The Easter weekend is springing with activity in themed food and beverage launches, including jellybean ham, “24-carrot gold” ice cream and Peeps marshmallow-flavored desserts. Reflecting the annual spike in demand for indulgent festive treats, approximately 91% of US citizens plan to share their favorite confectionery treats with loved ones this Easter, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA).
On average, the NCA reports that the US confectionery industry draws in profits of US$4 billion this time of year which is expected to be up to 7% higher this Easter season.
This builds off the “record-setting sales” of 2021 as a result of a longer lead-up to the holiday and consumer enthusiasm for extending seasonal celebrations.
“Many traditions during the Easter season give Americans a chance to celebrate spring with their family, friends and loved ones – something many of us are craving after countless special moments and holidays apart,” says John Downs, president and CEO, NCA.
The type of candy included in Easter baskets varies widely. Around 44% say the best Easter treats are chocolate eggs and bunnies, while 20% prefer jelly beans in their Easter baskets.
Meanwhile, candy-coated eggs (18%) and marshmallow candies (15%) round out the top four favorite Easter basket items.
Season of emotional well-being
NCA’s 2022 State of Treating report shows consumers turn to confectionery during seasonal celebrations like Easter to share their enthusiasm with loved ones and support their emotional well-being, with 72% of consumers saying they feel their physical health and emotional well-being are connected.
According to the NCA, 84% of respondents confirm that chocolate and candy are a fun and important part of special celebrations and traditions like Easter. People in the US enjoy chocolate and candy two to three times a week, averaging 40 calories a day.
“Sharing a little bit of confectionery is a time-honored tradition this time of year and an important consideration for consumers when purchasing chocolate and candy,” says Downs.
NCA created Easter Central, a digital hub for holiday tips and treating tricks to provide US consumers with more fun facts and information during Easter.
Candied ham for Easter brunch
Many brands are shooting for something inventive this Easter. For example, Reynolds Wrap – the brand that created wacky Thanksgiving turkeys with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos – has combined the Easter brunch centerpiece, ham, with sweet candy.
The candied hams range includes three sweet, colorful candied ham recipes that incorporate classic, nostalgia-inducing seasonal candies. The striking springtime recipes include a jelly bean ham, sour candy ham and marshmallow ham.
The jelly bean ham is glazed with various jelly bean flavors and paired with three-dimensional pastel jelly beans. It can be baked using the company’s non-stick foil. The sour candy ham features a vibrant rainbow-colored sour candy with extra-tart flavor from citrus lemonade glaze. The marshmallow ham is coated in marshmallow fluff and lined with sugar-coated bunny treats.
“Easter brunch is an occasion that calls for both savory and sweet and we wanted to bring those two tastes together for those who just can’t choose one,” says Lisa Giardina, senior brand manager, Reynolds Consumer Products.
It’s raining chocolate
Luxurious chocolate brand MarieBelle Chocolates debuted their Easter 2022 Chocolate Collection featuring their signature artisanal ganache collections. These include eggs with milk pearls nestled in a Spring box accented with a butterfly motif and the classic double bunnies lunch box.
Also available this season are the chocolate eggs oval box, the mixed chocolate bites and the box set complete with a milk chocolate egg, a dark chocolate egg, a milk chocolate bunny and a two-piece tote box with dark and passion fruit ganache.
The McCormick brand launched a new batch of Easter recipes, including a golden carrot Easter recipe, “24-carrot gold” ice cream with cookie crumble. The digital collection features 24 recipes. In addition to the host of recipes and crafts is the digital hunt for the golden recipe.
Weighing nearly 600 g, the carrot features a 14-karat solid gold interior, plated in 24-karat gold, and is custom made by Ben Baller (Ben Yang) and Slauson Steve (Steve Her)’s company IF & Co. The celebrity brand created many pieces for the hip-hop community and young Hollywood, such as Drake, Justin Bieber and the Kardashians.
Serendipity3 restaurant, a mainstay of New York City and Jelly Belly Candy Company have created Frrrozen Hot Chocolate incorporating the candy brand into the signature menu item. Jelly Belly Jewel Spring Mix Ube Frrrozen Hot Chocolate features a bedazzled goblet filled with white chocolate infused with Ube, a creamy sweet derived from the purple yam.
The restaurant has served nearly 30 million of its signature menu item, the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, an iconic blend of 14 exotic cocos. It has a celebrity following, including Cher, Kim Kardashian and the Hilton family, among others.
The Peeps brand has teamed up with its partners to bring its Marshmallow Chicks and Bunnies to fans featuring new lavender, orange and green Peeps bunnies, a giant bunny and brand-inspired accessories.
Cold Stone Creamery will offer indulgent treats with Peeps marshmallow-flavored ice cream, creation and shake made with whipped topping and blue sugar crystals and topped with a yellow marshmallow chick.
By Inga de Jong
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