Halloween 2021

No panic over Halloween confectionery, says NCA

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Americans are looking forward to this year's Halloween, with candy sales up. Pic: GettyImages
Americans are looking forward to this year's Halloween, with candy sales up. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Halloween Nca

With candy sales up 48% on last year and trick-or-treating regarded as a ‘safe activity’, Americans can look forward to the holiday season despite costume shortages in some stores.

With just under a week to go before Halloween, Covid-19-related supply chain issues are still causing shortages for one of North America’s main seasonal holiday shopping weekends that experts predict will last until Christmas and beyond.

Spirit Halloween, a national retailer with 1,400 stores, told US news outlets that just 80% of the merchandise it has ordered for the season has been delivered to its stores; usually by this time in the season Spirit Halloween would have delivered 90%-plus of merchandise to its stores.

‘Super Bowl’ moment

For the US confectionery market, Halloween is a ‘Super Bowl’ moment and while there are reports of shortages for Halloween costumes and accessories, candy supplies remain robust, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

While suggesting that prices maybe higher for sweet treats this year because of the cost of raw materials, Christopher Gindlesperger, the NCA’s Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Communications, told ConfectioneryNews that what is not commonly known in the United States is that most of the Halloween candy that consumers see on the shelves is made in the country.

We have operations in all 50 states – and I think we're totalling about 1,600, manufacturing sites, so the challenge that we face is really around the gifting and seasonal packaging, as a lot of that is imported from other countries. So that's where the added expense and extended delivery times come into play.

“I think we'll probably need a little bit longer to realise and understand the full impact of the supply chain issues in this fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.”

Halloween candy sales

The NCA’s latest data, provided by IRI, and ending 4 October 2021, reveal total Halloween candy sales of $324m, which is up 48% over 2020 and nearly 60% over 2019.

Gindlesperger said, “if you break that down into chocolate and non-chocolate, Halloween chocolate sales are at $199m which is 55.5% higher than 2020 and a little over 70% higher than 2019. And then in non-chocolate, where at $124 million in retail sales, which is 31% versus the same time period in 2020 and 45% higher than the same time period in 2019​”.

With more than 82% of Americans claiming they are confident of celebrating Halloween safely this year, the holiday season has been endorsed by Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.

"I think that, particularly if you're vaccinated, you can get out there and enjoy it​," he told the media.

Grindelsberger said, “Fauci is basically saying that trick-or-treating is typically an outdoor Halloween celebration and it fits into what we know as a ‘safe activity - be outside, maintain a safe distance and of course, maintain good hand hygiene’.”

Global shortages

With Europe, and the UK in particularly, experiencing a shortage of fuel and groceries in shops, the bottleneck in the global supply chain is well documented.

America’s retail giants including Amazon, Target and Walmart are encouraging early Christmas shopping, with many retailers in the UK offering the same advice, after Nestlé said it was ‘working hard’ to keep UK shops stocked with Christmas confectionery​.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “Some of this is a bigger picture, [with] longer term issue that’s going to take years and years to address. It goes to the very foundations of how our trade works​.”

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