- Retail sales of Halloween candy are expected to reach $2.6 billion this year, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA), a boon to the $35 billion U.S. candy industry.
- Seven in 10 consumers consider holidays like Halloween to be a time for enjoying candy, the NCA found, which should entice major confectioners like Nestle SA, Mars, Inc., and The Hershey Co.
- However, confectioners shouldn't expect consumers or their children to gorge on candy recklessly. "More than 90 percent of parents discuss or plan to discuss balance and moderation with their children relative to their candy consumption," according to the NCA.
Just because it's Halloween doesn't mean that all consumers give up on their plans for healthy eating, which have affected food companies well beyond the confectionery industry. "Nearly 80 percent of parents report that they have a plan in place to help their children make smart decisions when it comes to the enjoyment of treats," the NCA's survey found.
Various confectioners have made commitments this year to begin making their candy, particularly chocolate, with simpler, cleaner ingredients lists, including Nestle and Hershey.
While much of the packaged foods industry has taken a hit over the past few years, candy has remained relatively untouched by the shift away from processed foods. Mars Chocolate North America president Tracey Massey told Fortune that candy is put in a different category from many of the other processed foods, "We’re a treat. We’re not a food. We’re not a meal. We’re a treat and consumers like to treat themselves."
Susan Whiteside, vice president of public relations and marketing communications at the NCA, told Food Dive, "Candy represents just about 2% of the average American diet already. So people are already viewing candy as just a small treat."
Other recent data from the NCA showed the confectionery industry's impact on the U.S. economy, which includes providing 55,000 manufacturing jobs and more than 400,000 American jobs in related industries, for a total of 465,000 jobs with a 1:7 multiplier effect.
Editor's note: David Oliver contributed to this report.