Easter candy sales to hit $5 billion as cocoa, sugar prices rise

Chocolate Easter candy is displayed on a shelf at a Target store on March 22, 2024 in Novato, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Kroger says its customers chose a classic peanut butter-chocolate candy as their top choice for Easter.

The Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus also is a top time for candy sales. The National Confectioners Association said in a Thursday news release that Easter follows Halloween as the second-most popular holiday for purchasing candy.

Candy sales in the four weeks in advance of Easter on March 31 are expected to total $5 billion. The association says 92% of Americans who celebrate Easter do so with chocolate and candy, and 85% make Easter baskets with the sweets.

In a news release issued Friday, Kroger’s central division says its top sellers for Easter are, in order, Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Lindt Milk Chocolate Bunny, M&M’s, and Cadbury Crème Eggs. The central division includes the Indianapolis area.

In 2023, the National Confectioners Association says the top candy retailers were Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, Kroger, and Dollar General, although Aldi and Five Below had the biggest lifts in sales.

Annual chocolate and candy sales hit a record $49 billion in sales in 2023, the association says.

Sweet Easter baskets likely will come at a higher cost for consumers as the price of cocoa sits at or near a record high. Cocoa futures have roughly doubled since the start of 2024. 

Also, sugar costs more. Futures for a pound of sugar are up about 8% in 2024, after rising 2.7% in 2023, The Associated Press reported Thursday.