Is There A Right Way To Eat A Candy Cane?

Is There A Right Way To Eat A Candy Cane?

Seasonal Chocolate and Candy Enhance Winter Holidays Celebrations

WASHINGTON – There’s no clearer sign that the winter holidays are here than the emergence of candy canes on store shelves – but what is the “right” way to eat them? In a new consumer survey, the National Confectioners Association found that 55% of people start with the straight end, 28% go for the curved end first and 17% of consumers choose to break it into pieces. It makes sense that this debate heats up as the weather cools down: 93% of Americans say they plan to share chocolate and candy with friends and family for the winter holiday season.

“Chocolate and candy play a fun and unique role in all of the festivities around the winter holidays – and they have a meaningful impact on how families celebrate, enhancing traditions and helping to make special memories,” John Downs, NCA president & CEO, said. “Seasonal treating is an important part of these traditions for families across the country and around the world – whether playing dreidel for chocolate coins, adorning a Christmas tree with candy canes or delivering a gift to a loved one, chocolate and candy enliven the spirit of togetherness that is so emblematic of the season.”

NCA’s new survey also revealed some interesting answers to the following questions:

What’s the best kind of foil-wrapped chocolate?
  • 46% Santas
  • 30% coins
  • 24% snowmen
Which type of candy cane do consumers prefer?
  • 73% classic peppermint
  • 27% fun flavors

NCA’s recently-released report, Getting to Know Seasonal Chocolate & Candy Consumers, shows the importance of chocolate and candy during the winter holiday season. The category generated more than $5.6 billion in retail sales in traditional channels in 2022. Whether consumers are using chocolate and candy to fill stockings, decorate gingerbread houses or as part of games, Americans are enthusiastic about these treats as a key part of the holiday season.

With celebrations of all types taking place throughout the entire season, NCA is offering a robust set of resources at to help consumers find seasonal inspiration, as well as holiday fun facts and tips for treating as part of a balanced lifestyle.

To join the conversation on social media, use #HolidayTreats, and follow NCA on FacebookX and Instagram. Happy holidays!


NCA x The White House: Learn More About Our Holiday Collaboration

In a high-profile reflection of the special role chocolate and candy play during the winter holidays, NCA is collaborating with The White House on its 2023 holiday theme and décor, as announced by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

NCA is proud to be part of a unique collaboration that brings to life the magic of chocolate and candy and the joyous spirit of the winter holidays. NCA’s support of The White House holiday experience includes custom, oversized candy sculptures, archways and other displays in multiple spaces throughout the executive residence that help bring First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s vision of a fantastical and magical holiday dreamscape to life. NCA and its member companies also provided chocolate and candy used to create wreaths, ornaments and other décor as well as custom chocolate bars that White House visitors will receive during the holiday season.

From your house to The White House, chocolate and candy are always a treat!

For more information about the holidays at The White House, please visit

Survey Methodology: NCA’s Seasonal Survey was conducted in July 2023 by 210 Analytics, LLC using a self-administered, online questionnaire. The sample of 1,500 individuals mirrors the U.S. population in terms of key demographics, including age, income, ethnicity and region, with an oversample of 500 parents.

About the National Confectioners Association (NCA):
The National Confectioners Association is the leading trade organization for the $48 billion U.S. confectionery industry. NCA advocates for an environment that enables candy makers to thrive and works to ensure that chocolate, candy, gum and mints are celebrated for their contributions to culture, society, the economy and everyday moments of joy. The industry employs nearly 58,000 workers in more than 1,600 manufacturing facilities across all 50 states and supports an additional 635,000 jobs in related fields. The U.S. confectionery industry has made a commitment to increasing transparency, providing more portion guidance options and educating consumers about the role of confectionery in a happy, balanced lifestyle. Learn more at or follow NCA on Facebook, X and Instagram.