Meiji discontinues 53-year-old candy brand “Chelsea” due to declining sales, marking exit from candy business. Long-selling candies ending reflects consumer shift. Gummy market thrives, especially among younger consumers sharing on social media. Domestic confectionery introduces new gummy products focusing on texture and appearance. Some companies replace gum with gummy alternatives.

Major confectionery manufacturer Meiji has announced the discontinuation of its candy “Chelsea” with a history spanning 53 years, with sales set to cease by the end of March, marking the company’s withdrawal from the candy business. According to Meiji’s public relations, the decision was made due to the decline in profitability resulting from sluggish sales volumes amidst changes in market conditions and customer needs. Last year saw the closure of Sakuma Seika, known for its long-selling fruit juice candy “Sakuma Drops.” The successive endings of long-selling products underscore a clear trend of consumers moving away from traditional candies. Meiji had already withdrawn from the gum business in March last year.

Chelsea was first introduced in 1971 with flavors such as butterscotch and yogurt scotch. Subsequently, the lineup expanded to include flavors like coffee and milk chocolate. While sales peaked at around 2.5 billion yen in fiscal year 2002, they dwindled to approximately 500 million yen in fiscal year 2022. No new products had been released since 2011.

The butterscotch and yogurt scotch flavors of Chelsea were developed based on Scotch candy from Scotland. At the time, Japan adopted the “pouring” method, which involved pouring blended ingredients directly into molds, a technique that was rare in Japan at the time.

While candy and gum sales are declining, gummies are thriving, particularly among the younger generation such as Generation Z, who actively share information on social media. German-origin “Earth Gummies,” shaped like the Earth, became a huge hit after being introduced by a Korean YouTuber on social media, leading to widespread sellouts. Responding to this trend, domestic confectionery companies have intermittently introduced new gummy products focusing on texture and appearance, which has had a synergistic effect, lifting the entire market.

There’s also a trend of replacing the functions of gum with gummies. Meiji has released “Crystal Mint Gummies,” inheriting the taste of its discontinued Xylitolish gum. Meanwhile, Lion has introduced products aimed at developing children’s chewing strength by utilizing the moderate elasticity of gummies.

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