Abdallah Candies

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US Candy Consumption Trends

The key trends in candy consumption in the United States have been; increased consumption and demand for healthy ingredients in candies, rise in the consumption and sale of chocolate candies, increased demand by consumers for producers to use sustainable and transparent methods of production and rise in demand for premium and novelty candies. To curate this report we sourced industry reports, reputable blogs, and news reports. Below we will take you through a deep dive into our findings.


Candy brands are increasingly promoting clean eating in the production of their candies. Consumers in 2018 were noted to be attracted to products with fewer ingredients, fewer chemicals, and artificial flavorings. Candy manufacturers are using these factors to advertise their candy brands to consumers of today. Mintel also noted that parents are more prone to buying healthier candy for their children. It noted that parents are looking for confectionery that is sweetened with fruit and have natural formulations.

In line with clean eating, veganism as a food trend has grown by 60% since 2012. 6% of the American population state that they follow a strictly vegan diet and the number is increasing. Candy manufacturers are noting this trend and having plant-based options for this target market. Studies have shown that veganism and vegetarianism is not just a passing trend and may be here to stay.

Brands that have vegan candy options are; Twizzlers, Hubba Bubba, Cracker Jacks, Jolly Ranchers, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Skittles, Dots, Bottle Cap, and Charms(Blow Lollipops).


With growing concern for the environment and manufacturing processes that may result in its degradation, candy companies are now looking at sustainable options. Consumers and the public are looking to candy manufacturers to ensure they use sustainable and transparent methods of production. Major candy companies have adapted to this trend and they include;

Mars, the producers of Twix, Snickers, M&Ms and Mars bars have invested $1 billion towards creating renewable energy options, renewable food sourcing and renewable farming options as a way to be accountable to their consumers.

Hershey also intends to invest $500 million towards creating a sustainable program for cocoa farming. They rely on cocoa for their candy manufacturing, therefore, the Cocoa for Good program encourages sustainable farming methods. Mondelez has also embraced a similar program known as Cocoa Life for cocoa growing farmers in Ghana, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Brazil, and India.


Chocolate confectioneries have noticed an increased growth in sales and revenue over the years. Studies have noted that 81.7% of American adults will have consumed chocolate in 2018. This is due to the fact that chocolate is dynamic and can be packaged and made into many forms. Chocolate confectionery sales were set to grow by 15% since 2012 reaching $18.5 billion in 2018. Consumers are also said to be loyal to chocolate as their preferable candy option further positively driving sales.

Consumers in 2018 noted a preference for fun-sized packaged chocolate. This was seen as a way of limiting their consumption and this is in line with their healthier lifestyle food choices. Mini-sized portions are also more shareable and manufacturers note that this may even encourage consumers to purchase more. The consumption of these fun-sized packages has increased to 24.1% in 2018 as compared to 17.7% in 2008. Studies have also shown that consumers are more attracted to affordable candy options.


Studies conducted by Mintel note that premium candy and innovative candy account for a large share of the confectionery market in the United States. 76% of candy buyers will lean more towards premium candy saying that the price is worth it.

Consumers are attracted to novelty experiences and consumers want fun and more flavorful types of candy. These fun candies are said to be a big hit, especially during Halloween. 4% of candy consumption in the United States takes place during Halloween. It has also been noted that children eat 4 hard and chewy candies for every one eaten by an adult. Adults are more attracted to chocolate candies as mentioned above.

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US Candy Purchase Motivators

Key purchase motivators around candy include whether a company takes a stand on issues, health and wellness benefits, packaging, seasonal decisions, and convenience.


We started the search by looking into the US candy market. We looked at market insights such as market share, revenue, and industry insights. From this search, we were able to determine the two major groups of the market, its revenue, and the number of people consuming candy.

We included “taking a stand on issues” as a key motivating factor in purchasing candies because Generation Z consumers are projected to increase the spending of candy up to $44 billion, and they account for 61 million consumers in the market, making them essential to the market. Health and benefits were included as a key motivating factor because it is one of the reasons the market has received a 21% decline in sales last 2018. Many companies are now motivated to offer healthier products to consumers such as dark chocolate and chewing gum. Additionally, it has been found that 57% of food and beverage companies that offer healthier options have a faster growth rate than companies that do not. Packaging is a key motivating factor because 66% of consumers have reported buying a new candy product because of its packaging alone. Moreover, it was reported that 40% of consumers enjoy “easy-to-understand ingredients.”

Another critical motivator that was chosen is seasonal decisions. We found that 24% of all candy sales in the United States is attributed to seasonal decisions and that the market receives purchases of up to $1.9 billion during the Halloween season alone, making seasonal decisions a prime motivator for candy purchases. Lastly, convenience is chosen as a key motivator because 53% of shoppers are known to look for snacks in check-out counters and that mints and gum are 119% more likely to be purchased than any other snack food available at check-out counters. There was also the fact that shoppers spend less time shopping when they are looking for candies in a store, making convenience an essential factor in the purchase of candies.

The US Candy Market

The current US candy market has two major segments, which are chocolate and non-chocolate candies. When it comes to chocolate candies, the reported revenue in 2018 was $23 billion, while for non-chocolate candies the revenue was about $6 billion. In 2018, there were about 263 million people in the US who consumed chocolate and non-chocolate candies. A reason for the growth in the market is the accessibility and availability of the candies in the market.

Additionally, dark chocolate, hard candies, and chewing gum are increasing in popularity. This is because research on dark chocolate has shown some health benefits, such as aiding in proper blood flow within the body, and chewing gum has been known to lessen stress. Health and wellness benefits are one of the primary key motivators of the market.

Health and Wellness Benefits

High sugar content is one of the reasons why consumers decide not to buy candy. This has led to decreased purchases of non-chocolate candies, and declining perceived insights on the category itself. However, when it comes health and benefits, candies like dark chocolate has seen a surge in the market because of reported health benefits associated with the candy, such as helping the body to control blood flow, and its impact on the overall circulatory system. In addition to this, there is an increase in companies offering healthy solutions when it comes to candies, such as sugar-free candies for those who are diabetic. It has also been found that 57% of food companies offer a healthy option, and this leads to a faster growth rate compared to companies that do not offer these alternate products.

Hershey has intitiated “smart snacking”. This is a planned initiative by the company to lessen half of its products to contain less than 200 calories by 2020. Another company that is working on this motivator is Mars Wrigley Confectionery. The company has joined the Partnership for a Healthier America and is currently helping the organization determine the average consumption of candy for American consumers.

Taking a Stand on Issues

Generation Z consumers are becoming more aware of the products and brands they choose, and this is why 40% of them have reported having switched from or banned products that do not adhere to societal and environmental issues. This has led to investments by three key companies in the industry, namely, Mars, Hershey, and Mondelez.

Mars had invested a staggering $1 billion to help climate change, while Hershey invested $500 million in a program that is focused on creating cocoa sustainable practices. Mondelez is also investing in cocoa sustainable practices with their program known as “Cocoa Life”.


Modern consumers like to be informed, and they expect to be informed once they see a product’s packaging. It has been reported that over 40% of consumers enjoy candy packaging with “easy-to-understand ingredients”, and 66% of consumers claimed they had bought a new candy product because of its appealing packaging alone. This is one reason why 90% of major candy companies have decided to show the calorie information on the front of their packages. Additionally, labeling is important as it has been seen that candy products with the label of “bites” have increased the revenue by about 50%, while candy products with the label of "light" has seen a decreased revenue of 22%. In addition to this, it has been reported that candy products that have more than 3.5 ounces in their packaging have seen an increase in sales by nearly $8 million. Moreover, resealable packages are also a motivator for those who have a household income of less than $50,000 per year, as these kinds of consumers are willing to spend more for packaging that offers to keep a product fresh for a longer duration.

Perfetti van Melle is capitalizing on the packaging motivator by offering consumers a Mentos Velcro zipper bag, while Bazooka candy is offering various pre-packaged candies in a single pouch.

Seasonal Decisions

It is known that season affects consumer buying habits and this is also true for the candy market. It has been reported that a staggering 24% of all candy sales in the United States comes from seasonal purchases Halloween is one of the more favorable seasons for candy, and the market has seen purchases reaching $1.9 billion during that season alone. Additionally, it has been reported that 10% of all candy is bought the week before the season occurs. This is why October includes several of the top five biggest candy-selling days.

Hershey has capitalized on this motivator by offering seasonal novelty flavors during the holidays. This popularity has pushed the company to make its first new flavor in ten years, which is a hot chocolate flavor for the Christmas season.


Modern consumers enjoy convenience when shopping for their desired products. It was reported that 53% of store shoppers look for snacks at in-store check-out stands, making it essential to have candies or snacks when consumers are waiting their turn in check-outs. Mints and candies also see more success in check-counters, as they are 119% more likely to be purchased than other products that exist in check out counters. Additionally, consumers spend less time in stores when looking for candy. Specifically, they spend less than three minutes in stores when they are looking for candy. Hershey has capitalized on this motivator by offering consumers an online resource called Hershey solutions to help consumers find the candy they want in stores. They can be found on on-counter and under-counter line displays.