Mar 28, 2024 - Business

Skyrocketing cocoa prices impacting Easter candy

Top-selling Easter candies, 2023
Reproduced from Instacart; Note: "Top-selling" candies were ranked by total number of items sold in each state during the week ending Easter Sunday; Map: Axios Visuals

The Easter Bunny — and consumers — are feeling the pinch of inflation this year with skyrocketing cocoa prices reaching new heights.

Why it matters: Cocoa prices surpassed $10,000 a ton for the first time this week.

The big picture: Consumers are expected to spend $3.1 billion on candy this year, down from $3.3 billion for the holiday in 2023, the National Retail Federation's annual holiday survey found.

  • Overall Easter spending is $22.4 billion, NRF said, dropping from last year's record of $24 billion.

Zoom in: Despite climbing cocoa prices, chocolate candies are expected to still reign as America's favorites similar to recent years.

  • Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs were the top-selling candy in 2023, according to Instacart and DoorDash data.
  • Starburst jelly beans ranked fifth nationwide and yellow marshmallow Peeps chicks eighth — the only two non-chocolate candies in the top 10 sellers, per Instacart.

By the numbers: Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs were the top seller in 37 states and Reese's Cup was the top seller in six states, Instacart data found.

  • Hershey's Milk Chocolate was the top candy in six states: California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and North Dakota.
  • Cadbury Milk Chocolate was the top seller in Alaska and Washington, D.C., Instacart data shows.

State of play: Easter is the second most popular holiday for candy purchasing after Halloween, a Numerator survey of 5,132 consumers found.

Between the lines: Soaring costs are weighing on the bottom lines of candy producers like Hershey, which warned about rising costs in its fourth-quarter earnings in February.

  • Some manufacturers are curbing candy bar sizes and promoting other candy varieties, Bloomberg reports.

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