Halloween without candy or chocolate? It may be a scary thought, but Hershey says a shortage of chocolate and other candy is a real possibility for trick-or-treaters and parents alike this October.
Thanks to a lagging supply chain recovery, Hershey, the famous confectioner known as one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world, warns fully stocked shelves cannot be guaranteed come Halloween 2022. What supply there is may also see a 12 percent price hike or more.
Like a host of other dilemmas, the vanishing candy supply can be blamed on the pandemic, along with the Russian war against Ukraine. Both contributed to shortages of essential confectionary supplies such as cocoa, edible oils, and other ingredients.
Producers like Hershey start churning out their Halloween candy in the spring. This year, facing a diminished ingredients supply, the chocolate giant had to choose between keeping product on the shelves or building up for the Halloween holiday. They chose to prioritize on-shelf availability.
“And so that was a choice that we needed to make,” said Hershey CEO, Michele Buck, to financial analysts. “We had the opportunity to deliver more for Halloween, but we weren’t able to supply that.”
Candy is big business, and Halloween is no exception. Americans spend a whopping $3 billion on treats every year for the event, and purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy specifically for the big fright night.
What will consumers do this Halloween if a candy shortage comes to fruition? Thanks to preservatives, one alternative is to stock up now. Or perhaps you’ll see some creative substitutes to traditional treats showing up in children’s baskets this year. Either way, a shortage of chocolate – one of our favorite comfort foods – is a spooky prospect.