Chocolate candy is the most popular item given to trick-or-treaters. Last year, seasonal chocolate Halloween candy generated nearly $217 million in sales, up 12 percent from the previous year, according to consumer research firm Packaged Facts.
Chocolate candy sales have continued to rise, not just on Halloween, but throughout the entire year. In 2013, the U.S. market for chocolate candy was an estimated $21 billion, and it is expected to exceed $26 billion by 2018. A variety of factors are helping to drive sales of chocolate candy. Read on to learn more
The Ultimate Impulse Buy
Approximately 81 percent of consumers say they eat chocolate, according to Packaged Facts. People eat chocolate virtually everywhere — at home, work, the movies, and in the car. The temptation is hard to resist, because chocolate is readily available wherever you go. Whether you are waiting in line at a bookstore, or getting your groceries at the local supermarket, an enticing display of chocolate candies is often right by the checkout. In both mass retailers and high-end stores, chocolate is the ultimate impulse purchase.
The Power of Variety
Another factor working in chocolate’s favor is variety. Many consumers buy mixed bags of chocolate for Halloween. These bags offer an assortment of different flavors that tempt you to eat more chocolate than you would otherwise. Studies show that people feel full more quickly when they are eating only one flavor of food, but variety keeps food exciting (which is one reason why buffets are so dangerous). By packaging different flavors together, marketers help to ramp up chocolate consumption and keep you reaching into the bag for “just one more.”
The Appeal of New Flavors
Although a typical bag of Halloween candy usually consists of familiar, tried-and-true flavors, many premium brands are experimenting with creative blends that surprise and delight the foodie crowd. Boutique companies offer chocolate bars flavored with unique combinations like vanilla rooibos, hazelnut and fig, and pomegranate and goji. Alter Echo offers a dark salted burnt caramel as well as a dark quinoa chocolate. You can also try dark chocolate infused with lavender and cardamom, or milk chocolate with sweet curry powder and coconut. Flavor innovation is helping to keep consumers interested, engaged, and coming back for more. After all, how can you decide on just one bar of chocolate, when each one sounds so intriguing?
The Good-for-You Effect
Packaged Facts also points to chocolate’s “superfood stature” as another important sales driver. While refined sugar gets a bad rap, chocolate is routinely praised for all kinds of health benefits. A number of studies show that cocoa may actually be good for your heart and brain, with anti-inflammatory properties that improve blood vessel function, boost insulin resistance, and protect against cancer.
This is one reason so many health food stores also have shelves full of premium chocolate. Chocolate is an indulgence, but it doesn’t have the same guilt-factor associated with it as other candies do, which helps broaden its appeal among different demographics.