On some occasions, Americans appreciate smaller portions, especially when it comes to sweet indulgences: The Washington Post examines the phenomenon of smaller-size, indulgent treats —particularly Reese’s 2019 release of new peanut butter cup “Thins,” which will be 40% smaller and geared to consumers who “want something sweet with more permissibility.” The Post notes that despite some (mostly lighthearted) consumer backlash, researchers and marketers maintain that such types of offerings represent a kind of “permissible indulgence” that allows consumers the freedom to choose items that they would typically avoid.
Hartman Group Insights: Periodic indulgence in food has become a culturally acceptable part of consumers’ emotional and mental self-care practices, yet consumers still wish for indulgent products that can represent a level of moderation. Hartman Retainer Services’ vice president Melissa Abbott, who was interviewed for the Post article, points out that more premium chocolate snacks, such as barkTHINS and Brownie Brittle, have been able to succeed within this space of permissible, moderated indulgence. It is likely that the thinner Reese’s will have more appeal to those consumers who are not regular purchasers or who otherwise wish to limit their consumption in this way. Whether consumers actually will eat less, however, is an open question. Here’s more Hartman Group thinking on how health and wellness intersect with diet.