Halloween is just around the corner, kicking off the holiday season for the food industry. However, there’s some uncertainty as to how this year’s socially distanced festivities will play out—including trick-or-treating.
How will confectioners face the challenge of a pandemic-style Halloween? For starters, here’s what the National Confectioners Association is reporting.
- 96% of parents plan to celebrate Halloween this year.
- 65% will participate in trick-or-treating.
- Total Halloween chocolate and candy sales are up 8.6% as of October 4, 2020.
Confectioners are blazing ahead for the holidays, proving they’re not afraid to change directions to make the holidays happen. Let’s see what they’re up to.
Halloween treats do a flavor pivot
To get consumers excited about buying Halloween snacks and chocolate, companies have quickly revamped traditional treats with fun new flavors.
For instance, snack maker Sun-Maid is giving its raisins a Halloween flavor makeover. The treat that’s often sidelined over chocolate and candy will get tasty new coatings of chocolate- and peanut butter-flavored yogurt.
For peanut or dairy-sensitive young trick-or-treaters, the dried-fruit company is launching Strawberry- and Blue-Raspberry sour-coated raisins. And to complete the updated snack, the raisins will come in snazzy glow-in-the-dark packaging.
Chocolate gets a spooky hue
On the chocolate front, Hershey Co. is giving its Halloween chocolate a color lift—from green-themed Reese’s Franken Cups to Kit Kat Witch’s Brew with marshmallow and green crème.
The company is counting on the historical trend where “50% of Halloween candy spend is on ‘treat for me’ and candy bowl occasions,” said Hershey Co.’s CEO, Michele G.Buck, back in July. Buck also noted that “Trick-or-treating represents the other 50% of the season with sales concentrated in the last two weeks of October.”
Given that Halloween is about a week away, how are Halloween chocolate sales doing? They’re up 12.2%, reports the NCA.
That said, getting candy to trick-or-treaters is posing a new challenge this year.
The CDC issued guidelines for this Halloween to ensure people stay safe. One of the ‘higher risk’ activities people should avoid is “participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door,” says the CDC.
For innovative confectioners, no problem!
Trick-or-treating goes high-tech
For young trick-or-treaters staying at home on Halloween night, candy-maker Reese’s is bringing treats to homes via robot—a door-shaped robot to be exact.
The robot door will cruise neighborhoods complete with smoke, lights, and spooky sounds. When the remote-controlled portal arrives, kids can summon candy by saying “trick or treat.”
The nine-foot-tall door will then dispense Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups through a mail slot.
However, just in case the ‘magic’ door doesn’t make it to every neighborhood, another confectioner, Mars Wrigley, has a virtual trick-or-trick option.
The company behind M&Ms, Skittles, and Twix recently launched the ultra-social distancing version of trick-or-treating called Treat Town.
App-based Treat Town allows users to deck out online doors and give virtual candy (as in credits) to trick-or-treaters. Kids can drop by their friends’ and family’s virtual doors, collect their treats, then redeem the candy credits online or at a real store.
Halloween 2020 revamped — ‘not canceled’
Candy and snack manufacturers have set the holiday season in motion, paving the way with innovative thinking and quick action.
But it appears that consumers are also invested in making Halloween happen. One trick-or-treater wrote to his governor, stating that, first of all, Halloween should not be canceled.
Then he offered a solution: Give out king-sized candy bars.
The nine-year-old’s rationale for giving trick-or-treaters one full-size candy bar is that it reduces time spent touching candy in the candy bowl as kids dig for two or three pieces.
Fast-pivoting, innovative confectioners just might agree.
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