COVID-19 impacts on the U.S. chocolate industry were affected by trends for both health and indulgence, with many consumers turning to comfort foods and extended seasonal and holiday celebrations to cope with the disappointments of the pandemic. 2020 turned out to be a banner year for the market, with sales growth of 12% pushing chocolate sales to $27 billion, as reported by Packaged Facts’ just released Chocolate Candy: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities.
Packaged Facts projects that sales will decelerate over the next five years, although the pandemic boom of chocolate sales in 2020 and 2021 will affect the market for years to come.
One-fourth of consumers report they have or will extend seasonal celebrations compared to pre-pandemic behavior during the pandemic, and some of these trends may stick. In 2020 and 2021, seasonal treats have been available at stores earlier than normal ahead of the holidays in many cases.