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NCA projects $2.26 billion total U.S. confectionery sales for 2014 Easter season

Chocolate bunny National Confectioners Association (NCA) Easter 2014 (CSP Daily News / Convenience Store Petroleum)

WASHINGTON -- Nearly 83% of parents plan to include candy and chocolate in their Easter baskets this year, according to a nationwide survey by the National Confectioners Association (NCA). Additional popular items in the basket include nonedibles such as crayons, stuffed animals and books (73%).

NCA projects total U.S. confectionery sales this Easter season to be $2.26 billion, up 4% from 2013, due to three extra weeks of merchandising.

About 81% of survey respondents said they will share or gift candy during America's favorite springtime holiday.

"The survey indicates that kids and adults alike continue to celebrate the Easter holiday by enjoying one of life's great treats: candy. And with 87% of parents planning to buy or create Easter baskets for their children, the longstanding tradition lives on," said NCA executive vice president Alison Bodor.

"Candy has a special place in American culture," she said. "It's what many people enjoy at holidays and other celebrations. And studies show that consumers know how to 'treat right.' Research suggests that candy comprises only 2.2% of the average diet."

NCA's survey determined new insights about Americans' buying preferences and habits:

  • The power of the in-store experience during holidays: More than half of adult consumers (51%) are influenced by holiday displays to purchase seasonal candy.
  • Playing the name game: Brand names influence 71% of Americans' candy purchases.
  • Keeping it classy: 72% of those surveyed say they are influenced by the classics or popular choices when buying seasonal candy.
  • Spring brings kindness: 78% of Americans often buy Easter candy to share with friends, family or colleagues.

Survey results related to the Easter bunny include:

  • About 66% of Americans prefer solid chocolate bunnies over hollow ones.
  • 89% of respondents believe the proper way to eat a chocolate Easter bunny is ears first; about 6% go for the feet, and 5% begin with the tail.

Jelly beans remain a seasonal classic--more than 16 billion of them are made for Easter each year in the United States. Cherry is the most popular jelly bean flavor among survey respondents (24%). Strawberry is another top favorite (19%), while licorice, lemon and grape collectively are enjoyed most by 35% of Americans. Surprisingly, about 22% of those surveyed prefer an "other" flavor.