Supply Chain Shortages Are Coming for Your Halloween

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KEY POINTS

  • Hershey is warning consumers that its chocolate products may be in short supply come Halloween.
  • Those who are picky about their sweets may want to stock up well ahead of the holiday.


You may want to do your candy shopping early this year.

Last year, it was building materials, chicken, and cars (the latter of which is still a problem). Earlier this year, it was baby formula.

Supply chain shortages have been making life difficult for consumers since mid-2021, and while some are easing, new issues are still cropping up. And the latest consumer favorite to fall victim to supply chain backlogs? Candy.

Recently, famed chocolate maker Hershey issued a warning that it does not expect to be able to put enough product on the shelves to meet consumer demand for Halloween. And that's reason enough to shop for the holiday early.

Soaring demand is creating shortages

Unsurprisingly, U.S. consumers increased their candy purchases during the pandemic. (After all, nothing says comfort like a mouthful of sugary goodness.) Sales of chocolate and candy reached a record high $36.9 billion in 2021, as per the National Confectioners Association. But now, Hershey warns that it may not be able to mass produce enough candy to meet demand around the time of Halloween, when purchases are apt to increase even more.

The good news is that, so far, Hershey is the only major candy manufacturer to announce that it won't be able to meet demand. So consumers should, in theory, be able to stock up on plenty of other trick-or-treat items made by Hershey competitors.

Still, we can't rule out the possibility that more candy makers will fall victim to the same fate as Hershey. So if you're worried about there being a run on candy, or if you're particular about the type of candy you buy and are intent on loading up on Hershey products specifically, then the time to do your Halloween shopping is probably now.

Granted, Halloween may be the last thing on your mind as you're busy soaking up rays at the beach or, depending on where you live, rounding up the supplies you need to send your kids back to school. But if you don't want to face a shortfall this Halloween, it could pay to stock up on candy now -- especially if you're a big Hershey fan.

The smart way to stock up on Halloween candy

The one drawback of stocking up on Halloween candy now (besides the temptation to bust into your stash as it stares you in the face for weeks on end) is missing out on the sales that usually pop up closer to the holiday itself. So if you're going to load up on Halloween candy now, do some comparison shopping to see which retailer offers the best discount.

If you have a membership to a warehouse club like Costco, you may also want to see if you can purchase miniature candies in bulk. Costco tends to have plenty of bulk assorted candy on offer during the fall, and while it may have a smaller selection in August, it pays to give your local store a look. Buying candy in bulk could result in a smaller credit card tab overall.

Of course, you'll also want to pay attention to expiration dates. Most mass-produced candy is meant to last for months, so chances are, if you buy something that recently hit the shelves, it will last well beyond this coming Halloween. But be sure to check, because an easy way to put a damper on a child's Halloween is to give them candy that's already gone bad.

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