Valentine’s Day chocolate: for celebration and comfort in trying times

This weekend, roughly half (52%) of US adults plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and they are expected to spend approximately $21.8 billion on gifts for significant others, family, friends, children’s teachers, co-workers, pets and more, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. Almost three-quarters of those planning to celebrate believe it’s important to do so because of the pandemic, but only 24% are planning to go out.

Instead, as the National Confectioners Association (NCA) reports, most (86%) will gift chocolate and candy as 84% of Americans think that chocolate and candy are a fun part of special celebrations. “Throughout the pandemic, one thing that has remained consistent is that Americans appreciate chocolate and candy for the sense of comfort they bring during challenging times,” John Downs, NCA president & CEO, said.

The gift will often be a heart-shaped box of chocolates, the Candy Store website tells us, although, according to their research, conversation hearts are surging in popularity. In a box of chocolates, the most looked for flavors are caramel, chocolate covered nuts and chocolate-filled, according to the NCA. Recipients of a box of chocolates make their selections of individual pieces in a variety of ways, NCA survey results show. Half say they use the chart to identify and choose a piece while 31% just pick randomly. Then there are those (13%) who bite a corner or the 6% who poke the bottom to determine the flavor.

Not surprisingly, sales of candy and chocolate have seen significant increases during the months of the pandemic, and not just at the holidays. US chocolate sales in March to August 2020 were up 5.5% over the same time period in 2019 while premium chocolate bar sales were up 12.5%, according to an NCA survey. “Chocolate News” at Ecole Chocolat reports that the upward trend in US chocolate consumption is expected to continue due to population growth and the rise in purchasing power, as is the increasing demand for premium chocolate and sugar-free, organic and dark chocolate. Ecole Chocolat and other sources report that the US chocolate market is expected to exceed $20 billion by 2025.

It’s safe to assume that Americans will continue their consumption of chocolate candy – perhaps as a source of comfort or celebration, during the pandemic and beyond. With years of experience in working with CPG companies including major US candy producers such as Mars, Ferrara and Tootsie Roll, CJ Logistics America is ready to help with the work of keeping this popular product moving through the US supply chain to consumers.

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