Glad or Mad About Shrinking Halloween Candy?

At the intersection of Halloween, inflation, and righteous demands to bring portion sizes under control, candy is shrinking this year. Candy prices are way up, with an average increase of 13 percent versus last year according to the U.S. Department of Labor. At the same time, candy makers are shrinking package sizes – both the hide the jump in prices and to help them claim they’re cutting calorie counts. So should we be mad or glad about shrinking Halloween candy?

A Candy Coalition Cuts Calories

So we can rationalize this as a good thing because shrinking candy portions align with a drive for more reasonable portion sizes. Writing in the Washington Post, Laura Reiley explains that the shrinkage was planned well before prices started soaring:

“But it’s also part of a years-long plan to make Americans’ treats less caloric. In 2017, Mars Wrigley, Ferrero (owner of Nestlé’s American candy business), Ferrara Candy and Lindt (which owns Ghirardelli Chocolate and Russell Stover Chocolates) joined forces to decrease calorie counts, offer a broader range of portion sizes and provide labeling that lists calories on the front of their packaging.

“The National Confectioners Association last month announced that 85 percent of chocolate and candy sold today comes in packaging that contains 200 calories or fewer per pack. And nearly 100 percent of candies sold now have front-of-pack calorie labels, up from just over half in 2016.”

Inflation Conflation at Halloween

You might say we’re seeing a bit of conflation of inflation with an impulse to rationalize serving sizes for candy. The result is shrinkflation. It’s far from certain that this will mean healthier treats or make even the tiniest dent in the upward trend of calories in the food supply. But it’s a handy way to sugar-coat the unpleasant truth of soaring prices for candy.

Click here, here, and here for more on soaring Halloween candy prices.

Halloween, photograph by Pedro J. Ferreira, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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October 26, 2022

2 Responses to “Glad or Mad About Shrinking Halloween Candy?”

  1. October 26, 2022 at 9:47 am, Allen Browne said:

    “Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker” my father’s quote of someone from the 1930’s.


  2. October 26, 2022 at 10:05 am, John DiTraglia said:

    Another consideration is packaging inflation. Smaller packages means more packaging that costs money and energy and produces trash.