The recession has forced U.S. consumers to cut back on general spending, but confectioners and chocolatiers hope to buck that trend with new seasonal products for fourth-quarter 2009 and beyond.

News outlets have reported that confectionery sales are solid, despite the sagging economy. Some have even called the candy industry “recession-proof.” That may not be the case for all confectioners and confectionery retailers, but when it comes to seasonal/holiday sales, the outlook for 2009-2010 remains optimistic.

As the year progresses, “More than ever, consumers will be looking for value,” according to a spokesperson for R.M. Palmer Co.

Manufacturers are answering that call with value-added products featuring such add-ons as toys, stickers, novelty containers and other keepsakes for kids.

“Although retailers are finding success in higher retail price points, with the difficult economy, it seems that $0.99 is very important,” adds David Plotnick, director of marketing for Ford Gum & Machine Co. To that end, Ford Gum has designed and repackaged some of its items “to emphasize the value-added approach to novelty candy,” he notes.

Although consumer spending in general is down, “People still have their routines regarding the holidays,” further notes Rob Auerbach, president of CandyRific.

Retailers no doubt are counting on these routines as they prepare for the fourth quarter of the year. Meanwhile, confectioners and chocolatiers hope to bump up sales of seasonal/holiday products in late ’09 and early ’10 with a crop of new products and line extensions for Halloween, Fall, Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Halloween 2009

Halloween isn’t just a one-night event anymore, according to MARS Snackood US, which describes the season as a time for decorating and snacking, as well as trick-or-treating. The Halloween season kicks off early, MARS adds, with 23% of consumers purchasing their candy before Oct. 1. Here, we highlight a handful of the new products those trick-or-treaters might be receiving for Halloween 2009.

Haunted Hunt Chocolate Game
The Madelaine Chocolate Co.

Organic Pure Pops

Pure Fun

Variety Mix

MARS Snackfood US

Fall 2009

Both Halloween and Thanksgiving are part of the autumnal season, but it doesn’t have to be a holiday for consumers to purchase confectionery products beyond the everyday. Fall-themed chocolates, mixes and medleys give shoppers another excuse (read: impulse buy) to treat themselves … without the trick or the tryptophan. Check out some examples.

Blueberry Hill Foods Autumn Mix
Mount Franklin Foods

Mike and Ike Autumn Medley

Just Born, Inc.

Fall Chocolate Assortment

Lake Champlain

Christmas 2009

Consumers spent $586.1 million on candy during the 2008 Christmas selling season (November and December), according to Information Resources, Inc. This year, a bevy of new products will await them, including the following yuletide introductions.

Tom and Sally's Jolly Bean Bark
Tom and Sally's Homemade Chocolates

CINNABON Candy Canes

Spangler Candy Co.


Bloomsberry & Co.

Lindt Lindor Truffles

Lindt USA

Seattle Chocolates Candy Cane Crunch

Seattle Chocolates

Brach's Peppermint Nougats

Farley's and Sathers Candy Co., Inc.

Reindeer Peeps

Just Born, Inc.

Dove Peppermint Bark

MARS Snackfood US

Carousel Snowman Lollipops

Ford Gum & Machine Co.

Holiday Mint Skittles

MARS Snackfood US

HOT TAMALES Stocking Stuffer

Just Born, Inc.

Guylian Trufflina


Fudge-Filled Lil' Angels

R.M. Palmer Co.

Valentine's Day 2010

Confectionery sales for the 2009 Valentine’s Day season were flat due to the holiday falling on a Saturday, according to a spokesperson for R.M. Palmer Co. It remains to be seen how things will shake out come 2010. Here, we glimpse a couple of new products for that seemingly far-off season.

M&M'S Valentine's Tin

Palmer Double Crisp

R.M. Palmer Co.