Since he was laid off in December, [Raymond] Schneider, a 33-year-old interior designer, says he has become a “gummy junkie,” stocking up on sweets every time he shops for groceries. “Sugar is comforting,” he said as he scooped Red Licorice Scottie Dogs into a plastic bag.
The recession seems to have a sweet tooth. As unemployment has risen and 401(k)’s have shrunk, Americans, particularly adults, have been consuming growing volumes of candy, from Mary Janes and Tootsie Rolls to Gummy Bears and cheap chocolates, say candy makers, store owners and industry experts.
For many, sugar lifts spirits dragged low by the languishing economy. For others, candy also provides a nostalgic reminder of better times. And not insignificantly, it is relatively cheap.
At Candyality, a store in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, business has jumped by nearly 80 percent compared with this time last year, and the owner, Terese McDonald, said she was struggling to keep up with the demand for Bit-O-Honeys, Swedish Fish and Sour Balls.