U.S. Shoppers Face Double-Digit Inflation in Candy Aisle
For the second consecutive year, American shoppers are feeling the pinch in the candy aisle as prices soar. Candy and gum prices have risen by an average of 13% this month compared to last October, surpassing the increase in all grocery prices. The exorbitant cost of candy is causing concern among consumers, prompting some to cut back on their purchases.
A small business owner, Jessica Weathers, voiced her frustration, stating that the price of candy has become outrageous. Weathers is among many Americans who will be scaling back their candy purchases due to the high prices. In fact, market research firm Numerator reports that approximately one-third of U.S. consumers plan to buy value or store brands for trick-or-treaters this year.
Several factors have contributed to the significant increase in candy prices. Weather conditions, including heavy rains and drought, have created limited production of cocoa and sugar, leading to higher prices. In addition, global sugar prices have reached 12-year highs due to monsoon rains in India and reduced output in Thailand.
Labor, packaging, and ingredient costs have also played a role in the soaring candy prices. Retailers are feeling the impact of these costs, leading them to raise prices on popular candy brands. For instance, Aldi, a popular discount supermarket chain, has increased the price of a 250-piece variety pack of Mars Inc. chocolate bars from $19.54 two years ago to $24.98.
One major player in the confectionary industry, Hershey Co., has been forced to raise its prices by 7% or more in each of the last seven quarters. This strategy, however, has not been without consequences. Hershey’s North American confectionery sales volumes fell 1% in the July-September period.
In an attempt to cater to consumers’ needs, Hershey is offering value store options and various pack sizes at different price points. Despite these efforts, some consumers may still opt for alternative, more affordable candy options this Halloween.
As Halloween approaches, many Americans are faced with the reality of significantly higher candy prices. Whether this trend continues remains to be seen, but for now, shoppers are grappling with the burden of double-digit inflation in the candy aisle.
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