Whether American consumers are hitting a beach barbecue this summer or already planning their Halloween treat strategy for the fall, candy and snacks are top of mind.
“Confectionery has remained a resilient category, with chocolate and candy providing some much-needed normalcy and joy to many Americans throughout an unusual year,” says Carly Schildhaus, public affairs manager for the National Confectioners Association (NCA), in Washington, D.C. “As we get back to the things we love, Americans report that they’ll be bringing chocolate and candy along as they pursue their favorite activities, especially as most consumers agree that physical health and emotional well-being are connected.”
Nothing inspires joy, makes the store experience special or promotes unplanned purchases quite like the candy category. In 2020, as consumers looked to alleviate their pandemic stress with comfort foods, confectionery sales hit $36.7 billion, with chocolate sales at $21.9 billion and non-chocolate sales reaching $11.5 billion. Grocery in particular saw significant gains in chocolate (up 10.5%) and non-chocolate (up 9.9%) — with chocolate making up 65% of confectionery sales in the grocery channel. Total CMG was the ninth-largest center store category in 2020.
So far in 2021, the trajectory for confectionery looks sweet. According to Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI), dollar sales of chocolate candy are up 6.2% for the 52 weeks ending May 16, while non-chocolate candy sales are up 5.3%.
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