liked by some, reviled by others, and once mostly limited to Easter. However, Just Born Quality Confections, the company behind the fluorescent marshmallow treats, started expanding their market in 2017. That year, they introduced a whole range of fall-themed flavors, including apple. caramel, maple brown sugar and even sweet corn (soaked in white fondant).
It certainly got people talking, as Peeps tend to do, especially since the chick-shaped candy was already more popular than ever that year. It is likely that the expansion of their offerings did not hurt their sales either.
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Last updated: October 29, 2021