Washington — While most food and beverage categories are struggling to keep up with 2020 sales surges, the confectionery category continues to bring in strong gains. While dollar results are boosted by inflation, unit and volume demand is also higher than in 2020. Importantly, the overall strong performance is supported by gains in chocolate, non-chocolate and gum (CMG), notes Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics LLC.
Total Confectionery: Total sales including gum and mints are up 8.7 percent for the latest 52 weeks with sales accelerating each month. Total CMG sales increased 13.3 percent year-on-year in the latest 12 weeks ending November 28, versus a year ago and are up 17.1 percent in the latest four weeks. Sales were boosted by a very strong Halloween, especially seasonal item sales, but also by continued solid everyday demand across all channels, including ones that experienced some pressure last year, most notably the drug channel, Roerink points out. Across total CMG, units are up 1.3 percent versus a year ago in the 52-week look and up 9.7 percent in just the latest four weeks ending November 28 versus year ago.
Chocolate: Chocolate, the best performer in 2020, remains a powerhouse in 2021, Roerink says. Sales are up 8.5 percent during the latest 52 weeks when compared to the same period a year ago and, much like seen for overall confectionery, gains continue to accelerate. Chocolate grew 17.2 percent in November 2021 versus November 2020. Virtually all areas within chocolate are contributing, with very high gains for seasonal candy, both Halloween and the Winter Holiday themed items. Other areas that continue to do well are gift boxes, value packs and sugar-free chocolate.
Non-Chocolate: Non-chocolate candy resumed its growth leader position after giving it up to chocolate in 2020, says Roerink. Growth in non-chocolate is driven by very strong seasonal, novelty, caramel/taffy and hard sugar candy sales. But above all, chewy candy is driving half the sales and growing at an impressive 14.2 percent over year ago. New items, flavors, shapes and seasonal launches are showing the impact of innovation in the confectionery category.
Gum/Mints: Breath freshener sales are back on the plus side after a hard year of being impacted by social distancing. Sales for the latest 52 weeks ending November 28 are up 2 percent versus a year ago, with sales accelerating quickly, up 15.5 percent for the latest 12 weeks as consumer mobility resumes. Gum sales are still down slightly (-1.3 percent) during the 52-week look, but if growth continues at its current pace, gum might end the year on the plus side by the end of December. Growth for sugarless gum in the latest four weeks was up 17.3 percent.
Channels: The grocery channel had a very strong 2020 and remains in growth mode in 2021, up 5.5 percent for the latest 52 weeks versus a year ago. Drug stores are also back in the plus after a year of down results, now up 5.3 percent.