It may still feel like summer in most parts of the country, but spooky season is right around the corner. While grocery store candy aisles are currently well-stocked, the looming Halloween candy shortage could make it difficult to find your favorites as the holiday approaches. The Hershey Company (the largest producer of chocolate in North America, which makes Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat bars and Twizzlers, among many other popular treats) is warning that the country faces a looming shortage of chocolate candy. Halloween.
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The surprising causes of scarcity
It comes as no surprise to most people that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused production disruptions and product shortages in numerous industries, causing shoppers to scramble to find products that were once available. Now it looks like Halloween candy could be the next victim of the supply chain problems that have plagued so many other product categories.
However, what most people don’t know is that confectionery sales have increased since the start of the pandemic, with a 15.4% increase in 2020 and a further 11% increase in confectionery sales in 2021, according to the National Confectioners Association. Looks like staying home led to some sweet snacks. When combined with supply chain issues, this increased demand spells trouble for the availability of Halloween candy.
To further complicate matters, the production of chocolate candies is affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Hershey’s, for example, sources much of its equipment and ingredients from Germany, whose energy market has been hit by restrictions on Russian oil and gas imports.
Hershey’s has been working on its annual Halloween candy supply to some extent for months, with production beginning in the spring. But as ingredient shortages have developed, they have chosen to prioritize their everyday candy lineup, putting Halloween candy production on the backburner. In its second-quarter earnings statement released in July, the company said it “will not be able to fully meet consumer demand due to capacity constraints.” Statements to the press say that everyone is working at Hershey’s to try to right the ship.
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The way to store candy until the holiday season.
To avoid disappointing trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood (or even becoming the victim of Halloween pranks), it might be wise to buy Halloween candy early this year. Whether you’re shopping online or in person, your favorite seasonal treats may not be available in October.
The good news is that most types of Halloween candy are shelf-stable and last for months, so if you buy them a couple of months in advance, you won’t have to do anything special to store them. Since most Halloween candy is individually wrapped, it should stay well-preserved long after Halloween.
The only thing that’s important, especially if you live in a hot climate, is to store them in a cool, dark place, like a pantry or basement. If the temperature in your home exceeds 85 degrees, it may be wise to store the chocolate in the refrigerator to prevent it from melting. To be extra careful, place individually wrapped candies in airtight containers to prolong their shelf life.
Of course, the real struggle might be staying out of Halloween candy until Halloween.
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