Styling and Photography by Jason Coronel and Laurie Mosco
Consumers found a new love for chocolate and candy during the stay-at-home orders of 2020. That relationship’s still going strong into 2021. While other food categories are predicted to experience a slowdown due to restaurants re-openings, candy sales are expected to stay high, according to Food Dive.
We’re pulling back the wrapper, uncovering how to keep satisfying their sweet tooth well through 2021.
Hearts Still Melt for Chocolate
Of all the candy categories, chocolate wins in terms of sales by FAR!
- Chocolate sales totaled $6.8 billion in 2020, up 5.5% from 2019, with 92% of consumers purchasing chocolate, according to the National Confectioners Association.
- This trend continues into the first quarter of 2021, with chocolate sales up 5.7%, based on reports by Candy & Snack Today.
What has changed is how consumers are purchasing their chocolate favorites:
- Nearly 41% of consumers purchased individually wrapped, or confection value packs Food Dive reports. Foster this renewed friendship with chocolate by offering share size and theater box versions of chocolate favorites.
- Chocolate boxes are experiencing a big boost in early 2021, reporting a 21.1% increase in Quarter 1, according to Candy & Snacks Today. Better make sure chocolate gift box classics like those from Nancy Adams , Godiva, or Ghirardelli are part of your chocolate box of tricks!
Bulk is Back
In a normal year, 40% of consumers will purchase bulk candy, according to the National Confectioners Association. Safety precautions made some consumers shy away from candy in 2020, but in 2021 bulk is starting to make a comeback:
- 78% of customers who regularly purchase bulk candy are still interested in buying bulk, according to a late 2020 poll by the National Confectioners Association.
- But of those who would buy bulk candy, 47% would still prefer some safety precautions in place, the report continues. Offer customers the best of bulk worlds with a mix of wrapped and unwrapped versions of bulk candy and bulk chocolate.
Customers Stuck on Chewy Candy
While chocolate might have been consumers’ main source of comfort, candy buyers continue to exhibit a soft spot for chewy, soft gummies.
- Non-Chocolate sales totaled $11.5B during 2020, according to the National Confectioner’s Association – a 2.9% increase.
- Of the non-chocolate categories, chewy candies like gummies topped the list, bringing in $4 Billion in sales. Stock up on gummy classics because they are un-bear-able to resist.
Sweet on Sustainability
Pre pandemic, the sustainability trend was gaining major traction. While it might have taken a backseat to safety, sustainability was still a driving force influencing purchase decisions in 2020 and continues today.
- During 2020, 41% of consumers’ confectionery choices were made based on transparency of ingredient sources and production processes, according to the National Confectioners Association. This is particularly true of millennials – 48% of them state sustainability is important when making buying and brand decisions.
- The top three claims that are most important:
- All-natural (46%)
- No artificial colors/flavors/sweeteners (32%)
- Non-GMO (28%)
- No High Fructose Corn Syrup (28%)
From Shopping Online to Shopping IN Line
2020’s stay-at-home orders changed how customers got their chocolate and candy fix.
- 42% of Americans purchased their candy online in 2020, based on a survey by the National Confectioners Association.
- 78% of online grocery shoppers also purchase everyday candy online based on a National Confectioners Association survey.
While online became a new way for consumers to purchase candy, we’re starting to see a shift back to in-store purchases.
- Grocery stores are the top source for chocolate and candy purchases in the first part of 2021 experiencing a 5.7% sales increase, according to Candy & Snack Today.
- During the first part of 2021, grocery store chocolate dollar sales were up 10.8% and non-chocolate sales were up 6% Candy & Snack Today reports.
Keep up with the candy craze!
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