Candy Ranks as Top Snack Purchased During Holiday Season

CHICAGO -- Candy ranks No. 1 as the top snack item purchased during the holidays, according to The NPD Group's newly released "SnackTrack Holiday Christmas Profile," which investigates consumers' activities, purchase behavior and attitudes during the Christmas season.

According to the NPD research report, 50 percent of adult consumers purchase candy for the holidays and 54 percent of them or their families intend to eat it. Forty-four percent of adults buy candy for gifting, and the remaining candy purchasers use it for holiday entertaining and other activities.

Regarding candy varieties, 51 percent of candy eaters consume seasonal/holiday chocolate candy, followed by candy canes, snack-size chocolate candy bars, gift box chocolates, and finally seasonal/holiday non-chocolate candy.

"Whether it's stockings stuffed with chocolates or candy canes dangling from the Christmas tree, candy is a top holiday food tradition," said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst for Chicago-based NPD. "The winter holiday period offers manufacturers and retailers incredible potential for growth, and an opportunity to differentiate brands and drive additional sales by understanding consumers' attitudes and behaviors related to candy."

Candy shoppers break the traditional rule of shopping from lists during the holiday season, according to NPD. Impulse is identified as the premier driver for 15 percent of candy/treat purchases. The report also found that women and men vary where they shop in the store for candy -- women gravitate toward the seasonal section for candy shopping whereas men favor the regular candy section.

Chips rank as the second most popular holiday snack, purchased by 38 percent of adults. Fresh fruit, purchased by 36 percent of adults, and crackers and nuts, each purchased by 31 percent of adults, round out the top five.

The NPD's "SnackTrack Holiday Christmas Profile" is based upon a pre-holiday survey, conducted Dec. 7- 23, 2011, which captured attitudes and intentions with respect to holiday plans; and a post-holiday survey, conducted between Dec. 28, 2011 and Jan. 17, 2012, which captured consumer behaviors, attitudes, motivations and consumption of snack-oriented treats.

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