According to the sales trends, America is trying to be healthier — but that doesn’t mean they’re giving up candy.
Sales of things like organic eggs, bagged salad, and sparkling water are on the rise. But so are sales of confections, generating billions in revenue every year.
According to Nielsen data, consumers spent $21.5 billion on candy in the 52 weeks ending April 30, 2016, and annual sales have grown 2-4 percent over the past five years. Seasonal treats bring in a whopping $3.5 billion while non-seasonal generates $17.9 billion.
In the grocery channel, candy ranks third in category growth, right behind New Age beverages and salty snacks. Children may be driving those sales.
Nielsen research from the third quarter of 2015 on center-of-store sales found that requests for sweets were highest among families with children younger than 18. Most purchases come from parents of kids between 3-7 (63 percent) and 8-12 (65 percent), while households with teens aged 13-17 showed a drop in interest (54 percent).
And when it comes to brands, candy is big. Nielsen's "Private Label & Branded Score Card" study shows that candy is among the top 10 branded categories that posted absolute dollar gains over the last four years. Consumers buy branded candy more often than private-label.
In terms of candy types, chocolate still reigns supreme, generating $11.2 billion in sales in the 52-week period.
But that doesn't mean non-chocolates aren't popular. Non-chocolates generated $6.7 billion in sales, up 4.7 percent over the previous period. That's bigger growth than chocolate, which saw only a two percent increase in sales over the same period.
And let's not forget seasonal candy.
Accounting for 19 percent of total sales, seasonal candy comprises an important segment of the industry. It's seen a higher dollar percent increase over the last five years than non-seasonal candy, with Easter seeing the most growth, followed by Christmas, Valentine's Day and Halloween in that order.
Which all goes to show that when it comes to sweets, America is still ready to indulge.