Limited Editions Are Latest Candy Craze

ByABC News

HERSHEY, Pa., July 18, 2005 — -- The Hershey Company -- one of the nation's best known candy company's -- may not have Willy Wonka's golden tickets, but it does have a secret weapon: a Cherry Cordial Creme Kiss.

While the candies don't hit the shelves until October, they will only be available until the following January. It's a limited edition -- the latest craze in the candy industry.

"We have found limited editions to really drive and accelerate growth, and the reason why is that it is offering consumers new options and alternatives," said Jay Cooper, vice president of chocolate marketing for the Hershey Company.

Limited editions comprised a major part of Hershey's record first-quarter profits. The company now has up to 10 limited editions available at a time.

On the shelves for just a couple of months, limited editions are tiny variations on existing brands.

"If you are a Hershey kisses user, how can you not pick up a new variety of Hershey kisses and at least try one?" said Cooper.

Steve Almond, author of the book "Candy Freak," says limited edition candies are a kind of syrupy-sweet, psychological warfare.

"Candy consumers are like rats in the sense that if they are introduced something they like a lot, and then it is removed, they get kind of frantic about getting it," he said.

Almond still has two boxes of limited edition dark chocolate Kit-Kats from 2002.

He says he's angry Hershey's stopped making them, but there is little he can do.

"Let's put this in perspective," Almond said, "nobody is going to march on Hershey's."

But there is a solution for disgruntled candy lovers who want to get their hands on coveted limited editions long after stores have sold out of them.

Candy collector Chris Schultz, a pack rat with a sweet tooth, sells hoarded limited editions on the eBay Internet auction site.

"Every time I had an auction, sold out, sold out," he said. "Just kept selling, selling, selling."

Schultz's highest priced treat yielded a 1,000 percent profit.

"A lemon cheesecake Kit Kat, which was from Japan, sold for $27.50," he said.

ABC News' John Berman filed this report for "World News Tonight."

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