Washington — In 2022, chocolate, candy, gum and mint sales in the traditional retail channels in Information Resources, Inc.’s (IRI) multi-outlet universe exceeded $32 billion. This is an increase of 11.1 percent over record 2021 sales, notes Anne-Marie Roerink, of 210 Analytics, LLC. Chocolate was the top seller in the category, bringing in $18 billion, while non-chocolate candy and gum grew the fastest, at 13.3 percent and 15.3 percent, respectively.
But the dollar performance story was very different from the unit and volume pictures, Roerink points out. Inflation had a big impact on category performance along with most other departments around the store. Total confectionery was down 2 percent in units when compared to 2021, though volume fared slightly better as some consumers moved to sharable pack sizes.
The chocolate sector saw a 9.1 percent jump in dollars to it record-setting $18.2 billion. The biggest contributors to sales were share bags, at $7.2 billion, followed by bars less than 3.5 ounces ($5.4 billion) and seasonal chocolate for holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween, which generated $3.7 billion in 2022.
While seasonal sales increased both in dollars and volume, everyday chocolate is the far bigger seller. Only two areas within chocolate fell short of their 2021 levels — gift box and novelty chocolate. The biggest areas of growth were seasonal, especially Halloween and Easter, as well as sugarfree options.
Units in the sector did not fare as well as dollars, and were down 4.2 percent versus 2021 levels. Larger share bags did better than average, which means some of the volume moved to larger formats while purchases dropped, Roerink explains. The only areas that gained in volume in 2022 were Easter, Halloween and Valentine’s Day chocolate. This underscores the continued popularity of the candy seasons with consumers as they re-engage with traditions, friends and families to celebrate the holidays and special occasions, she adds.
Non-chocolate candy had a stronger performance with gains in both dollars and units, however volume was flat. Units were up for novelty, seasonal and sugarfree candy. All areas under the non-chocolate banner gained in dollars, with above-average growth for sugarfree candy, seasonal, novelty and plain mints. Chewy candy, which makes up $5.5 billion of the $11 billion in total non-chocolate sales still managed to grow 12.9 percent in 2022.
The gum sector continues to gain to get closer to its pre-pandemic performance. Dollar sales increased 15.3 percent in 2022, whereas units grew 1.4 percent. Sugarfree gum drove all unit gains.