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Profile of the U.S. Candy Industry

About the National Confectioners Association

NCA candy makers have been manufacturing candy, one of life's little pleasures, since 1884. Today, NCA represents 320 companies that manufacture and market the vast majority of chocolate confectionery, sugar confectionery and gum sold in the United States, 225 companies who supply those manufacturers and 115 companies who serve as third party sales agents for manufacturers, known as brokers.

Two thirds of NCA's members are small businesses. Many of the industry's manufacturers are now 4th and 5th generation family owned companies, started by immigrants before the turn of the century. There are confectionery manufacturers in more than 40 states, with a particular concentration in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio, and California.


According to the U.S Department of Labor, in 2009 there were about 70,000 confectionery manufacturing jobs in more than 1,000 facilities across the U.S.; when you count the related number of sales and distribution jobs associated with the industry, that number triples.
Confectionery workers are represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco, and Grain Millers; United Food and Commercial Workers International; and the Teamsters Unions.


In 2010, confectionery manufacturers spent more than $4 billion on commodities including:

  • More than 2.44 billion lbs of sugar at a cost of nearly $1.3 billion (up from $1 billion in 2009) 
  • About 805 million lbs of cocoa beans costing more than $1.7 billion (up from $1 billion in 2009)
  • More than 1.47 billion lbs of corn syrup at a cost of $315 million (up from $245 million in 2009)
  • More than 1.1 billion lbs of U.S. milk and milk products costing $762 million
  • More than 339 million lbs of peanuts, the majority of which are grown in the US, at a cost of more than $142 million
  • More than 74 million lbs of California-grown almonds and other nuts costing $101.5 million

Commodity costs are rising across the board!

Performance and Economics

In 2010, NCA estimates that U.S. confectionery sales accounted for $29.4 billion, an increase of 2.8 percent over 2009. Candy has a long history of adding joy to the holiday celebrations. In fact about 25 percent of confectionery spending happens around four major holidays - Halloween, Easter, Christmas and Valentine's Day. Chocolate represents around 60 percent of all confectionery sales in the U.S.


The NCA and confectionery industry are long time supporters of free trade. Most confections from other countries receive duty-free access into the U.S. and we seek trading parity to assist American businesses increase their export opportunities. Specifically, we support the free trade agreements with Korea, Columbia, Panama and the Trans Pacific Partnership countries. These agreements represent opportunities for the U.S. confectionery industry to increase exports and thereby increase their consumption of US grown commodity inputs and add American jobs to the work force.