A new survey found most Canadians shopping for Halloween candy this year will look for sweet treats they would eat themselves before factoring in price.
Researchers at Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab surveyed over 5,000 Canadians and found that 62 per cent of respondents chose candy for trick-or-treaters that they themselves would also enjoy. While 52 per cent said they consider the cost of the candy first before purchasing.
Provinces west of Quebec listed candy they actually like to eat as the most important criteria when shopping. Those east of Ontario would consider the cost of the candy first, including 75 per cent of people in Newfoundland, 59 per cent in Nova Scotia, 58 per cent in PEI, 57 per cent in New Brunswick and 52 per cent in Quebec.
Most Canadians said they preferred to shop at big-box stores like Walmart and Costco, with discount grocery stores being the third preferred option. Additionally, 67 per cent of respondents said they eat their leftover Halloween candy.
Sylvain Charlebois, the director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab, says while food prices have been high in recent months, most Canadians seem optimistic about the upcoming holidays since this is the first year for many being allowed to celebrate Halloween since the pandemic.
“This is a unique year because it’s the first weekday Halloween in three years and of course it’s the first Halloween with little or no public health restrictions,” Charlebois told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview on Tuesday. “It’ll be interesting to see exactly how many kids are out trick or treating, but based on our results, the expectations are quite high,” he said.
Since 2020, Canadians say they’ve seen an increase in treat-or-treaters as pandemic restrictions have been lifted. A total of 32 per cent of respondents say they expect to see 11 to 30 trick-or-treaters and 31 per cent anticipate 31 to 75 trick-or-treaters.
Similar reports found most Canadians will spend either the same amount of money or more on their Halloween candy this year. A report by HelloSafe said Canadians will likely spend an average of $22.40 on treats, an estimate of $486 million nationally during the month of October. The Retail Council of Canada also reported 86 per cent of Canadians plan to spend the same or more this year in overall Halloween festivities, with the average spending a total of $50.
“I don’t think people are overly concerned about prices,” Charlebois told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview on Tuesday. “If most consumers are driven by the fact that they’d rather buy something they’ll eat themselves, they’re probably looking forward to a very calm Halloween so they can eat the candy they just bought.”
While supply chain issues were a concern for some retailers earlier in the month, Charlebois says Canadians shouldn’t worry about not finding candy or a costume in time for the big day.
“If you’re looking for candy on October 31 there will probably be some candy waiting for you at the store. Maybe you’ll have fewer choices, but I don’t think that we’re gonna see a shortage of any candy really.”