Halloween candy prices soar

Halloween may feel more like trick than treat this year.

Candy prices are estimated to be 14% higher than last year, according to a recent report from S&P Global Market Intelligence. That’s the highest increase since the firm started tracking Halloween candy prices in 1999.

“A 14% increase in candy prices is the largest on record by a significant margin,” Akshat Goel, senior economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, told CNN. This year’s projected bump is twice the 7% jump recorded in 2008, during the financial crisis. That was the next highest increase tracked by the firm.

The price increases coincide with difficult economic periods, and Goel noted that “the high inflation era of 1970s/1980s could easily have seen larger price increases.” But he added that the firm doesn’t have candy price data that tracks back to that period.

The higher prices should come as no surprise. Inflation has remained stubbornly high, with an unadjusted annual rate of 8.2% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in September. Food prices have jumped even higher. In the year through September, food got 11.2% more expensive, with grocery prices spiking 13%.

Food manufacturers have been steadily raising their prices, and candy makers are no exception. In its 2022 financial forecast shared early this year, Hershey said that it was planning to raise“list price increases across all segments.”

Even so, people seem to be willing to shell out for candy this spooky season. Household spending on Halloween candy in the US is expected to hit $3.2 billion this year, according to S&P Global, a 1% increase over last year.

The National Retail Federation, which partners with Prosper Insights & Analytics on an annual Halloween Consumer survey, found that 67% of respondents planned to hand out candy this year, up from 66% in 2021.

Overall, the NRF expects US consumers to spend a record $10.6 billion on Halloween celebrations in 2022, up from $10.1 billion last year.

Candy shoppers might not find exactly what they’re looking for, however.

In July, Hershey
(HSY) said that high interest in its regular candy offerings meant it wouldn’t be able to meet demand for Halloween items.

The chocolate maker uses the same manufacturing lines for its regular and seasonal products, and as a result was unable to amp up production of its regular sweets and Halloween or holiday items simultaneously.

“We had a strategy of prioritizing everyday on-shelf availability,” CEO Michele Buck said during an analyst call over the summer. “That was a choice that we needed to make,” she said. “It was a tough decision.”

For Hershey, that likely means ceding ground to competitors such as Mars Wrigley, maker of M&Ms and Snickers, and Sour Patch Kids seller Mondelez
(MDLZ) during the Halloween season.

-— CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report.


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