Candy Sales Up in Recession

September 24, 2009 at 9:16 pm 4 comments

San Francisco Chronicle reported this week that candy sales are strong in California, even as unemployment tops 12%. The Candy Store, on Vallejo Street, reports surging demand for nostalgia candies. Meanwhile, purveyors of high end chocolates are seeing a drop in demand.

We saw a similar story reported from New York last spring, as the economy showed signs of failure to recover in the wake of the bail-out and stimulus plan. Economy Candy, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, couldn’t keep the shelves stocked.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a connection between hard times and candy eating. American candy consumption grew faster during the Great Depression of the 1930s than at any other time in the twentieth century. For some, candy bars were more than just a treat. The Depression gave us such memorable but long-gone candy bars as: Chicken Dinner, Chicken Bone, Denver Sandwich, and Idaho Spud. A chicken dinner might be out of a hungry man’s reach, but a Chicken Dinner could take the edge off. Many of today’s favorite confections were launched during the Depression, including Snickers, Mars with Almonds, and Three Musketeers.

The turn to candy when things are rough isn’t so surprising. Candy is sweet, it tastes good, it’s simple, it connects to less complicated times. And sugar has pain-reducing properties, which might help too in these hard times.

Sources:Candy sales strong despite recession, Robert Selna. San Fransico Chronicle, 23 Sept. 2009;When Economy Sours, Tootsie Rolls Soothe Souls, Christine Haughney. New York Times, 23 March 23 200; Joel Glenn Brenner, The Emporers of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars (1999)

Entry filed under: Candies We Miss, Candy Nostalgia, Current Candy News, Economy, Uncategorized, WWI to WWII. Tags: , , , , , , , .

La Cellophane The Chocolate Cure

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. blissbait  |  September 24, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    well i believe it!
    i just did a sugar dance!
    my body’s in shock…:)

    Thank You and Cheers!

    • 2. candyprofessor  |  September 24, 2009 at 10:56 pm

      Thank YOU! I hope after your exhausting sugar dance you get a chance to rest and refuel with…MORE CANDY!!!

  • 3. annelise  |  March 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    The Idaho Spud, I believe, is not “long gone.” Steve Almond visited the factory as related in “Candyfreak” and they have a current website up!

    Great website, thank you! I would love to explore every corner…

    • 4. CandyProfessor  |  March 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      Oh, thanks so much for saving the Idaho Spud from premature rumors of its demise! Indeed, you are right, as I discovered at the website of Owyhee Idaho Candy Company of Boise, Idaho, since 1901 and very much with us. Makers of Idaho Spud, Old Faithful, and Cherry Cocktail. Now, if only I could TASTE one of those elusive candies….


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Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

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Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

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