Halloween may be feeling more tricky than tricky this year.
According to a recent report by S&P Global Market Intelligence, candy prices are estimated to be 14% higher than last year. That’s the highest increase since the company began tracking Halloween candy prices in 1999.
“A 14% rise in confectionery prices is by far the largest on record,” Akshat Goel, senior economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, told CNN. The projected increase this year is double the 7% increase recorded in 2008 during the financial crisis. That was the second-highest increase the company has seen.
The price increases coincide with tough economic times, and Goel noted that “the era of high inflation in the 1970s/1980s could easily have seen larger price increases”. But he added that the company has no candy pricing data going back to that period.
The higher prices shouldn’t come as a surprise. Inflation has remained stubbornly high, with an unadjusted annual rate of 8.2% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in September. Food prices have jumped even higher. In the year to September, groceries rose 11.2%, with food prices rising 13%.
Food manufacturers have been constantly increasing their prices, and confectionery manufacturers are no exception. In its 2022 financial guidance released earlier this year, Hershey said it plans to “raise list price increases across all segments.”
Still, people seem ready to shell out candy this spooky time of year. According to S&P Global, US household spending on Halloween candy is expected to reach $3.2 billion this year, up 1% from a year ago.
The National Retail Federation, which partners with Prosper Insights & Analytics on an annual Halloween consumer survey, found that 67% of respondents plan to give out candy this year, up from 66% in 2021.
Overall, NRF expects US consumers to spend a record $10.6 billion on Halloween celebrations in 2022, up from $10.1 billion last year.
However, confectionery shoppers may not find exactly what they are looking for.
In July, Hershey (HSY) said high interest in its regular candy Offers meant that the demand for Halloween items could not be met.
The chocolate maker uses the same production lines for its regular and seasonal products and has therefore not been able to increase production of its regular candy and Halloween or holiday items at the same time.
“Our strategy was to prioritize daily on-shelf availability,” CEO Michele Buck said during an analyst call over the summer. “It was a decision we had to make,” she said. “It was a difficult decision.”
For Hershey, that likely means giving way to competitors like Mars Wrigley. Makers of M&Ms and Snickers and Sour Patch Kids vendor Mondelez (MDLZ) during the Halloween season.
— CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report.