The Surprising Economics Behind Candy Corn’s Price Surge

In some bittersweet news, the cost to purchase Brach’s Candy corn — synonymous with Halloween — is up 19% year-over-year, according to a recently released story in USA Today, which cited Attain’s product-level pricing data for its analysis.

At Walmart, however, Brach’s Candy corn only saw an 11% increase when compared to the previous Halloween, USA Today reported, referencing Attain data, which is sourced from a panel of 6 million permission-based users. Other candies also saw increases, such as Hershey Kisses (+6.75%) and Gummy Bears (+5.58%). But what’s behind this surge?

The Price Spike: Why?

Brach’s produces roughly 90% of the 35 million pounds of candy corn produced each year, dominating the market. Limited competition means there’s less need to lower prices to drive sales, and the 119-year-old candy giant can maintain its bottom line.

Bad weather in China, Thailand, and India has also prompted the prices for sugar, corn syrup, and other essential ingredients to surge. This naturally translated to the end product’s increased price tag. Additionally, the global supply chain is still recovering from Covid-19. Import costs, transportation, and labor shortages have all contributed to the rising costs of producing and distributing consumer packaged goods.

Candy Corn’s Surprisingly Rich History

Candy corn, first called “chicken feed,” was invented in the late 19th century, when almost half of the American labor force worked on farms. Corn wasn’t typically eaten by people until World War I, when it became a necessity because of wartime wheat shortages. Until 1950, it was marketed and sold year-round. Advertising campaigns started tying it to Halloween to boost sales, and it’s been that way ever since.

The Micro Mirroring the Macro

It’s always rewarding to see Attain’s data in action, helping analysts, businesses, and readers make sense of market fluctuations. Attain’s comprehensive pricing data provides a macro-level understanding of market dynamics, offering insights that might otherwise go unnoticed. The candy corn price rise is a classic example of how seemingly simple products are intertwined with global economic phenomena.

In addition to acting as a mirror, purchase data can also function as a crystal ball. Analyzing events such as October’s Amazon Prime Day can help predict future economics and consumer trends, as with this Bloomberg piece which looks toward the holiday season.

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