Exclusive: Global Halloween confectionery celebrations taken to a supernaturally fine new level
pic: Halloween remains one of the most successful periods around the world for the confectionery sector. Pic: Shutterstock
Global celebrations for Halloween will be kicked-off in ghoulishly fine fashion this evening, with a host of confectionery playing its traditional central role in festivities around the world, reports Neill Barston.
Being one of the most eagerly anticipated dates on the US calendar, the trick or treating season reaches its ‘spooktacular’ peak tonight, with a host of big brands unearthing eerily engaging special limited edition treats that are destined to ensure memorable festivities.
As previously reported, the National Confectioners Association (NCA) studies have revealed that 93% of American residents are planning to mark Halloween, with families and friends seemingly more determined than ever to ‘go big’ on the occasion, after more than two years of pandemic conditions.
Notably, figures highlighted by the organisation showed that sales of candy leading up to last year’s spooky season topped $324 million, which was up 48% on 2020’s results, which were heavily impacted by covid conditions – but forecasts have anticipated this tally is expected to increase this year.
While Halloween remains immensely popular around the world, market expectations have varied around the world, including in the UK – which has traditionally followed in spooky steps of the US as far as celebrations are concerned. But with the cost of living crisis that has seen major retail inflation of more than 10% impact on confectionery and wider food product places, surveys have found celebrations in the region may be affected as a result.
However, it seems there’s still a huge amount of celebratory spirit from sweets and snacks fans around the world in spite of financially-challenging times, with the US leading the way, as the likes of Ferrero, Mars Wrigley (with its Twix Ghoulish Green, Snickers Ghoulish Green, and M&Ms ‘mad scientist’ mix) and Hershey with its own spooky series play their part delivering a fun-filled experience for friends and families marking the day.
Carly Schildhaus, senior public affairs manager for the NCA said: “We have seen immense enthusiasm for chocolate and candy during the 2022 Halloween season, with 93% of Americans reporting that their holiday plans include enjoying their favourite Halloween treats. We are projecting a 5% increase in chocolate and candy sales for the Halloween season this year – another sign that consumers continue to see these treats as an iconic part of their celebrations.”
As previously covered by Confectionery Production, NCA president and CEO John Downs very much supported that viewpoint, that this remains a key season for celebrating responsibly, and that this year appeared to be shaping up to be particularly special within the American market.
Among the country’s classic favourites for the season is candy corn, which has had a habit of dividing the nation, yet as the organisation noted, it holds a special place in many candy fans’ hearts. In a recent study of how best to enjoy it, 51% of respondents believed you should enjoy pieces whole, while 31% said start with the white end and only 16% its yellow section.
The distinctive triangular treats, such as those from the Nerds series, stand as the second favourite sweet for Halloween for the occasion, with only the ever-present chocolate category managing to outdo it, and gummy candy emerged as the third category.
As the NCA added, while the season remains very much one of celebration, manufacturers have been focused on their commitment to responsible enjoyment and helping consumers manage their sugar intake by providing more transparency, choice and portion guidance options.
This has been reflected in the fact 85% of chocolate for the region’s market now comes in packaging that contains 200 calories or less per pack. That number includes individually wrapped products or multipacks that contain smaller packages inside – the perfect size for the 97% of Americans who say they welcome trick-or-treaters with chocolate and candy.
According to analysis from US retailer Kroger, Hershey brand Reese’s peanut butter cups emerged as the nation’s favourite sweet treat for Halloween, though its bar range (below) has also remained a big seller.
For its part, Ferrero’s big annual contribution to seasonal delights in the US has been its 31 days of Halloween calendar, packed full of tasty chocolate treats, with this year’s example adding to the company’s reputation for delivering spooky offerings, matched by a community engagement programme to donate to children’s charitable causes.
There were plenty of other brands operating in the region keen to make their mark on the season, including Florestal USA, a division of a key Brazilian confectionery group.
Among its core spooky releases is its Stick Bruxolita candy, already successful in its long, stretchy version, presents the brand’s newest member, a 5 g chewy candy, with a double twist, having arrived to win over consumers.
The Bruxolita Q’Pinta candy is now on the market in a rectangular format, like other chewy candies from the company, with an individual weight of 5 g, in a delicious blue, tutti-frutti flavour taffy, which, when chewed, paints your mouth blue. Its packaging layout receives the same colours and print as the familiar stretchy candy, against a blue background, with illustration of the charismatic character “Bruxinha” on her magic broom. It has been made available in units of 100, promising 500g of flavour and fun.
For its part, Barry Callebaut has engaged in US celebrations, led by its American headquarters in Chicago, where it was a lead sponsor of the city’s third annual “Halloweek” Halloween festivities and the Arts in the Dark parade.
These celebrations brought together departments, corporations, and community-based organisations to plan Halloween-related activities for residents of all ages.
As the company revealed, the parade celebrated Halloween as the “artist’s holiday” and featured cultural organisations and artists from every corner of the city. It was a magical evening of spectacle puppets, music, dancing, and fire spinners, all set against the backdrop of historic State Street. As a special treat before the parade, Barry Callebaut ambassadors were joined by Dancing Trick-or-Treaters who brought the theme of Chicago’s “Year of Dance” to life. The company also donated thousands of pounds of candy to sweeten the experience. (pictured below are Barry Callebaut Americas’ CEO and President Steve Woolley (left) andCity of Chicago Mayor Lori E. LIghtfoot.
The company also hosted a special reception to kick off Halloween at its Chicago base, attended by the City of Chicago First Lady Amy Eshleman, civic leaders, local performing artists and community partners.
“Barry Callebaut is very proud to partner with the City of Chicago to support Halloweek. The Arts in the Dark Parade is an iconic occasion in our city which engages our youth, represents all of our diverse communities, and celebrates our vibrant spirit,” Steve Woolley, CEO and President of Region Americas of Barry Callebaut, said. “We were glad to add moments of chocolate joy to this year’s celebration. Chicago has been home to Barry Callebaut for 15 years and we are so honoured to be a part of this true Chicago experience.”
While the US has enjoyed plenty of fanfare for its launches, the UK has also done its bit to ensure there are plenty of spooky goings-on this evening for trick-or-treaters
Among new releases is Bebeto’s Spooky Mix, a brand new 150g sharing bag targeting the Halloween opportunity, containing a selection of fun, Halloween-shaped soft fruity gummies, is the latest launch from Bebeto, the leading confectionery challenger brand from Kervan Gida UK. These tasty treats are a limited seasonal addition to the ever-so popular and successful Bebeto Gummies 150g sharing bags range which includes: Fizzy Watermelons, Big Fizzy Mix, Strawberries and Big Mix (as seen on TV last year).
Bebeto Spooky Mix are free from artificial colours and flavours, are vegan approved by the vegetarian society, and are halal certified. Each pack of spooky-shaped gummies contains four deliciously fruity flavours; blackcurrant, apple, orange, and strawberry. Bebeto Spooky Mix is available now, RRP £1, from Asda and CJ Lang (selected Spar Stores).
Another prominent UK launch comes from Soreen, which returns with its special limited-edition Halloween Scream multipack, with their new flavoured Cherry Jellies Mini Loaves, packed full of spooky enjoyment.
The ‘Cherry-fying’ Jellies are loaded with chopped cherry flavoured jellies, and there’s also a surprise jelly centre to delight the taste buds with all kinds of treats – or is maybe even a trick! In addition, the company is also delivering a terryifying Toffee Apple Scream flavour, which is bursting with apple and gooey flavoured toffee pieces, designed as a healthy Halloween snack.
“Back by popular demand, our Halloween range features a NEW Cherry Jellies flavour to delight our fans with highly impressive health credentials. The beauty of these snacks for parents is that they are delicious and treat-like for children, but also highly convenient as they are HFSS compliant, a great source of fibre and low in saturated fat. Therefore, an ideal healthy treat and a great alternative to sweets over the Halloween period. Plus, as they’re vegan friendly they can also be enjoyed by those who need to follow a dairy free diet,” explained Liz Jacobs, the company’s marketing director.
Finally, not wishing to miss out on some spectacular global Halloween celebrations, UK-based online sweets retailer Randalls UK, which has specialised in importing some of the globe’s most intriguing treats, has recently stocked up on what are sure to be a key favourite tonight – KitKat Witches Brew snacks. Clearly the competition for the spookiest sweet treat has now been taken to a whole new super spooky impressive level.