Last year, confectionery category dollar sales grew 11.1% over 2021, and 22.1% over 2019, with consumers considering chocolate and candy as a fun part of life (81%) and as an affordable treat (74%), according to the fourth annual “State of Treating” report from the National Confectioners Association (NCA), released March 6 at NCA’s annual State of the Industry Conference, in Aventura, Fla. The total confectionery category hit $42.6 billion in sales, spurred by inflation that reached a 40-year high in 2022. The total category is projected to grow to $54.3 billion in 2027.
“With high marks for favorability and permissibility, along with the majority of consumers agreeing that confectionery is an affordable treat, chocolate and candy sales grew despite economic pressures,” noted John Downs, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NCA. “Consumers continue to treat with chocolate and candy to enhance their emotional well-being, celebrate holidays and enjoy everyday moments.”
[Read more: "What Snacks and Brands Are Consumers Craving?"]
Among the key findings of the report:
- 79% of consumers agree that physical health and emotional well-being are interconnected, and 86% agree that it’s fine to occasionally treat oneself with chocolate and candy.
- 78% believe confectionery sharing and gifting are great traditions.
- Consumers buy confectionery in three to four retail channels, led by supercenters and supermarkets.
- 61% of shoppers seek confectionery products they’ve never purchased before, showing the importance of innovation.
- 59% of candy consumers have searched Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for confectionery-related content.
- In the area of transparency, 43% of consumers prefer to learn about a brand’s ESG efforts from the package label.
“State of Treating 2023: A Bite-Sized Taste” contains insights that combine proprietary NCA consumer survey findings with syndicated category and channel performance data. These insights aim to provide a deeper understanding of consumer wants and needs, corresponding shifts in the retail landscape, and future opportunities to support continued category growth.
The report was made possible by Chicago-based Blommer Chocolate Co., with data supplied by IRI Worldwide and Euromonitor. Shopper insights were gathered through an online survey conducted by San Antonio-based 210 Analytics LLC in December 2022 among a national sample of 1,567 consumers ages 18-75. The survey findings were overlaid with IRI retail measurement and household panel data, and future market predictions were provided by Euromonitor.