Predicting a $20.8 billion Easter season in 2022, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said in March that per-person spend works out to $53 on food, $28 on gifts and $27 on clothing.
Squashed in there somewhere is the number of Peeps that will be bought and consumed.
Almost too adorable to eat — but for some, too tasty to ignore — the dyed marshmallow treat is part of a candy empire not always mentioned in the same grouping as Mars, Nestlé or Hershey.
It’s Just Born, maker of Mike & Ike, Hot Tamales, Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews … and Peeps.
Considered so vital to the nation’s collective psyche that Just Born was deemed an essential business in its native Pennsylvania back in 2020, it briefly shut down production to “flatten the curve,” sending untold millions in negative sugar shock. That’s all in the past.
Just as candy corn evokes Halloween, nothing says “Easter basket” like chicks and bunnies in day-glo colors.
So important is the candy that it called for a survey.
On March 22, Just Born released results of its Peeps survey of 1,000 Americans, finding that “68% of Americans have had their first experience with Peeps by the time they were 9 years old” making it sound more like a rite of passage than an eventual trip to the dentist.
Rite of passage is overstating it, but peeps people have strong feelings — with 88% of Americans specifying “fresh” (unopened) Peeps in the survey, ensuring a “pillowy texture.”
Helicopter parents like to unbox and position Peeps in decorative arrangements, but the data says knock it off. Keep chicks and bunnies in their packaging. Think “pillowy.”
Also, 64% of Americans prefer chicks to bunnies. It’s a survey-validated fact. There are too many possible punchlines for that stat. Could be tied to the Easter Bunny somehow.
Chicks, Bunnies and Candy Money
As a retail holiday, Easter holds its own because it features candy. Smart.
The National Confectioners Association (NCA) released its 2022 State of Treating report April 6, telling candy lovers everywhere what they already knew. It’s a lip-smacking business.
Key findings tell us that candy is almost a $37 billion segment, ruled by chocolate at over $21 billion in sales last year (up over 9% from 2020), and that “78% of all adults believe it is perfectly fine to occasionally treat with chocolate or candy.”
We’ll let someone else try to define “occasionally” as it relates to candy consumption. (“Daily” is just a more frequently occurring form of “occasionally.”)
Showing how deeply engrained Easter candy is for Americans, the NCA said 40% of Americans “are connected to a store or confectionery brand on social media.”
Seeing that we’re bringing data to bear on candy, the NRF’s Easter sales outlook contained some findings that may harsh your sugar high. Yes, inflation got to candy too.
According to the NRF’s 2022 analysis, “If the price of an Easter-related item is higher than expected, 42% of consumers said they will look for it at another retailer and 31% will find an alternative like another brand or color.”
Where we buy isn’t changing, however, with 50% of shoppers favoring discount stores, 41% preferring department stores and 35% Easter shopping online this year, same as in 2021.
But this story is mostly inspired by Peeps, so in that spirit, a few closing fun factoids.
Taken directly from a list compiled by The Food Network, here’s a “did you know” moment:
- Peeps have been the best-selling nonchocolate Easter candy more than 20 years.
- Yellow is the biggest seller, followed by pink, then blue.
- When introduced in 1953, each chick took 27 hours to make by hand using a pastry tube. Today, it takes about six minutes.
- Roughly 2 billion Peeps are produced annually, enough to circle the Earth two and a half times. With Peeps.
Has NASA considered that as part of the asteroid defense plan?
A 10-mile-wide comet smashes into a double band of Peeps and instead of an extinction level event, you’ve got biggest marshmallow roast in human history. Talk about togetherness.
Happy Easter from your friends at PYMNTS.