Easter chocolate NPD 2017: Hershey, Cadbury, M&M’s and Godiva

Confectionery companies are expecting stronger Easter sales this year due to a longer  holiday season. Photo: ©iStock/Maya23K

ConfectioneryNews highlights new items from Hershey, Cadbury, Mars and Godiva for Easter, a major contributor to overall US candy sales. 

Earlier IRI data shows Easter contributed $3.58bn to total US candy sales in 2015, compared to Valentine’s Day that posted $2.8bn; Halloween, $4.2bn; and Christmas, $4.38bn. These four major holiday seasons accounted for nearly half of the annual US candy sales.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects Easter spending to reach record levels in the US this year with an average spend of $152 per person, up 4% from last year. 

According to its survey, 89% of US consumers plan to buy candy for the holiday season and forecasts $2.6bn will be spent on Easter candy.

Taking advantage of a longer Easter

Companies, such as Hershey and Mars, have had more than two months to introduce and promote new products and innovations with the holiday falling on April 16, approximately three weeks later than last year.

“Candy and chocolate have a huge buzz around Easter with Easter baskets and candy dishes. Hershey continues to break the seasonal item mold with new innovations in flavors, sizes and shapes,” a Hershey’s spokesperson said.

Mars also commented in a statement: “Sales of Mars Chocolate brands are sure to take a leap as research shows that for every additional week in the season, retailers can expect to sell 5% to 7% more chocolate.”

Easter trends

The M&M’s maker also pointed out some of the latest Easter trends based on Nielsen data. The data shows that the Easter decorating and snacking segment accounts for 46% of dollar sales for the season, while medium bags account for nearly half of decorating and snacking sales, and extra-large bags saw the fastest growth.

In addition, gifting sales grew in 2016 and now account for 20.7% of Easter chocolate dollar sales. 

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