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Halloween Candy Prices Spike for Second Consecutive Year

by Anna

For the second year in a row, Halloween candy prices are haunting U.S. shoppers with double-digit inflation in the candy aisle. According to retail price tracker Datasembly, candy and gum prices have surged by an average of 13% this month compared to the previous October, more than double the 6% increase in overall grocery prices. This price hike follows a 14% increase in candy and gum prices in October 2022.

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Consumers, like Jessica Weathers, a small business owner from Shiloh, Illinois, are feeling the impact of these soaring candy prices. Weathers noted, “The price of candy has gotten to be outrageous,” and she plans to cut back on her candy purchases this Halloween, buying only two bags and turning off her porch light when she runs out.

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In response to the high prices, many consumers are altering their buying habits. Market research firm Numerator reports that about one-third of U.S. consumers intend to opt for value or store brands when purchasing candy for trick-or-treaters this year.

Weather conditions are a significant contributor to these elevated prices. Cocoa prices have reached 44-year highs due to limited production following heavy rains in West Africa last fall. Additionally, ongoing El Nino conditions are creating drier conditions in the region, likely to persist into the spring. Dan Sadler, principal of client insights for Circana, a market research firm, warns that “there may be no price relief in sight, at least through the first half of 2024.”

Moreover, sugar prices are at their highest in 12 years, with India and Thailand facing significant production challenges due to monsoon rains and other factors.

These rising costs, coupled with increased expenses for labor, packaging, and ingredients like peanuts, are driving up prices across various candy products. Discount grocer Aldi, for example, is advertising a 250-piece variety pack of Mars Inc. chocolate bars for $24.98, up from $19.54 two years ago.

Even industry giant Hershey Co. is grappling with the impact of higher prices. The company has raised its prices by 7% or more in each of the last seven quarters, leading to a 1% decline in North American confectionary sales volumes in the July-September period. Hershey’s President and CEO Michele Buck acknowledged the importance of affordability for consumers and stated that the company is striving to offer various price points and value store options to meet their needs.

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