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New Research Shows Resiliency of the Confectionery Category


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Confectioners Association (NCA) unveiled its annual State of Treating report, offering insights to the confectionery category's resiliency during an unprecedented year.

The annual report combines shopper insights and sales results to provide a dynamic and comprehensive look at the confectionery industry and offers an integrated look at the confectionery shopper and the trends impacting purchasing patterns.

"When we debuted the 2020 State of Treating report at the beginning of March last year, we never could have imagined the tectonic shift in consumer behaviors and the retail landscape that was about to occur," John Downs, president and CEO of NCA, said. "This year's report offers an important insight: people turn to chocolate and candy as a special way of bringing us together and play a critical role in finding safe and creative ways to stay connected to those we care about."

Key trends from the report include:

  • Chocolate sales grew 4.2 percent and non-chocolate grew by 2.9 percent.
  • More than three-quarters of consumers (77 percent) feel that good emotional well-being leads to better physical health and makes it possible to enjoy life and be happier.
  • Sixty-one percent of shoppers changed up their confectionery purchasing patterns during the pandemic.
  • Forty-one percent of consumers bought more value packs with individually wrapped treats.
  • Households purchasing chocolate and candy online at least twice in 2020 increased 76 percent, and the annual online dollars per buyer increased by 14.3 percent.

"Amidst the uncertainty this year, the confectionery category has remained resilient — which is a true testament to how chocolate and candy remain an important aspect of our collective emotional well-being," Downs said. "Whether it's a quick escape for parents from the chaos of balancing work from home with virtual school, a celebration of a milestone moment or simply sending a treat to a friend from afar, chocolate and candy have helped Americans stay connected even when we couldn’t be together."

The release of the 2021 State of Treating report was made possible by Blommer Chocolate Co. and coincides with the second year of NCA's "Thrive in 2025" five-year strategic plan, which includes strengthening the association's advocacy and communications capabilities, identifying the disruptive trends of the future, and developing positive and meaningful thought leadership for the industry.

More information on the State of Treating report is available here.

Based in Washington, D.C., NCA is the trade organization that promotes the unique role of chocolate, candy, gum and mints in a happy, balanced lifestyle and the companies that make these special treats. Its membership is made up of manufacturer, broker and supplier companies.

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