Washington — America is divided on what candy deserves a spot in Easter baskets, according to a recent Instacart survey of more than 2,000 Americans conducted online by The Harris Poll. The data also suggests Easter candy is a pretty big deal, with nearly two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) agreeing Easter candy is the best seasonal candy, and more than half (57 percent) saying Easter candy is better than Halloween candy.
Instacart Trends Expert Laurentia Romaniuk explains: “Although Halloween may be the ultimate sweets holiday largely centered around trick-or-treating for fun-sized candies, there’s a sensible reason many folks are more partial to Easter candy. With marshmallow chicks, chocolate bunnies and eggs, and jelly beans hitting store shelves just once a year, consumers are able to look forward to the limited-time offering of the specialty candies, which often feature pastel colors, unique shapes, and indulgences like creme fillings or malted chocolate.”
The company’s purchase data shows the top-purchased candies in the weeks leading up to Easter:
The survey also found that when it comes to Easter candy preferences, seven out of the top 10 candies include chocolate flavors, and that nearly half of Americans (47 percent) say chocolate bunnies are a top choice, followed by chocolate eggs (44 percent).
While chocolate bunnies did make the Top 10 list, chocolate eggs were the most widely purchased candy type with the Cadbury Easter Creme Eggs and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs taking the #1 and #2 spots.
The company also uncovered the most popular Easter candy in every state, with just four treats rising to the top. Ranking most popular in 24 states is the Cadbury Easter Creme Eggs, closely followed by Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs in 20 states. Combined, these egg-shaped chocolates are the top candy in 88 percent of the country.
There is also a clear regional chocolate egg divide with Cadbury Easter Creme Eggs completely taking the West Coast and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs largely dominating the Midwest and East Coast. Starburst Easter Jelly Beans come in third as the top candy in 5 states including the Dakotas, the Carolinas, and Florida, while Cadbury Chocolate Mini Eggs are most favorable in Vermont and Massachusetts.
Looking at the quintessential Easter candy — Peeps — 25 percent of respondents say they eat marshmallow chicks for the sake of tradition despite it being among their least favorite Easter candies and the data show this candy is the most affiliated with Easter.
Compared to all other candy sectors, marshmallow chicks and jelly beans experience the highest growth during the two weeks leading up to Easter, growing by 111 percent and 109 percent, respectively. While nearly a quarter of Americans (24 percent) say jelly beans are among their least favorite Easter candies, their seasonal uptick shows they’re also an Easter stronghold.
When it comes to jelly bean flavor preferences, Instacart’s survey found that about half of Americans are traditionalists when it comes to Easter jelly beans, with 53 percent preferring classic flavors — cherry, orange and lemon-lime — followed by 52 percent preferring fun and fruity flavors such as blue raspberry, piña colada and fruit punch. In addition, 24 percent of Americans enjoy sour-flavored jelly beans and 23 percent believe non-traditional flavors such as buttered popcorn and licorice are among the best flavors.