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As in years past, the total chocolate candy category saw slight single-digit dollar sales gains for 2003, according to both ACNielsen and Information Resources Inc. data. Americans especially loved their chocolate breaks with chocolate candy bars less than 3.5 ounces, as well as with chocolate candy boxes/bags/bars greater than 3.5 ounces. Both sub-groups saw decent dollar sales gains around the 7-8 percent mark--actually their highest growth by far of the past four years, according to IRI.
While snack-size chocolate candy remained fairly flat, gift box chocolate candy saw a slight loss of around 5 percent--although less of a loss than the previous year, according to IRI.
Chocolate is the driver of growth, especially at the front end, in the candy/gum/mint universe. Not only is it outpacing overall category growth--it is growing faster than non-chocolate, gum and mints.
The most important thing for retailers of chocolate candy to know may seem fairly obvious to those who indulge in the sweet brown stuff themselves: Americans want their chocolate and most want to indulge in at least a little piece …