Ninety-two percent of U.S. moms raid their kids' candy bag after trick-or-treating, survey says

MINNEAPOLIS , October 27, 2011 (press release) – Trick-or-treaters will soon be ringing doorbells to scare up free candy, but they also may need to be on the lookout, because the vast majority of moms admit they raid their kids’ Halloween “loot,” according to a new SUPERVALU® Halloween Moms Survey. SUPERVALU (NYSE: SVU) recently conducted the national survey to determine moms’ and kids’ Halloween habits and preferences.

Kids beware: Mom’s mitts are in the loot
According to the survey, 92 percent of U.S. moms said they raid their kids’ candy bag after trick-or-treating. In fact, candy-raiding may be a more popular family tradition today than in the past. When asked whether their parents raided their candy when they were little, only 72 percent of moms said they thought their parents did.

More than 40 percent of today’s moms are on the hunt for chocolate. Topping the list of moms’ favorite candies are Snickers bars (18 percent), Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (14 percent), Twix (8 percent) and M&Ms, although a healthy 15 percent say they like everything.

As for kids’ preferences, most (39 percent) like “all types of candy,” followed closely by chocolate (37 percent). Specific favorites cited include Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (13 percent), Snickers (11 percent), Hershey’s chocolate (8 percent) and M&Ms (7 percent). Kids’ least favorite Halloween candies are hard candy and licorice (10 percent each), candy corn (9 percent), and gum and nuts (4 percent each).

Setting candy-eating limits
While 80 percent of moms don’t limit the amount of candy their kids collect, nine in 10 moms say they limit the amount their kids consume. Nearly three-quarters of moms say they let their kids have one to four pieces of candy per day until it’s gone. From a kid’s perspective, a lucky 8 percent are allowed to eat five to 10 pieces a day until their loot is gone.

“It’s clear from the survey that the entire family likes to treat themselves — literally and figuratively — on Halloween,” said Jeff Strawn, SUPERVALU’s director of candy. “According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend about $21 each on Halloween candy this year.”

Other survey findings

* Too old for trick-or-treating? When asked at what age a person is too old to go trick-or-treating, nearly 20 percent of moms said “you’re never too old to trick-or-treat!” Another 14 percent said kids are too old at 17-plus years of age, and 17 percent said it’s time to stop trick-or-treating when you reach the age of 13.
* Blast-from-the-past favorites. Nostalgic moms listed candy corn as their favorite “retro” candy (7 percent) followed by Mary Janes (4 percent). Other favorite “retro” candies named by moms include Tootsie Rolls, Hershey’s Whatchamacallits, Charleston Chews, Charms Blow Pop suckers, Bit-O-Honeys, Bottle Caps, Root Beer Barrels and Milk Duds.
* Strangest treats. Money was listed by 16 percent of moms as the strangest treat they or their kids have ever received on Halloween. Other strange treats included a toothbrush (7 percent), popcorn ball (4 percent) and fruit (3 percent).
* Scariest Halloween movie characters. Jason from the movie “Friday the 13th “ and Freddy Krueger (“Nightmare on Elm Street”) were cited as the scariest Halloween characters nationwide by one-third of moms. Surprisingly, 7 percent of moms say clowns actually scare them most.
* Knock, knock, who’s there. When asked to name a celebrity or famous person they would most like to have come to their door for trick-or-treating, Johnny Depp came out on top, followed by Lady Gaga and President Obama. Other popular choices included Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler and Oprah.

Halloween preferences vary by region
The SUPERVALU Halloween Moms Survey also took a closer look at the candy-eating and other Halloween preferences of people living in markets where its network of stores are located, including Boston (Shaw’s®), Chicago (Jewel-Osco®), Minneapolis/St. Paul (Cub Foods®), Philadelphia (Acme®) and San Diego (Albertsons®), showing that preferences vary by region. For example:

* High on Snickers in Chicago. Snickers bars were by far and away the No. 1 choice of both moms (38 percent) and kids (22 percent) in the windy city, compared with 18 percent of moms and 11 percent of kids nationally.
* Hoping to see Beyoncé in Boston. When asked what famous person they would most like to have come to their door for trick-or-treating, beauty was more important than the beast in Boston, where moms ranked Beyoncé as their first choice (13 percent). Other famous folks they wished to see were Johnny Depp (5 percent), Dracula (4 percent), Jack Nicholson (3 percent) and President Obama (2 percent).
* Not so nuts in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Only 8 percent of Twin Cities moms said they like candy with nuts in it the most, compared with 15 percent of moms nationwide. On the other hand, 17 percent of Twin Cities moms prefer candy with caramel in it, well above the national average of just 11 percent. When asked what the “strangest” treat moms or their kids received on Halloween, 10 percent said a pencil or pen, and 6 percent each said a popcorn ball, toothbrush or money.
* Generations of candy-snatchers in Philly. Kids may want to hide their candy in Philadelphia, as this city ranked the highest (97 percent) in the number of moms who admit to raiding their kids’ Halloween candy. More Philadelphia moms said their parents had raided their own Halloween candy when they were younger (80 percent), compared with the rest of the country (72 percent).
* Somewhat sensible in San Diego. The city had the lowest percentage of moms listing chocolate as their kids’ favorite candy (35 percent) and the highest percentage listing fruit-flavored candy as their kids’ top choice (12 percent). San Diego moms ranked Milky Way and Almond Joy bars among their top five favorite Halloween candies, replacing Twix and M&Ms on the national top five favorite candy list.

Additional market specific breakdowns are available on request.

A few Halloween stats and fun facts*

* As of 2010, there were an estimated 41 million potential trick-or-treaters — children age 5 to 14 — in the United States.
* Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2010 was 24.7 pounds.
* Some places around the country to get in the Halloween mood include Transylvania County, N.C.; Tombstone, Ariz.; and Pumpkin Center, N.C.*

SUPERVALU INC. is one of the largest companies in the U.S. grocery channel with annual sales of approximately $37 billion. SUPERVALU serves customers across the United States through a network of approximately 4,300 stores composed of 1,106 traditional retail stores, including 800 in-store pharmacies; 1,294 hard-discount stores, of which 915 are operated by licensee owners; and 1,900 independent stores serviced primarily by the company’s traditional food distribution business. SUPERVALU has approximately 135,000 employees. For more information about SUPERVALU, visit

* U.S. Census Facts for Features, Aug. 31, 2011,

Editor’s note: SUPERVALU created the Halloween Moms Survey to better understand moms’ and kids’ Halloween treat-eating habits and preferences. The survey was conducted as an online survey by Survey Monkey with respondents sourced from the Research Now e-Rewards panel. The study was conducted between the dates of October 19 and October 23, 2011. The target audience for the study was moms with kids of trick or treating age living at home (5 to 15 years old). The results of the survey are representative of the total U.S. market, plus reportable results from the DMAs of Boston, Chicago, the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area, Philadelphia and San Diego. For the individual DMAs, a sample size of 200 was targeted.

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