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Halloween 2023: Double-Digit Candy Inflation Hits U.S. for Second Consecutive Year

As Halloween approaches in 2023, American consumers are facing a spooky reality at the candy aisle. Candy and gum prices have surged, with a 13% average increase compared to October of the previous year. This alarming candy inflation marks the second consecutive year of double-digit price hikes, far surpassing the 6% increase in overall grocery prices. The rising cost of sweets is impacting Halloween traditions, with some consumers scaling back their candy purchases and opting for more budget-friendly options.

Factors Driving Candy Price Increases:

  1. Weather-Related Challenges: Cocoa prices have reached a 44-year high due to heavy rains in West Africa, which hampered cocoa production in the previous season. The ongoing El Nino conditions are exacerbating the situation by causing dryness in the region, leading to concerns about cocoa shortages. Analysts predict that price relief may not be on the horizon until at least the first half of 2024.
  2. Global Sugar Price Surge: Global sugar prices have hit 12-year highs. India, the world’s second-largest sugar producer, banned sugar exports due to monsoon-related crop damage, and Thailand’s sugar output has declined. These factors have contributed to the overall cost of candy production.
  3. Labor, Packaging, and Ingredient Costs: In addition to cocoa and sugar, rising costs for labor, packaging materials, and ingredients like peanuts are contributing to the overall price hikes in the candy industry.

Many consumers, like Jessica Weathers of Shiloh, Illinois, are feeling the pinch of exorbitant candy prices. Weathers mentioned that it doesn’t make sense to spend a substantial amount on candy and has opted to buy fewer bags this year. Some individuals, in response to the increased costs, are altering their candy choices. Market research firm Numerator reports that around one-third of U.S. consumers plan to switch to value or store brands when purchasing candy for trick-or-treaters this Halloween.

Confectionery giants are also grappling with the effects of higher prices. Hershey Co., for example, has raised prices by 7% or more for seven consecutive quarters, which has impacted sales volumes. Hershey’s President and CEO, Michele Buck, acknowledges the importance of value and affordability for consumers, especially when budgets are tight. The company is actively working to cater to consumers’ needs by offering a range of products in value stores and various price points.

In the candy market, this year’s Halloween may be spookier not just because of costumes and decorations but also because of the higher prices that consumers face when satisfying their sweet tooth.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

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