CHICAGO — It’s no trick. Halloween season spells sweet sales for confectionery companies. Led by M&M’s and Reese’s, chocolate candy sales at U.S. retailers totaled $12.6 billion in the year ended Oct. 6, according to I.R.I., a Chicago-based market research firm. Non-chocolate candy sales totaled $7.1 billion, with Twizzlers, Skittles and Starbursts as top brands.
Among companies, Hershey Co. and Mars, Inc. lead the pack, with annual sales for its snack-size chocolate candies at $656.8 million and $541.7 million, respectively, according to I.R.I.
Infographic: A closer look at the candy category.While classic candies, such as Hershey’s Kisses, dominate category sales, the year’s top trends in emerging confectionery products include hot and spicy flavors, comfort food inspiration and bite-sized portions, according to the National Confectioners Association. Chipotle-kissed chocolate bars, red velvet-filled candies and unwrapped miniatures are among recent launches. Candy makers also are treating consumers to nontraditional ingredients, such as quinoa, and nostalgic sweets with a new spin.