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America: we like our candy

America loves candy corn, dammit.

blog by Ben Kirst  • 

Who says we’re in a recession? Americans are apparently enjoying the sweet life. The Chicago Tribune reports that “...Halloween candy sales are expected to be higher this year than any time in the past decade, a treat for an industry seeing 1 to 3 percent annual growth.” Sure, a recent report for The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation notes that over half of all Americans may be obese within the next 20 years, but we’ll worry about that in 2030.

Apparently candy corn is all the rage this season, which seems a little fishy to me. Is anyone ever really happy to get a baggie full of candy corn as opposed to a mini-Snickers or even an Almond Joy? Netbase, an enterprise social intelligence platform based out of California, measured the online chatter surrounding six different candy types—Skittles, M&Ms, candy corn, Reese’s, Tootsie Rolls, and Sweetarts—and those little waxy triangles of hardened corn syrup were apparently garnering the most talk. “Candy corn generated 35 percent of the overall buzz among the six brands,” Netbase reported. “Consumers love candy corn because it’s associated with Fall and Halloween, but complain about stomach and tooth pain from eating too much of it.” As well they should.

Mars, Inc. is taking advantage of the popularity of candy corn by releasing a special, limited edition M&M flavor—white chocolate candy corn. The little guy is already a top national seller at Walgreens, where “...a 9.9-ounce package of this seasonal candy goes for $4.49 (and) a 12.6-ounce bag of plain M&M’s is 20 cents cheaper.” Big Candy Corn strikes another blow! That’s nice work by Mars, by the way, a company in second place in the national candy game. The New York Times reports:

Mars had a 37.9 percent share of the chocolate candy market in 2011, behind category leader Hershey, with a 43.3 percent share, according to Mintel, a market research firm.

The candy corn push is working—Americans reportedly purchase 20 million pounds of candy corn each year, although cumulatively, a reported $1.2 billion of the $1.9 billion spent annually on Halloween candy is, in fact, chocolate.

Now, for better or worse, Buffalo is often identified as a union-supporting city. If paying homage to your brothers and sisters in the proletariat is part of your Halloween celebration, you may want to stick to this list released by the AFL-CIO of candies made in union shops. Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger—or my right to third-party arbitration. Halloween isn’t just kid stuff, after all. Consume your candy with care and be careful with your ingestion of other, more grown-up treats. “Newly released data on individuals monitored every 30 minutes for alcohol consumption shows drinking increases 20.4 percent on a weekday Halloween,” an Alcohol Monitoring Systems study claims,  “and nearly 25 percent the weekend prior, compared to drinking the rest of the year.” Keep the keys in your goodie bag if you’ve been quaffing Dr. Frankenstein’s secret potion, and we’ll see you on All Saints’ Day.

Photo from KidsHalloweenCostumes.com.

TAGGED: halloween, lets go drinkin, surveys, trick-or-treat, unions

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