*The following op-ed originally appeared in Candy Industry on October 16, 2023.
Throughout the year, American consumers look forward to celebrating their favorite holidays and seasons with friends and family. Whether it’s exchanging heart-shaped chocolate boxes on Valentine’s Day or roasting s’mores around a summer bonfire, chocolate and candy play an important role in these special moments and seasonal celebrations.
Halloween is often referred to as our industry’s Super Bowl. And now that the Halloween season is in full swing, consumers are excited to celebrate, with 93% saying they will share chocolate and candy with friends and family to commemorate the season. Whether their address is on Main Street or Pennsylvania Avenue, Americans are preparing their decorations, costumes and treats ahead of Halloween night.
Consumer enthusiasm has steadily extended the Halloween season over time, with the nation’s chocolate and candy makers working with retailers to enhance the exciting buildup far before October 31.
While Americans begin their celebrations earlier and earlier each year, confectionery manufacturers work year-round to make sure shelves are stocked with seasonal treats that make for a memorable Halloween for families. And it’s perhaps even more important now than ever before: confectionery items remain an affordable luxury despite persistent inflation and continued supply chain disruptions impacting kitchen table budgets from coast to coast.
Chocolate and candy serve as holiday centerpieces and everyday treats, and confectionery manufacturing serves as a major economic driver in communities across the country. For an industry that generates $42 billion every year, the Halloween season is vital to our ability to support local economies, provide more than 58,000 confectionery manufacturing jobs and support an additional 635,000 jobs in transportation, agriculture, retail, and more. The “Power of Sweet” can be felt in all corners of the country, as our member companies operate in all 50 states.
The real fun lies beyond the numbers however—it’s about how an occasional treat has the power to make life more special. Innovative confectionery products help people embrace the fun flavors and scary themes Halloween is known for, bringing nostalgic thoughts and feelings to those enjoying a little chocolate and candy treat and elevating an ordinary moment into a special occasion.
The confectionery industry is providing more transparency, choice and portion guidance options for consumers who are looking to celebrate the big and small moments. If you are celebrating the Halloween season this year or are among the 60 percent of parents who sneak Halloween candy from their children, know that we as an industry are working hard to deliver innovative new products right alongside beloved Halloween classics.
The seasons provide a reason to connect with your community and make cherished memories with your family and friends. As for us in the confectionery industry, we are proud of our role in providing an affordable luxury to consumers that helps to make celebrations and family traditions a little sweeter.