Hard Times Sweetened by Candy

As the global recession seems to drag on and on candy consumption, which peaked in the U.S. at the height of the recession, continues unabated. It seems that stress and difficult times are inducement for candy consuming comfort. That’s good news for candy suppliers who have experienced across the board sales increases since 2009. Candy pundits attribute the rise to the benefits of candy as an inexpensive comfort food.

Interestingly the last big candy boom was during the depression of the 1930s which certainly supports the idea that when times are tough people eat more candy. The great depression also prompted the creation of a number of popular confections which remain favorites today such as Snickers, Tootsie Pops, Mars bars with almonds and Three Musketeers, all created in the early 1930s. Pretzel filled M&Ms have just been introduced and it will be interesting to see if the world will enjoy another candy creation boom.

Many professionals, especially in the world of business are using candy to assuage battle worn customers, clients and employees. Some professionals who have always had candy available to visitors are finding they have to fill their candy bowls significantly more often. When it comes to comfort candy, traditional candy is the most popular. The nostalgia of childhood candy, like hard candy and gumballs, (coupled with the expense of gourmet products) make these the ones people crave most in a recession and during hard times.

The benefit of candy isn’t just rooted in nostalgia and fond memories. Chocolate, licorice and other ingredients in candy do raise endorphin and serotonin levels in the people who eat them. Raised endorphin and serotonin levels equal increased happy feelings and mood. Some candy makers won’t use fructose corn syrup because they say it is bad for the brain neurotransmitters that carry the happy hormones.

Some studies have shown that difficult times increase sales in other indulgences like alcohol and cigarettes. Next to these, candy appears to be an excellent and fulfilling alternative for relieving stress and lightening the mood. Plus, there is no SIN tax on candy!

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