Certain sweets, such as candy canes, can be indulged in, even for the health conscious consumer.
The latest national survey from the National Confectioners Association (NCA) has revealed that American’s believe that there is nothing sweeter than sharing a gift of chocolate or candy at the holidays. Some 85% of Americans are likely to share chocolate treats with loved ones this holiday season.
Those sharing a sweet treat are also embracing moderation as it relates to enjoying chocolate, candy, gum and mints this holiday season, according to the results of the NCA’s survey. Nearly 80% of parents report that they have a plan in place to help their children make smart decisions when it comes to enjoying gum drops, candy canes and other seasonal treats. More than three-quarters of Americans will include candy in Christmas stockings or gifts, and more than half will decorate their trees or packages with candy canes. NCA projects that retail sales of holiday candy in 2015 will be $1.6 billion, a boost to the U.S. economy that helps support 55,000 manufacturing jobs and hundreds of thousands of jobs in related industries.
“People understand that candy is a treat, and they are choosing to enjoy it in moderation this holiday season and all year long,” John Downs, president & CEO of the National Confectioners Association, said. “As a father of four children, I can relate to parents across the country who embrace the unique role that candy plays in family celebrations and traditions, and using the holiday as an opportunity to teach their children about the importance of moderation.”
Among all holiday candy selections, 36% of Americans prefer to find foil-wrapped chocolates included as part of a holiday gift. And chocolate Santas (46%) are preferred over chocolate snowmen (27%) or coins (27%).
When it comes to that Christmas classic, the candy cane, about 75% of Americans strongly prefer peppermint to other flavors. And, it turns out that there is a right way to eat a candy cane. More than three-quarters of Americans start with the straight end. A traditional candy cane has about 55 calories making it easy to enjoy a few this month and still practice moderation. Most people in the U.S. enjoy candy about twice per week, averaging less than 50 calories per day from confectionery items.
According to NCA’s seasonal survey, more than 90% of parents discuss or plan to discuss balance and moderation with their children relative to their candy consumption, and while most report having these conversations year-round, many use the holiday as a starting point. About one third, and nearly half of all parents surveyed, will decorate a gingerbread house or man, and 62% of respondents will bake with candy or chocolate this year.
The confectionery industry directly employs 55,000 people in the U.S., and more than 400,000 jobs in agriculture, retail, transportation and other industries rely in part on the sale of confections for their livelihood. For every job that we create in our industry we support seven more in related industries, which means that candy drives a multiplier effect of one to seven or an impact of 700%. The industry is comprised of hundreds of small and medium-size, family-owned businesses as well as the multi-national companies with global brands that operate more than 1,000 manufacturing facilities in all 50 states.