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For the second Halloween in a row, US candy inflation hits double digits

Scared by the high price of Halloween candy? There’s not much relief in sight.

For the second year in a row, American shoppers are seeing double-digit inflation in the candy aisle. Prices of candy and gum have increased an average of 13% this month compared to last October, more than double the 6% increase in all food prices, according to Datasembly, a tracking tool. retail prices. This is on top of a 14% increase in candy and gum prices in October 2022.

“The price of candy has gotten outrageous,” said Jessica Weathers, a small business owner in Shiloh, Illinois. “It doesn’t make sense to me to spend $100 on candy.”

Weathers said she usually buys a lot of candy for trick-or-treating and events at school and church. But this year, she only bought two bags and plans to turn off her porch light on Halloween when she runs out.

Other consumers are changing what they buy. Numerator, a market research company, said its surveys show that about a third of U.S. consumers plan to turn to value or store brands when shopping for candy for treats this year.

The weather is the main cause of the price increase. Cocoa prices are trading at their highest level in 44 years after heavy rains in West Africa limited production during the season that began last fall. Today, El Nino conditions are making the region drier and are expected to persist into spring.

“There may be no price drops in sight, at least until the first half of 2024,” said Dan Sadler, head of customer insights at Circana, a market research firm.

Kelly Goughary, senior research analyst at Gro Intelligence, an agricultural analytics company, said Ivory Coast – which produces around 40% of the world’s cocoa – is already showing signs of one of its worst droughts since 2003 .

Meanwhile, global sugar prices are at their highest level in 12 years, Goughary said. India, the world’s second-largest sugar producer after Brazil, recently banned sugar exports for the first time in seven years after monsoon rains damaged upcoming harvests. Thai production is also declining.

These costs, combined with increased labor, packaging and ingredients like peanuts, are driving up prices for all kinds of candy.

Discount grocer Aldi is advertising a 250-count variety pack of Mars Inc. chocolate bars — including Milky Way, Twix and Snickers — for $24.98. Two years ago, the same package was advertised at $19.54.

Hershey Co. — which has raised prices by 7% or more in each of the last seven quarters — acknowledged this week that rising prices were negatively impacting demand. Hershey’s candy sales volumes in North America fell 1% between July and September.

“We know that value and affordability remain priorities for consumers as budgets are stretched,” Hershey President and CEO Michele Buck said Thursday during a conference call with investors.

Buck said Hershey is trying to meet consumers’ needs with deals at discount stores and package formats at different price points.


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