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Sozzi: Jelly Belly Is an Easter Treat for Market Watchers

Stocks in this article: HSY WMT TGT CVS DKS

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Trips to stores are no longer normal for me (normal being those trips to JC Penney (JCP) with mom as a kid). They haven't been for quite some time. As a stock analyst, you are constantly on the prowl for the next great investment opportunity that could be sitting on the shelves of Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT), or CVS (CVS).

At the bare minimum, there is an ongoing pursuit to see if a well-established, publicly traded company is doing something differently, good or bad, in the marketplace. Trust me: the truth of a company's future financial statements are so very often staring at you in the everyday environment.

So with eyes wide open, per the usual, during a recent Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) store walk I stumbled on these two nifty products from the non-publicly traded confectioner, jelly bean king Jelly Belly.

The immediate thoughts I had:

  • Since when did Jelly Belly sell sports nutrition products to workout enthusiasts such as myself? (I would later find out the quick energy sports beans have been on the market for a bit, the protein recovery crisps are a new product.)
  • Rock solid move by merchants at Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) for sticking these innovative new products at the high-margin impulse area known as the checkout.
  • Why hasn't a Hershey (HSY) expanded into the rapidly growing sports nutrition market? All of the ingredients are there to put together a product (could be a bar, shake, or like Jelly Belly, a form of protein crisp) that creates a new growth avenue.

The total confectionary market has grown for six straight years (chocolate the fastest growth rate at 3.6% in 2013), in my opinion as household names like Jelly Belly tap into their brand equity and expand into new product lines. With the second largest holiday for the industry behind Halloween, Easter, set to hop into homes nationwide, I had the opportunity to talk with Jelly Belly's Vice President of Marketing Rob Swaigen.

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