Candy has always been set apart as special compared to other foods. Candy in America, as you recognize it today, emerged after the Civil War, following a drop in the price of sugar and the development of industrial machines capable of making it in mass quantities.
Candy is considered a “permissible indulgence” and has also developed close associations with religious holidays, such as the Hanukkah gelt, Christmas candy canes, and chocolate Easter bunnies. And though only loosely associated with All Saint’s Day, Halloween candy is a huge market, with Americansspending an average of $86 per personin their household in 2019.
But the candy market is impacted by trends, just like any other CPG brand. Here’s what trends will affect our collective sweet tooths in 2021.
Candy Trends in the U.S.: A Few Statistics
The market for candy is predicted togrow 2.8%for chocolates and 3.7% for non-chocolates from 2018 through 2022. Eighty percent of American adults eat candy, and they spend $23 billion per year just on their chocolate addiction.
Since 2012, confectionary sales in the U.S. have grown by15%in both the chocolate and non-chocolate categories. The global candy market projects aCAGR of 3.99%through 2025.
The global candy market is segmented by:
Chocolate and non-chocolate
Caramels and Nougat
Jellies and chews
Others (Licorice, lollipops, and medicated confectionery)
The global candy market declined somewhat during 2020; the global pandemic caused forecasters todrop their projections slightlyfrom the beginning of the year. Since many Halloween events were canceled or consumers chose to stay home, candy companies were concerned that sales would decline.
Mordor Intelligence reportson the latest candy trends, stating, “The majority of the manufacturers are focusing on product development in line with organic food culture across the world.” COVID-19 impacted all demographic categories in 2020, and they predict continued emphasis on health-conscious clean labels and more “healthy” products.Candy Industry reports theplant-based revolution will impact candy next year, with more vegan offerings extending into traditional CPG branding efforts.
By far, the most candy eaten remains in the chocolate category. By brand,the most popularinclude Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Hershey’s Kisses, but the trends show Starburst, Swedish Fish, and Sour Patch Kids growing in popularity.
Areportfor Swedish suppliers for American candy manufacturers reports that Hispanic Americans consume candy more frequently than non-Hispanic Americans and that non-chocolate chewy candy is especially popular in this demographic segment.
CPG Branding Trends Include Sustainability and Social Responsibility
Environmentally conscious consumers are demanding transparency and sustainability from their food products, and candy is no exception. Several candy companies have accelerated their sustainability strategies in response. Mars plans to invest$1 billionin clean energy, renewable food sourcing, and more eco-conscious farming practices. Hershey intends to invest$500 millionthrough the year 2030 in improving the sustainability of cocoa production.
What Consumers Want from Candy
Consumers want what they’ve always wanted from candy: great taste. Otherqualitiescandy consumers say they look for include:
“Clean label” ingredients
Corn syrup alternatives
Trendy ingredients (like quinoa in chocolate candy)
Local, authentic ingredient sourcing
Consumers can accept that they probably won’t ever feel “healthy” while munching chocolate, but they can at least feel like the candy company is striving to do something positive by promoting clean energy, using organic ingredients, or engaging in corporate social responsibility.
The “trend” of candy tasting great and providing a momentary indulgence will never go away. But companies can grab consumer attention by their commitment to fair trade, sustainability, and community outreach.
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