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Three Trends for the Big Four: Holiday Innovations for the Confection Industry

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If you’re in the confectionery business, you’ve heard about the Big Four. (For everyone else, no, we’re not talking about a new college sports alliance.) The Big Four – Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas – bring the most margin to the confectionery business. As such, preparation to make these seasons a success often takes place years in advance. 

At The HiveSM, we understand the importance of these seasons and are equipped to walk alongside you to help you identify the packaging ideas that will engage your customers without hurting your wallet. We’ve worked with confectionery companies to develop effective turnkey packaging solutions. Some of the trends we’ve noticed that are a win-win for customers and brands include technological innovations, personalization, and gift options that celebrate relationships beyond the traditional family or romantic relationships. 

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In this blog, we’ll further analyze three overarching trends that apply to all seasons. 

Technological Innovation

The influx of technology allows brands to create unique packaging without always commissioning a new packaging format requiring a change in assets. Consumers are becoming increasingly adept at using technology. This receptiveness gives brands some creative liberty and versatility. 

For example:    
• A package can integrate Augmented Reality experiences.    
• A package can drive consumers to a website where they play a game.    
• A package can include QR codes for consumers to scan and read seasonal greetings. 

Driving customers to a website or providing additional information through AR and QR codes simply means a change in printing, not a new packaging solution. This can save your company time and money while still engaging your customer. 

However, don’t underestimate the cost of technological developments. Web design, internet space, programming, analytics… there are many incurred costs before a package goes to market. So how do you know consumers will be receptive to your new innovation? That’s where we come in. 

Red Box with text "The Hive Design Services can test these innovations with consumers and report out the research to your brand. You'll know what works and what doesn't before investing the capital in new technological innovations."

Once you integrate tested technological developments, the cost of adding a twist to your packaging through technology will be much less overall than creating a completely new physical packaging structure.


Consumers are individualistic. Self-expression is important to them and can influence purchasing decisions. If your packaging can find a way to cater to the individualistic consumer simply through printing changes, you’re on your way to a cost-saving yet relevant package. 

The personalization can be specific to an individual. Think products with first names printed on them and products that can turn into crafts and seasonal decorations. Or, this personalization can be broader and more relevant to a group of people. For example, open a sweet treat and share a funny joke with your school pals or open a chocolate after dinner and ask your tablemates a conversation starter. 

Personalized options can catch the eye of a from-me-to-me purchaser or communicate intentionality as a gift. Think about it. Any gift is appreciated, but the more memorable ones usually have some thought behind the purchase. In this case, your brand can help the consumer by having packaging ready-made for personalization. 

Two people's hands sharing a red gift package with white ribbon surrounded by confetti on a teal background


The Big Four are opportunities to celebrate all relationships, not just traditional family relationships and romantic relationships. Yes, parents gift Easter baskets filled with candies to their children, and romantic partners surprise their special someone with chocolates. But the gifting doesn’t stop there, and the packaging and branding shouldn’t either. Consumers want to purchase and give thoughtful gifts to their gal pals on Valentine’s Day, to their social clubs on Easter, to their school friends at Halloween, and to their romantic partner’s family on Christmas. The gifting is broad, so the range of gift options should accommodate. 

We recommend brands feature a range of gifting options along a “non-premium” to “premium” spectrum. This meets the consumer desire for multiple gift options; something for every relationship type – family, romantic partner, close friend, casual friend, mentor, work pals. Consumers want to spread their appreciation during holiday seasons, and your products are just the communication tool! 

We know it takes a lot of preparation to make the Big Four a success for your brand. Reach out to us, and we can help you make the next holiday season a sweet success!

Ready to Help!

At The Hive℠ Design Services we are ready to help by designing custom research programs to uncover your customers’ brand connection, preferences, pain points and usage behavior, while revealing themes that you can use to build your strategy for enhancing consumer engagement and brand loyalty. Our certified moderators, research and packaging specialists will build the qualitative and quantitative studies you need to test your concepts at scale, from insights to prototyping.

For more information on how we can help you convert insights to opportunities, email us at or visit our page