Americans have a sweet tooth. No matter how much we try to eat healthy foods, invariably a time comes when we reach for a sugary snack to give us a quick boost of energy and flavor. Even as health-consciousness grows, candy is a top treat that is still gaining. Today, U.S. consumers spend roughly $21.5 billion on candy, and this number has grown 2% – 4% over the past five years.
The group that buys the most candy shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone – it’s families with small children. The highest volume of purchasers are parents with children under 18 years old. While parents of 3-7 year olds account for 63% of sales, as children reach teen years candy sales lower to 54%. And what types of candy are purchased the most? Chocolate! Purchases of chocolate account for $11.2 billion, while non-chocolate accounts for $6.7 billion. Candy is also in the top 10 branded categories of foods that have gained sales in the past few years.
As it gets into fall, and Halloween approaches, be ready for a top candy season. While Easter leads the way, followed by Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Halloween candy sales easily top $500 million.
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Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss candy eating habits with students. What candy do they buy, how often, etc.?
- Bring up several candy company Web sites to show the different brands and products: https://www.hersheys.com, http://www.mars.com/global/brands/chocolate, http://www.godiva.com/, http://www.lindtusa.com
- Discuss the importance of correctly identifying a target market. Although parents with children are the majority buyers of candy, there are other target markets who buy certain types of candies.
- Divide students into teams. Have each team select a different target market.
- Next, have each team design and name a new candy and determine the elements of the marketing mix: product, price, place, and promotion.
- Debrief the exercise by having the teams present their candy to the class. Quiz them on what would change if the target market were to change.
Source: Nielsen Company