Washington’s favorite Christmas candy treats include Reese’s Minis, candy canes

Dec 24, 2023, 8:28 AM | Updated: 11:07 am

Image: Christmas candy and candy canes stand on display for sale at a European Christmas market....

Christmas candy and candy canes stand on display for sale at a European Christmas market. (Photo: Sean Gallup, Getty Images)

(Photo: Sean Gallup, Getty Images)

Christmas time may not be as big as Halloween when it comes to the giving and receiving of candy, but it certainly has a significant presence at this time of year between baking, decorating, crafting, stuffing stockings and, of course, eating from time to time.

Last month, the National Retail Federation (NRF) forecast that holiday spending is expected to reach record levels in the last two months of 2023 and will grow between 3% and 4% over 2022 to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion.

And among all that money being spent, the NRF said in a different release that food/candy (29%) is in the Top 5 in gift categories consumers plan to give this holiday season, behind clothing (56%), gift cards (44%), toys (37%) books, video games and other media (31%).

More candy analysis: Washington’s favorite Halloween treats include Tootsie Pops and taffy

So, those sweet and tasty treats have a significant presence in the Pacific Northwest and all over the country, but what is the favorite of those living in the state of Washington?

Online bulk candy retailer gathered opinions from over 16,000 respondents and “consulted with major candy manufacturers and distributors to ensure our findings reflect broader market trends” to come up with answers for Washington residents and folks all over the country.

And the winner in Washington is …

The retailer reports Reese’s Cup Minis are Washington’s favorite candy followed by candy canes and Skittles.

Ben George, author of the company’s “Most Popular Christmas Candy By State” report and a content strategist, wrote in an email to MyNorthwest that Reese’s Minis saw an increased level of interest this year.

“In Washington, especially around Seattle, we’ve noticed a surprising uptick in the popularity of Reese’s Cup Minis during the Christmas season,” George wrote to MyNorthwest. “It’s fascinating to see how traditional tastes evolve with time.”

And in Seattle area specifically, saw the Reese’s minis as the runaway favorite with over 65% preferring the chocolate treats as their holiday candy of choice, followed by candy canes at 22% and Skittles at 13%, George said.

George was not surprised candy canes finished high in Washington as they have always been “a staple of the holiday season in Washington and most places.” He added that “their enduring appeal lies in their simplicity and the nostalgia they evoke.”

An interesting trend in Washington is the growing popularity of Skittles during Christmas, with sales increasing by 30% over the past five years, George told MyNorthwest. He called that “a testament to the state’s diverse and evolving taste preferences.”

Looking at other states, candy canes are the top candy in Oregon with Reese’s Cup Minis and Snickers bars finishing in the Top 3.

In Idaho, M&M’s finished at No. 1, while Hershey Kisses finished second and chocolate bars made out of Santa Claus placed third.

Reporting live from Seattle’s past: Candy Cane Lane has a long history

California candy eaters agreed with the people in Washington as Reese’s Cup Minis finished No. 1 there too. Peppermint bark and Hershey Kisses finished second and third, respectively.

National Christmas candy trends

In his report, George explained that peppermint bark and candy canes bounced back in popularity this year after slipping in 2022. The bark dropped six No. 1 state spots last year after a strong 2021. This year it regained three of them back, particularly flexing its strength throughout the Midwest.

Candy canes fell in 2022 as well, but they rebounded this year, thanks mostly to two New England states, George reported. Candy canes are No. 1 in Vermont and New Hampshire.

But George also said that candy canes also not the universally-loved Christmas candy as they are often found on the worst Christmas candy list as well.

George also authored the worst Christmas Candy of 2023 report recently and noted that while candy canes didn’t finish in the Top 10 of worst candies this year they did end up in the “honorable mention” category.

From Gee & Ursula: Should you limit your kids’ candy consumption?

When it comes America’s least favorite candy, reindeer corn finished at the top of that list, likely igniting “The Great Candy Corn Debate” yet again.

Christmas nougat came in as the the No. 2 least favorite candy in the U.S. and chocolate-covered cherry cordials ranked No. 3. Rounding out the Top 5 were non-peppermint candy canes and Peeps.

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Washington’s favorite Christmas candy treats include Reese’s Minis, candy canes