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NATIONAL REPORT — A large number of consumers both in and out of the United States are trying to lose weight through healthy food choices, but people are still willing to treat themselves, prompting healthy growth in indulgent categories like candy, according to new data and analysis provided to Convenience Store News from Nielsen.
For the past year ended February 2015, convenience store candy sales reached $5.7 billion, making it one of the top-selling categories in the convenience channel. This marked a 4-percent increase year over year that was largely driven by novelty/seasonal candy and bagged or repacked peg candy.
Chocolate bars and bagged/repacked peg candy are the most popular products within the segment, each making up 30 percent of c-store candy sales. Seasonal candy represents 11 percent of category sales.
"We are seeing healthy growth in the convenience store bagged, repacked peg candy subcategory that we do not see in other retail channels," said Laurie Rains, Nielsen's vice president, retail consulting and analytics. "Bagged, repacked peg candy grew 14 percent year over year and that was off strong growth of 16 percent the prior year."
Nielsen data also shows the convenience channel as a whole has begun to take advantage of seasonal opportunities over the past two years, growing seasonal candy sales by 15 percent.
"Convenience stores are in a great position to catch the last-minute holiday shopper searching for a Valentine’s milk chocolate heart or Easter marshmallow bunnies," Rains noted.
Still, the convenience channel has room for more growth during the four major holidays: Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. During the four weeks leading up to Valentine's Day 2015, seasonal candy dollar sales increased by 13.8 percent in c-stores, while they grew 26 percent in the food channel and 102.8 percent in the drug channel.
Nielsen is a leading global information and measurement company.