Without question, the rising cost of food has been dominating the news cycle and impacting how consumers make purchasing decisions.
The 2023 State of Treating report reinforced what we know: During this economic uncertainty, consumers are looking for small ways to bring a little sweetness to their lives and the lives of those around them. As a transparent, trusted and affordable treat, chocolate and candy can fill this unique need.
The report is the definitive source for confectionery category performance data, offering a deep understanding of ever-evolving consumer attitudes and behaviors. The findings show that Americans love chocolate and candy more than ever.
Sales of chocolate and candy reached $42.6 billion in 2022 and are expected to exceed $54 billion by 2027. This means confectionery category dollar sales grew 11.1% over 2021 and 22.1% over 2019. Strong sales numbers and positive consumer data show that confectionery’s affordability sets it apart during a time of uncertainty, especially since consumers view chocolate and candy as a fun part of life (81%) and an affordable treat (74%).
We also know that Americans now celebrate the seasons for longer and in bigger ways. Consumers did not let inflation stop them from including chocolate and candy in their holiday celebrations. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and the winter holidays showed strong growth in chocolate and candy purchases last year, which was certainly fueled by the 78% of consumers who believe confectionery sharing and gifting are great traditions.
The report also reiterated the direct correlation between enjoying chocolate and candy and emotional well-being. The data shows that 78% of consumers agree chocolate and candy help make them happy, and 79% agree positive emotions and physical health are interconnected.
That said, Americans understand that chocolate and candy are treats. Most people say they enjoy chocolate and candy two to three times per week averaging about 40 calories of added sugar per day, and 9 in 10 consumers are interested in nutritional information for the treats they enjoy.
At the same time, America’s chocolate and candy companies are dedicated to helping consumers make informed choices about how they treat. This goal is clearer now than ever, as America’s chocolate and candy companies recently delivered on their commitment to help consumers manage their sugar intake by providing more transparency, choice and portion guidance options. There is strong directional alignment throughout the confectionery industry.
Alongside the positive response to our industrywide efforts, we have seen increased consumer interest as they seek to engage with their favorite brands on social media. This extends into social causes, and we are committed to spreading the word about our sector’s dedication to responsible sourcing of ingredients, fair treatment of workers, and commitment to giving back to communities throughout the country.
Transparency, trust and affordability are of utmost importance as our consumers continue to find ways to incorporate their favorite treats into everyday moments and celebrations – and we are dedicated to ensuring that chocolate and candy remain America’s quintessential treat.