Halloween may offer a host of major treats, yet major industry challenges remain
There’s no escaping the fact that Halloween now represents extremely big business for the confectionery sector around the world, with the US once again leading the way in terms of the sheer variety and diversity of spooky celebrations.
As figures from the National Retail Federation have revealed, 2023’s big occasion on 31 October is anticipated to net record-breaking figures surrounding celebrations totalling $12 billion, with more than $6 billion being spent on candy and treats alone, which is precisely why manufacturers have honed in on it as such a pivotal moment in the industry’s calendar.
Notably, as a new survey from Haribo has revealed, a total of 60% of children in its latest study rated Halloween as their favourite time of year, mainly for the treats that come their way – providing they are of sufficiently high standard. It seems today’s generation of youngsters is perhaps more demanding than ever in some respects, at least when it comes to confectionery.
After the past few years dominated by pandemics, it’s refreshing to see that celebrations for Halloween have been free of Covid-19 precautions, and seemingly on track for a bigger and better range of festivities that will surely be good news for manufacturers right across the spectrum of industry.
However, it’s not all good news for the spooky season though – particularly as we reported last week, that in the US, for California at least, the prospect of a ban on red dye which is widely used in seasonal treats has set off alarm bells for the industry, which has noted that the move has in its view not been made with a view to hard scientific evidence.
Furthermore, the sector has also come under the microscope this month ahead of Halloween, with a new independent review from the Good Shopping Guide, which examined sustainable sourcing practices of over 30 key businesses in the industry. This found, in its view, that some of the biggest brands in the sector were left with significant work to do in terms of their sourcing practices surrounding the use of palm oil, as well as wider environmental and social policies – which the industry has been moving to address as we have continued to cover in the pages of our magazine, and online.
But clearly, while significant investment has collectively been made into sustainability programmes, there are still major hurdles to overcome in terms of delivering on these long-term goals of eradicating child labour, deforestation and ensuring a living wage for farmers operating on the sharp-end of the sector. These topics are all high on the agenda of the sector, which was reflected in this year’s World Confectionery Conference, yet as the results of the latest industry analysis has shown, there’s still some way to go indeed.
Neill Barston, editor, Confectionery Production
keep in touch at [email protected] via social media @confectionprod or our Linkedin pages