The discontinuation of NIPS candy in 2018 was sad news for many candy lovers across the United States. NIPS were bite-sized, hard candy pieces wrapped in cellophane, known for their flat bottle shape and fruity flavors. First created in the 1930s, NIPS gained popularity over the decades as an inexpensive but tasty candy treat.
However, in recent years, sales of NIPS declined significantly, leading the Ferrara Candy Company to discontinue the classic candy brand.
The disappearance of NIPS from store shelves represents the end of an era for nostalgic candy consumers. But it also reflects shifting attitudes and business strategies in the confectionery industry. This article will explore the history of NIPS candy, the reasons for its discontinuation, customer reactions, and the future possibilities for the brand.
History of NIPS Candy
It helps to learn about the origins and background of the iconic candy brand to understand why NIPS candy was discontinued.
Origins and Creation
NIPS candy was first created in the 1930s by the Walnetto Company. The bite-sized hard candies were designed to replicate the shape of mini alcohol nip bottles that were popular during Prohibition. The candy pieces were wrapped in cellophane to resemble the crinkly paper packaging around real nip bottles.
The name “NIPS” played on this mini bottle shape and the notion that the candies were “nip-sized.” The tagline promised “30 little nips in every roll!” reflecting the number of candies per package.
Marketing and Packaging
NIPS were available in various fruity flavors like lemon, lime, cherry, grape, and apple. Early packaging featured bright colors and a prominent display of the NIPS name.
Over the decades, NIPS marketing highlighted the candy’s small size, affordability, and suitability for snacking on the go. Commercials and ads from the ’60s through ’80s featured the slogan “NIPS are nifty!” celebrating the fun, portable nature of the product.
The candies were sold in convenience stores, groceries, and other retail outlets, recognizable by their distinct flat, nip-shaped bottle form. The wrappers and packaging changed, but the candies looked the same for over 80 years.
Popularity Over the Years
Since its creation, NIPS gained steady popularity, becoming a staple candy for many Americans. Their low cost at 5 or 10 cents per roll made them an affordable treat, especially for children with little pocket change.
For decades, NIPS could reliably be found in candy jars, convenience store checkout aisles, vending machines, and penny candy selections nationwide. The candy became nostalgic for many as a classic product that endured over generations.
At its peak, NIPS was a candy brand powerhouse, with distribution reaching 30 countries overseas. However, as time went on, sales and popularity gradually declined.
Reasons for Discontinuation
Though once a top-selling candy brand, NIPS began to lose steam over the last decade, leading parent company Ferrara Candy to cease production in 2018. Several factors contributed to this decision.
While still remembered fondly by many, NIPS simply fell out of favor with modern candy consumers. Sales dropped year over year, forcing stores to allocate less shelf space to NIPS.
Candy companies depend heavily on volume sales, and NIPS numbers could no longer compete with more popular, contemporary brands. Without sales growth, Ferrara could not justify continuing production.
The name “NIPS,” which once evoked the candy’s shape, had become controversial by contemporary standards. Many pointed out that the name sounded sexist or gender discriminatory.
In today’s landscape of greater social awareness, the name seemed increasingly inappropriate and out of touch. This made it more difficult to market and advertise NIPS to modern audiences.
Company Strategies and Priorities
Discontinuing NIPS allowed Ferrara Candy to shift focus and resources to other brands with higher growth potential.
For instance, the production of black licorice Twizzlers was expanded to meet rising demand. Focusing on stronger performers took priority over propping up declining brands like NIPS.
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Customer and Industry Reactions
The discontinuation of a classic candy brand like NIPS was met with mixed reactions from customers and candy industry insiders.
Nostalgia and Disappointment
Many who grew up with NIPS expressed a sense of nostalgia and disappointment that the iconic candies would no longer be available. Some felt it marked the loss of a beloved piece of their childhood.
Devoted candy collectors were upset over the discontinued status, making existing NIPS rolls more coveted and valuable. The disappearance made many appreciate NIPS more than ever.
Calls to Bring NIPS Back
A contingent of candy lovers launched efforts to convince Ferrara Candy to revive the production of NIPS. Online petitions and campaigns urged the company to find ways to make NIPS viable again.
These supporters believed that with the right marketing and distribution, NIPS could make a comeback, appealing to Gen X and millennial consumers craving nostalgia.
Alternatives in the Market
With NIPS gone, competitors ramped up production of similar hard candy products to fill the void. Brands like SweeTarts Chewy Sours introduced nip-shaped candies to capture former NIPS buyers.
These replacements show that the flat, bottle-shaped candy form still appeals to certain demographics. However, most view these newcomers as inferior to the original NIPS.
The Future of NIPS Candy
The future is uncertain for the erstwhile NIPS brand. Ferrara Candy has not ruled out reviving the product but has no plans to return NIPS. However, some possible paths could see NIPS return to store shelves.
Efforts to Revive the Brand
If organized campaigns generate enough momentum, Ferrara may be persuaded to relaunch NIPS on a trial basis. Nostalgic candies have made limited comebacks before, indicating there is hope.
The company could test the waters by bringing back NIPS as a novelty retro product. Limited run rolls could be sold in specialized outlets or online to gauge demand.
If NIPS makes a comeback, the marketing and branding will likely evolve to suit modern tastes. The controversial name could be dropped or altered while retaining the familiar candy shape.
Updating the packaging and target demographic to adults rather than children could give NIPS an edge. There are lessons to apply from retro successes like Mexican Coca-Cola.
Potential for a Comeback?
Given the abiding love for candy, there may be an untapped market for NIPS that balances nostalgia with updated branding. The story of NIPS illustrates how companies must continually evolve yet hold onto some classics.
With smart positioning and promotion, a resurrected NIPS could become a beloved icon again. Only time will tell if this discontinued candy is gone for good or if it can leap into the future.
The 2018 discontinuation of NIPS candy marked the end of an era. These nostalgic bite-sized candies were once a popular, inexpensive treat for generations of Americans. However, declining sales, Nips Caramel Class Action Lawsuit, controversial branding, and shifting priorities led parent company Ferrara Candy to halt production of NIPS after over 80 years.
The disappearance of NIPS from stores caused disappointment and calls to bring the classic candy back. While the future is uncertain, the story of NIPS illustrates the balance between nostalgia and reinvention required for candy brands to stay relevant. For those who grew up enjoying fruity NIPS, this flat hard candy will always maintain a sweet spot in their memories.
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When was NIPS first created?
NIPS was first created in the 1930s by the Walnetto Company.
What flavors were NIPS candy available in?
NIPS came in various fruit flavors, such as lemon, lime, grape, cherry, apple, and orange.
Why did sales of NIPS decline?
Sales dropped due to waning popularity among contemporary candy consumers and stores allocating less shelf space to the brand.
Who manufactured NIPS?
The Walnetto Company first produced NIPS. Later, they were acquired and manufactured by Ferrara Candy Company.
Could NIPS potentially make a comeback?
While uncertain, there is a possibility NIPS could return with updated branding and marketing targeted at candy nostalgics.