Those treat bowls at your neighbor’s door might be a bit sparse this year, or at least void of the good stuff.
Candy makers and economists say historically high inflation is driving up the cost of sugar, milk, and flour, impacting the cost of Halloween candy this year. After two years of families being scared to send kiddos out door to door in pandemic shutdowns, participation this year is expected to be high, but it will cost. The U.S. Labor Department pegs the inflation of sweets at 13% over a year ago, the biggest increase since 1999. Snickers is showing the biggest jump at 14% price increase over last year.
The increase is in keeping with the inflation of grocery prices overall. Currently, inflation stands at a 40-year high of 8.2%. The most recent Consumer Price Index from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the “food at home,” or grocery, index rose 13% over the last 12 months. When inflation for milk, sugar, and flour is isolated, the inflation rate jumps to nearly 16% over last year.
According to Datasembly’s Grocery Price™ Index, candy was one of the biggest jumps in cost this quarter alone, up 7.6%, largely due to increasing costs for ingredients and labor.
With just two weeks to go until the 2022 midterm elections, campaigns are not letting a good news hook go to waste. The price list of some of the most popular candies is making the rounds on GOP Twitter accounts nationwide, including N.C.’s U.S. Senate candidate, Rep. Ted Budd, to drive home the impact of inflation on families.
On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is trying to connect the price of a candy bar to profit margins for candy companies. However, the Wall Street Journal says that much of the wealth accumulated during the pandemic was due to rising stock prices, not increases in price of goods. The Hershey company said they have absorbed the increase in costs recently, and have not raised prices since June.
However, the overall cost of groceries is hitting all families hard, particularly as the holiday planning gets underway. CNBC cites BLS.gov showing that prices for eggs and butter, critical in holiday baking, have increased 39% and 24% respectively since this time last year.
The National Retail Federation anticipates that families will still likely spend Halloween money, even if it hurts. Total Halloween spending is expected to reach a record $10.6 billion, exceeding last year’s record of $10.1 billion.