In the early 1900s, the candy industry was starting to see big sales around Christmas and Easter. But there was a gaping hole in the fall sales season. So industry leaders hatched a plan in 1916 to boost profits in October.
They concocted a holiday called (not so subtly) “Candy Day.” The Atlantic wrote an article all about Candy Day in 2010, and the publication unearthed some interesting materials from the National Confectioners Association, including these little ditties from 1916:
- The only motive of the [NCA Executive Committee] is to aid every Manufacturer, Jobber and Retailer in increasing his profits through increased sales on “Candy Day.” …
It’s simply asking you if you want to make some extra money, and if you do, you are requested to go ahead and push this “Candy Day” idea.
“There’s no getting around it. Candy Day was an entirely invented holiday with one purpose: to sell candy,” the Atlantic concluded. Alas, Candy Day never really took off, not even after it was re-christened (again, not so subtly) “Sweetest Day” in 1921.
But confectioners still had Halloween to fall back on and they focused promotional efforts there until candy became widely recognized as the only acceptable treat in the 1970s. And boy did NCA’s efforts help “every Manufacturer, Jobber, and Retailer in increasing his profits through increased sales.”
Check out the steady climb in sales in just the past 10 years, according to data we found on the NCA website:
- 2015: $2.6 billion (est.)
2014: $2.5 billion
2013: $2.39 billion
2012: $2.37 billion
2011: $2.36 billion
2010: $2.29 billion
2009: $2.23 billion
2008: $2.21 billion
2007: $2.2 billion
2006: $2.15 billion
2005: $2.09 billion
That’s a lot of candy, and a lot of profit for confectioners. Hopefully lawmakers will remember that when NCA and other sugar policy opponents trot out their annual anti-farmer propaganda.
Don’t be tricked. Big Candy is being treated with some scary profits. And none of it would be possible without America’s sugar farmers.