Despite double-digit category inflation, 74% of consumers agree that confectionery remains an affordable treat, according to the 2023 State of Treating Report from the Washington, D.C.-based National Confectioners Association (NCA); however, 45% of consumers applied one or more money-saving measures in 2022, switching between types, brands, pack sizes and stores.
Boosted by inflation, sales reached $42.6 billion in the total market according to Euromonitor, whose sales projections take the total category to $54.3 billion by 2027. Units and volume in IRI-measured channels had mixed performances.
Broken into segments, total chocolate sales came out to be $23.9 billion (up 9.1%). Total nonchocolate and gum/mint sales reached double digit growth (up 13.8%), at $15.4 billion and $3.2 billion, respectively.
When it comes to portion sizes, 32% of consumers are unsure what constitutes an appropriate amount of chocolate or candy to eat at one time, the report said. Nine in 10 consumers are interested in calorie and portion information. When determining the appropriate portion size, consumers mostly look at total calories (28%) and total sugar (22%). Interest in claims, such as natural, organic, non-GMO and others, dropped. Sugar-free remains an area that delivers growth for both chocolate and non-chocolate.
More people looked for promotions in 2022, while fewer credited secondary displays with driving their purchases. Consumers liked BOGOs and value packs the most, according to NCA. Consumers say mood, price and brand drive the confectionery purchase decision, with younger shoppers weighing mood the most and Boomers emphasizing brand.
Innovation, both line extensions and completely new items, can drive engagement and sales growth with 61% of shoppers occasionally or frequently looking for confectionery products they have not had before. Price investment along with displays and sampling are the top ways to support trial, according to the report.
Convenience stores and mass retailers had the strongest channel performance of 2022.
The candy aisle was the most popular location in the store to purchase candy, with checkout, seasonal areas, secondary displays and bulk bins were the next top locations.
Candy consumers are active social media users, with 59% searching Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for confectionery-related ideas or inspiration for gifting, baking or crafting, said the report. TikTok is the lead platform among Gen Z.
Environmental, social and governance influences consumers. The top ways that consumers prefer learning about ESG efforts are package labels (43%), the brand’s website (34%), social media (30%), store signage (25%) and a store’s website (25%), according to data from the NCA report.
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