Washington — Strong candy, mint and gum (CGM) sales continue to fuel double-digit gains in the confectionery category versus year ago sales, according to data insights from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI). For the 52 weeks ending September 11, total CMG came in 11.1 percent ahead of the same time period one year ago. In the latest four weeks, candy sales accelerated to 12.7 percent versus a year ago. All three areas, chocolate, non-chocolate and gum/breath fresheners gained in dollars, while unit sales were mixed.
Chocolate sales continue to look strong with only novelty chocolate experiencing a small year-on-year decline and the total category growing 9.3 percent versus a year ago in the latest 52 weeks. Virtually all areas within chocolate grew by double digits, with strong consumer demand for seasonal chocolate in the very early weeks of the Halloween season, notes Anne-Marie Roerink, of 210 Analytics, LLC.
Unit sales in the sector were a different story. For the 52-week period, chocolate unit sales fell 1.8 percent from year-ago levels and in the latest four weeks, units were down a full 6 percent from the same four week period in 2021.
All areas within the chocolate sector are experiencing unit pressure, Roerink points out. The food (grocery) channel saw increased dollar sales, but growth was below average, at 7.9 percent. However grocery did better than the drug channel, where chocolate sales gained just 6.1 percent. Convenience stores experienced an 8 percent gain, which leaves mass/supercenters to drive the highest growth — the case in many different categories across the store, Roerink says. Walmart Inc. recently shared strong second-quarter sales numbers and Costco Wholesale Corp. has been reporting strong membership numbers and sales.
Unit sales in the non-chocolate sector are performing better than in the chocolate market, Roerink says. In the longer 52-week outlook non-chocolate unit sales remained in the positive, up 2.9 percent versus a year ago. For the latest four weeks, unit sales in the sector were down just 1.3 percent.
Several areas within non-chocolate remained in the plus, including hard sugar candy, novelty, mints and seasonal. In dollars, non-chocolate gains remained in double-digits. The 52-week look showed a 13.3 percent increase versus a year ago and dollar sales during the latest four weeks increased 13.8 percent, reflecting growth in nearly all sub-segments. The food and drug channels experienced average growth, while convenience stores experience a 15.3 percent uptick in non-chocolate sales during the latest 52 weeks.
Another bright spot, the comeback in the gum/breath freshener sector continues with a big win for sugarless gum, which saw dollar sales increase 15.4 percent for the latest 52 weeks. Gum sales are also experiencing unit increases of 3.2 percent for the past year.