Salmonella could be a health risk in raw chocolate, according to the National Confectioners Association. While raw chocolate is not legally classified, many manufacturers produce it using temperatures below 42°C and without roasting the cocoa beans, which could also mean Salmonella is not destroyed. The NCA suggests manufactures institute measures to eradicate Salmonella in raw chocolate.
Halloween confectionery sales grew 3.8% over last year to $4 billion, far outpacing NCA's estimate of 1% growth, driven largely by strong promotions and merchandising. Chocolate, which accounted for 55% of sales, grew 5.2% and non-chocolate candy, with 33% of the sales, grew 4.9%. NCA's Larry Wilson recommends that retailers set up displays early to garner repeat sales. And the fact that Halloween 2014 will fall on a Friday, "that's big for Halloween. That means not only trick-or-treating and maybe later trick-or-treating; it also means a lot of parties," Wilson said.
Even though many people vow to give up chocolate during Lent, "Lent doesn't have an overall effect on the sale of chocolate," said NCA's Susan Whiteside. One reason is the strength of Easter candy sales. "Based on polls, the most popular Easter candy is the chocolate bunny," Whiteside said. "Then come chocolate eggs, jelly beans and marshmallow candy such as Peeps."
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.