Oct 30, 2023 - Economy & Business

Inflation could mean more candy knockoffs this Halloween

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Trick-or-treaters might end up with more Halloween candy knockoffs and store-brand chocolate this year thanks to inflation.

The big picture: High inflation drove a nearly 13% increase in the candy and gum category since last October, per research firm Datasembly. That's on top of a 19.9% national increase last year.

By the numbers: Candy spending is expected to reach $3.6 billion, up from $3.1 billion last year, the National Retail Federation's annual holiday survey found.

  • 31% of the nearly 4,500 consumers surveyed by Numerator said they were opting for handing out value or store-brand candy for trick-or-treaters.
  • 15% were planning on premium or high-end brands candy for trick-or-treaters and 22% of candy buyers plan to purchase full-sized candy bars.

Meanwhile, Tim LeBel, Mars Wrigley chief Halloween officer, told Axios that while candy for trick-or-treating drives sales, "self-treating" is also on the rise.

  • A Halloween candy survey commissioned by Mars of 2,208 adults found that 89% of Americans who celebrate the holiday have eaten some of the candy intended for trick-or-treaters. Nearly half have worried about running out of candy.
  • Numerator's survey found when buying candy for themselves 27% were opting for premium or high-end candy compared to 20% buying the value products.

Between the lines: Higher candy prices could also mean trick-or-treaters get less candy, said NIQ, a consumer intelligence company.

  • Some will focus on less chocolate and more on marshmallows as well as candy-coated confections because chocolate had a higher average price, per NIQ data.
  • Marshmallows and candy-coated confections had the lowest average unit prices, NIQ data shows.

Zoom out: Cocoa prices are behind much of the price hike and trading at 44-year highs, AP reported, noting heavy rains in West Africa have caused limited production.

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