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WASHINGTON, D.C. — This holiday season, 85 percent of Americans are likely to share a gift of chocolate or candy, but they will also embrace moderation in regards to their own consumption of chocolate, candy, gum and mints, according to the National Confectioners Association's (NCA) latest national survey.
Nearly 80 percent of parents say they have a plan to help their children make smart decisions when it comes to enjoying gum drops, candy canes and other seasonal treats. At the same time, more than three-quarters of Americans plan to include candy in Christmas stockings or gifts, and more than half will decorate their trees or packages with candy canes.
The NCA projects that retail sales of holiday candy will reach $1.6 billion this year.
"People understand that candy is a treat, and they are choosing to enjoy it in moderation this holiday season and all year long," stated NCA President and CEO John Downs. "As a father of four children, I can relate to parents across the country who embrace the unique role that candy plays in family celebrations and traditions, and using the holiday as an opportunity to teach their children about the importance of moderation."
Among all holiday candy selections, 36 percent of Americans prefer to find foil-wrapped chocolates included as part of a holiday gift, while 46 percent prefer chocolate Santas vs. chocolate snowmen (27 percent) or coins (27 percent).
As for candy canes, approximately 75 percent of Americans strongly prefer peppermint to other flavors, and more than three-quarters start eating one at the straight end. A traditional candy cane has about 55 calories, making it a good choice for practicing candy moderation. Most people in the U.S. enjoy candy about twice per week, averaging less than 50 calories per day from confectionery items.
Around one-third of respondents, and nearly half of all parents surveyed, will decorate a gingerbread house or gingerbread man, and 62 percent of respondents will bake with candy or chocolate this year.
More than 90 percent of parents discuss or plan to discuss balance and moderation with their children relative to their candy consumption, the NCA found. While most indicate they have these conversations year-round, many use the holidays as a starting point.