“During the holiday season, Americans will both share and gift candy as they enjoy their favorite wintertime treats in moderation. In recognition of this, National Confectioners Association President and CEO John Downs recently answered questions related to the role that chocolate, candy, gum and mints can play in holiday traditions and celebrations,” Convenience Store News reports.

“Candy plays a special role in important holiday traditions, and accordingly, 85 percent of Americans say they will likely give someone a gift of sweet treats this holiday season. Candy canes, gumdrop-adorned gingerbread houses and chocolate coins in particular are synonymous with the holiday season.”

And 21.7% will be getting it from their local candy shops! The most recent AudienceSCAN study found nearly 22% of Americans intend/expect to purchase products/services from candy or chocolate shops in-person or online during the next 12 months.

“However, this doesn’t mean that consumers will overdo it on sugar consumption during the holidays.”

“Consumers understand the unique role that confections can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle and they choose to enjoy candy in moderation,” Downs said. “A traditional candy cane has just 55 calories, making it an easy treat to enjoy this month and still practice moderation.”

Confectioners could feature candy canes and “lighter” treats in newspaper ads. AudienceSCAN data suggests it will go over well. 31.4% of Candy/Chocolate Shop Shoppers took action in the past month after they read Newspaper (print, online, mobile or tablet) ads.

“Most people in the United States enjoy candy two to three times per week, averaging about 40 calories per day and approximately one teaspoon of added sugar per day from confectionery items. Candy accounts for less than 2 percent of the average American’s overall caloric intake, according to the NCA.”

“It’s also interesting to note that more than 90 percent of parents discuss or plan to discuss balance and moderation with their children relative to their candy consumption. While most parents report having these conversations year-round, many use the holidays as a conversation starter,” he added.

Advertisers can help get the conversation started with their marketing. AudienceSCAN reported 29.5% of Candy Shop Shoppers have kids aged 2-9 at home.

“Candy companies embrace the holidays as a time of both nostalgia and looking ahead to a new year, according to Downs. They offer longstanding favorite treats while embracing innovation in products and packaging, making a wide variety of options that includes fun holiday designs available in packages ranging from fun size to share size.”

Chocolatiers can target chocolate shoppers at local holiday events. According to AudienceSCAN data, 25.1% of Chocolate Shop Shoppers will attend holiday parades and 19.7% will attend holiday/Christmas expos.

“When it comes to favorite holiday treats, three out of four Americans report that the traditional peppermint flavor is their favorite variety of candy cane.”

“Beyond the classic candy cane, 36 percent of Americans prefer to find foil-wrapped chocolates included as part of a holiday gift,” Downs said. “Of those that enjoy receiving gifts of chocolate, nearly half prefer chocolate Santas, while about a quarter each like chocolate snowmen or chocolate coins best.”

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.