ZEITGUIDE TO DISRUPTING HALLOWEEN
Sweet treats are in reach everywhere you go this time of year. Per CB Insights, candy is expected to reach $2.6 billion in sales this Halloween season alone.
While we can’t help you resist that bowl of fun-size Kit Kats, we can bring you some of the most interesting new developments and perspectives from the big business of satisfying your sweet tooth.
A Healthier Halloween
Increasingly health-conscious consumers are fueling the market for treats with a lower guilt content. There’s Unreal Brands, which sells non-GMO, organic, sustainably sourced chocolates. The company counts quarterback Tom Brady, known for his fastidious diet free of processed sugars (as well as his five Super Bowl wins and marriage to supermodel Gisele Bündchen), among its spokespeople.
The “healthy” candy space also features SNAP Infusion, whose SUPERCANDY includes electrolytes and B vitamins. There are also startups developing new sugar alternatives (including MycoTechnology’s mushroom-based “bitter blockers”), sugar-free candies (SmartSweets) and fat substitutes (Choco Finesse).
The King of Candy
Of course, unless you are lucky enough to trick or treat at the Brady-Bündchens, most of what you’ll run into this week will come from Mars, Nestle or Hershey. So, what will be your first pick when scouring through your kid’s Halloween loot Wednesday night?
Sales data from Peapod, the nation’s top online grocer, identifies five top selling candies: Kit Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Twix, Brach’s Candy Corn and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars.
FiveThirtyEight generated its own online survey to determine which candies come out on top and then compared ingredients to come up with the “perfect” candy. The verdict: “the chocolate of a Hershey bar, the nougat of a Baby Ruth, the caramel of a Milky Way, the peanut butter of a Reese’s Cup and the wafer of a Twix.”
Becoming a Candy Connoisseur
One trick to slowing down your candy binge: compare tasting notes. In The New York Times Magazine, chef, writer and star of the Netflix series Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Samin Nosrat, makes an argument for enjoying candy the way we might a bottle of wine.
“In this age of $12 chocolate bars and artisanal, well, everything, there’s great value in knowing your own palate and letting that, rather than labels or prices or marketing, guide you in the store or through a menu or wine list,” writes Nosrat.
Speaking of wine, over on Grub Street, Vanessa Price suggests some pairings for your kid’s Halloween stash. Who knew Madeira goes so well with candy corn?
A Different Sugar High
Joining the fear of razorblades and needles is paranoia about a new additive showing up in trick or treaters’ candy: marijuana. These concerns prompted the state of Washington to consider a brief ban on cannabis-infused candy ahead of the Halloween season. A year ago, Colorado banned gummy bear and other animal shaped edibles that might appeal to kids.
These treats are proving ever more popular with adults as legalization spreads. Colorado based Wana Brands, whose edible gummies are available online, is on track for $16 million in sales this year. For first time consumers, Wana founder Nancy Whiteman reiterates a common piece of advice: “Start low and go slow.”
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