Although 94% of US consumers are hoping to get candy or chocolates for Valentine's Day, single people are more than willing to buy their own sweets, according to a National Confectioners Association survey. The survey found that 43% of Americans are planning to buy a box of chocolates for themselves for Valentine's Day. "People understand that candy is a transparent and fun treat, and they are choosing to enjoy it in moderation this Valentine’s Day and all year long," said NCA President and CEO John Downs.
Chewy candies, gummies and sours led the non-chocolate candy category to a booming 3.6% sales increase in 2013, with sales growth hitting $10 billion, the NCA said. The confections are projected to grow $1.8 billion more by 2019. "Non-chocolate has been on fire through all of 2013 and now in 2014 both in seasonal and everyday sales,” said Jenn Ellek, NCA’s director of trade and marketing communications.
Confectioners in the Middle East are eager to import American candies, reports the NCA, which hosted its first USA Pavilion at Sweets Middle East in Dubai. "U.S.-made confectionery was a huge hit for buyers this year," said one U.S. manufacturer. "Everyone wants a little piece of Americana, so being under the American flag at the show not only helped us grow our sales, but satisfied the needs of consumers right now in the Gulf region."
Some 3,300 new candy products were launched last year, the NCA reports. The new products were a mix of chocolate and nonchocolate candies, with gourmet chocolate confections showing some of the strongest sales.
Candy companies continue to introduce new novel sweets, as well as twists on classic products, such as chocolate Peeps and chewy Lemonheads. "As the American palate becomes more diverse, candy manufacturers continue to reinvent the classics and introduce innovative candy creations to satisfy the most sophisticated taste buds and please the ordinary appetite," says NCA's Susan Fussell.