What do logistics companies and dentists have in common this time of year? They’re both seeing increased business thanks to the booming candy craze that picks up around Halloween. Fun-sized candies galore make it easy to “trick or treat yo’self” in October and beyond (50% off sales starting November 1st? Count me in)! Getting Halloween candy from the factory and smaller-batch stores to trick-or-treat bags is a fun process – and the amount of candy Americans consume and spend money on each year is much larger than fun-sized.
In 2016, it was reported that candy sales reached as high as $2.5 billion dollars. Of that, Americans spent $3.9 million on 3.5 billion chocolate bars, bags, and boxes that were under 3.5 ounces, according to the market research firm Information Resources. One of the most iconic, although widely debated, Halloween candies is the candy corn. The National Confectioners Association says 35 million pounds of candy corn and pumpkins are produced each year. Between sour, sweet, sugary, chocolatey, or gummy confections, the average household in America spends about $50 on Halloween candy each year. Overall, each person ends up eating about 24.5 pounds of candy a year, much of it during Halloween. In perspective, that’s 234 standard 1.5-ounce Kit Kat Bars, according to Mic.com. We may be overdoing it a bit.
All of that candy makes for a busy season for dentists, too. According to data from Sikka Software, app-systems installed in more than 13,000 dentist offices across the country, there was an 80 percent spike in emergency visits to the dentist in, around, and after October 2014.
If you’ve come to terms with the fact that holiday goodies are appearing on shelves earlier and earlier each year, it’s probably no surprise that shipping candy for Halloween and other holidays begins about three months before the date. That means Halloween candy is really heading to store shelves beginning in August, and a few weeks ahead of Halloween, logistics companies are right in the middle of the “Christmas Rush.” As consumers rush to buy their bags of spooky sweets to hand out, logistics companies are working with shippers, suppliers, and retailers to make sure Christmas candies are ready for stocking stuffers, and other holiday necessities.
Of course, by the time Christmas rolls around, we’re still talking candy, only this time the heart-shaped and pastel variety. The National Retail Federation says Americans spend $1.7 billion on Valentine’s candy alone. We’re talking anything from candy hearts to chocolates in large heart-shaped boxes.
Americans have a sweet tooth, and chocolate is the top seller according to Symphony IRI Group market research company. At the top of the chocolate list is good ol’ M&M’s, with 417.7 million units sold at the tune of $406.7 million dollars in 2015. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars, and Kit Kats also made the list, proving that not all candies sold throughout the year are miniature versions for trick-or-treat bags, stockings, or Easter baskets.
Shipping candy can get a little tricky, especially when the temperatures climb above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the point when delicate chocolate can begin to soften, and it can completely melt at 93 degrees. In October, average high temperatures in the U.S. are anywhere from the 50’s to the 80’s, according to the Weather Channel, so some treats still need to be temperature-controlled at points in their journey.
Most companies that ship chocolate try to limit the amount of transit time because of this delicate nature. Chocolates are best shipped during the week, avoiding weekends and holidays. Most chocolate orders that are placed after the first three or four days of the week are processed the following week to avoid warehouse time, according to “The Chocolate Journalist.” Some chocolate companies even charge more for shipping during the summer months to cover the costs of additional insulation and cooling. Larger shipments of chocolate can be made on a temperature-controlled truck, to help prolong the shelf-life of candies.
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