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Candy dubbed an ‘affordable treat’ despite double-digit inflation

Despite challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions and record inflation, the confectionery industry reported record dollar sales growth in 2022, according to a new report from National Confectioners Association.

Rachel French

January 5, 2024

2 Min Read
candy

At a Glance

  • The confectionery market saw a record $42.6 billion in sales in 2022, with chocolate accounting for over half.
  • Almost 75% of consumers view candy as an affordable treat and report indulging 2.4 times per week.
  • While sugar-free options are trending, consumers increasingly seek information on calories and portion sizes.

Like other food categories, the confectionery category felt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions and record inflation. Despite this, National Confectioners Association (NCA) reported the category saw record dollar sales growth in 2022.

According to NCA’s 2023 State of Treating Report, total confectionery sales reached $42.6 billion in 2022. The figures are based on Euromonitor data reported in December 2022 and included in NCA’s report.

Euromonitor predicted confectionery sales will reach $54.3 billion by 2027.

Chocolate sales accounted for a weighty $23.9 billion—just more than half—of the total category’s 2022 sales. Nonchocolate sales reached $15.4 billion and gum/mints took $3.2 billion in sales in 2022.

Like many food and beverage categories, confectionery dollar sales performance was boosted by inflation.

According to IRI data cited in the report, chocolate confectionery products saw dollar sales growth of 9.1% in 2022 compared to 2021. Unit sales decreased 4.2% in 2022 compared to 2021. Nonchocolate and gum/mints dollar sales both grew 13.8% in 2022. These categories also experienced slight unit sales increases of 0.2% and 0.8%, respectively, compared to 2021.

Affordability is a critical driver of confectionery growth, the report found.

NCA’s report includes findings of a survey of more than 1,500 consumers between the ages of 18 and 75 conducted in December 2022 by 210 Analytics LLC. The survey findings were overlaid with IRI retail measurement and household panel data.

The category experienced double-digit inflation, per NCA. Despite this, almost three-quarters (74%) of consumers said confectionery remains an affordable treat. In fact, consumers reported having a confectionery treat 2.4 times per week, on average.

Yet, almost half of consumers (45%) have taken measures to combat high confectionery prices, which include switching between types, brands, pack sizes and stores.

NCA reported the confectionery category, despite feeling the pinch of recent issues like supply chain disruptions, saw stronger performance compared to many other food and beverage categories. Consumers connect candy and chocolate to emotional wellbeing, and they’re willing and eager to include confectionery goods as part of a balanced lifestyle.

The vast majority (81%) of consumers see candy and chocolate as a “fun part of life.” What’s more, 78% said candy and chocolate make them happy. For these reasons, many shoppers feel candy and chocolate are “highly permissible” as part of a balanced lifestyle, NCA reported.

Keeping in line with consumers’ interest in achieving a balanced lifestyle, NCA reported 90% of consumers want information about confectionery calories and portions. While 32% of consumers said they don’t know what constitutes an appropriate amount of chocolate to eat at one time, about 28% look to calories and 22% look to total sugar to determine appropriate portion sizes.

While sugar-free claims are delivering growth in both chocolate and nonchocolate confectionery categories, claims like natural, organic and non-GMO dropped compared to 2022, NCA reported.

About the Author(s)

Rachel French

Contributing editor

Rachel French joined Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network in 2013. Her career in the natural products industry started with a food and beverage focus before transitioning into her role as managing editor of Natural Products Insider, where she covered the dietary supplement industry. French left Informa Markets in 2019, but continues to freelance for both FBI and NPI. Connect on LinkedIn.

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