Snacks & Candy

C-Stores Retain Fastest Growth in Confection

Channel reaches $8.3 billion in sales in August, up 14.5% from a year ago
Candy sales
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Convenience stores remain the fastest growing channel for confection, reaching $8.3 billion in sales for the 52-week period ending Aug. 13, according to data from Circana. This marks an increase of 14.5% compared to year-ago levels.

In all traditional channels, confectionary dollar sales have surpassed $34 billion. Confectionery continues to be one of the strongest growth leaders across the store, according to a report from the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

The chocolate sector across channels accounted for about 55% of dollar sales during the 52-week period, hitting $19 billion. That represents growth of 9.5%, but gains have started to slow significantly in the shorter term, said Anne-Marie Roerink, principal at market research firm 210 Analytics. For the four weeks ending Aug. 13, dollar sales increased 5.6% while units were down 5.4%. This mirrors a trend seen in 2022, where dollar gains were strong but fully boosted by inflation, said Roerink and reported by NCA.

A few areas within chocolate are still experiencing double-digit growth in the full-year view, according to NCA, such as seasonal candy, snack size and bags/boxes/bars smaller than 3.5 ounces. Gains for sugar-free chocolate, however, have dropped to single-digits, at 7.2%.

Non-chocolate candy continues to outperform chocolate in both dollars and units. For the 52-week period, non-chocolate dollar gains increased 15.6%. Units were mostly flat, dropping 0.5%. However, much like chocolate, non-chocolate sales gains are showing signs of slowing down, with the latest four weeks experiencing a unit decline of 1.9%, according to Circana data.

Chewy candy represents 50% of all dollars and grew 14.6% during the past year. Several other areas experienced double-digit growth, including sugar-free candy, seasonal, mints, novelty, caramel and breath fresheners. Roerink noted that novelty non-chocolate had the highest growth, at 43.7% and also experienced unit growth of 25.7%, said NCA.

Gum sales continued to recover. Dollar sales reached $3.3 billion, which was up 18.6% over year-ago levels. Most dollar sales, 87%, were generated by sugar-free gum, which also led all growth, at 20.4%.

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