The latter part of the candy season is upon us and who doesn’t love to indulge this time of year!
Leading into the end of the year, households across the U.S. begin to up the ante when it comes to sugary treats. Whether you are consuming, baking, or sharing candy during the holidays, data confirms this IS the season. While candy is a stable contributor to sales across all channels, data shows that sales increase in key holiday periods throughout the year: December, Valentine’s Day, around Easter and October/November. Let’s explore some data.
With our most recent data release, we are starting to see an early uptick leading into October. With Halloween last month, people prepared for their spooky visitors looking for tricks/treats. In fact, neighborhood traffic may have been up compared to previous years. The National Retail Federation anticipated Halloween-themed merchandise spend would reach $10.6 billion in 2022, exceeding last year’s record of $10.1 billion. About 68% of consumers planned to participate in some sort of Halloween celebration, compared to 65% last year, 58% in 2020 and 69% in 2019.1
Based on driving trends, homeowners were looking to not only offer quantity, but also quality.
Here are three key trends you need to know:
Health and Wellness (HWI) positioned candy products outpace counterparts.
The total candy industry is $25.9 billion, across MULO and the Natural Channel, for the last 52 weeks, and grew 11% versus last year. Within this segment, health and wellness candy (HWI) sales represent 15%, or $3.8B. Though HWI candy products are relatively small, their growth currently outpaces their conventional counterparts.
Source: SPINSScan Natural Channel (proprietary), Regional Independent Grocery (proprietary), Conventional Multi Outlet (powered by IRI), 52wk ending 10.02.22 / % chg. vs YAGO; HWI=Health & Wellness Industry
Candy sales are seasonal, yet varied across types
There are five subcategories within the candy category: candy chocolate, candy non-chocolate, shelf stable fruit snacks, gum and mints, and individual snacks. While all subcategories see increases/upward movement leading into December of last year, two of these five subcategories see additional seasonal sales spikes throughout the year. Chocolate and non-chocolate have peaks in February (Valentine’s Day) and March/April (Easter), while non-chocolate also starts to see an uptick (+25.4%) from the prior month leading into the Halloween season. Shelf stable fruit snacks, on the other hand, sees an increase (+12.0%) occurring between August and September. The remaining two subcategories, gum and mints and individual snacks, do see a seasonal peak in December, but sales remain consistent throughout the remainder of the year.
Of these sub-categories, shelf stable chocolate candy is the crowd-favorite, representing 58% of sales and 49% of category growth. Shelf-stable candy non-chocolate is 27% of total sales but contributes more than its fair share (34%) towards the overall growth.
Natural sweeteners and diet conscious candy resonate with consumers
Consumers are gravitating to clean, diet-aligning indulgent treats. Seventy-two percent of shelf stable candy sales do not include artificial sweeteners. Shoppers are spreading the majority (80.1%) of their candy spend on products that include ingredient – natural sweeteners. This attribute evaluates the ingredient statement and identifies products containing added natural sweetener ingredients, including all sugar alcohols and fruit juice concentrates.
While candy and diets may not typically be synonymous with each other, data reveals shoppers continue to be vigilant around their purchase decisions, even when visiting the candy aisle. Candy products that align with diet and lifestyle choices are capturing dollars and posting healthy growth. Products that support dietary choices, such as Keto (+9.0%), Vegan (+20.0%) and Paleo (+32.8%), grabbed more spend than the previous year.
Looking for more information? Please contact the SPINS Account Manager for PRESENCE, Mike Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.