Spring has sprung and the countdown to Easter is officially on with less than 10 days until the beloved bunny arrives with eggs full of candy. Because celebratory candy baskets and egg hunts are deeply rooted in the holiday’s tradition, we decided to ‘peep’ into the most popular seasonal candies brightening store shelves, filling up Easter baskets, and satisfying America’s sweet tooth. With so many delicious Easter candy options to choose from, it should come as no surprise that America is divided on what candy deserves a spot in the basket — now let’s hop right in!
According to a recent Instacart survey of more than 2,000 Americans conducted online by The Harris Poll, over three-quarters of Americans (77%) will absolutely or probably buy Easter candy this year. The data also suggests Easter candy is a pretty big deal, with nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) agreeing Easter candy is the best seasonal candy, and over half (57%) saying Easter candy is better than Halloween candy.
Why might this be? We asked Instacart’s Trends Expert Laurentia Romaniuk to weigh in:
“Although Halloween may be the ultimate sweets holiday largely centered around trick-or-treating for fun-sized candies, there’s a sensible reason many folks are more partial to Easter candy. With marshmallow chicks, chocolate bunnies and eggs, and jelly beans hitting store shelves just once a year, consumers are able to look forward to the limited-time offering of the specialty candies, which often feature pastel colors, unique shapes, and indulgences like creme fillings or malted chocolate.”
With special, limited-time confections available for Easter Sunday, what exactly are Americans buying? According to Instacart purchase data, these are the top-purchased candies in the weeks leading up to Easter:
Choc’ About Dominance
It’s safe to say chocolate rules when it comes to Easter candy preferences. Seven out of the top 10 candies include chocolate flavors, and our survey found that nearly half of Americans (47%) say that chocolate bunnies are among the most superior Easter candies, followed by chocolate eggs (44%).
While chocolate bunnies did make the Top 10 list for America’s favorite Easter candies, chocolate eggs were the most widely purchased candy type with the Cadbury Easter Creme Egg and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs taking the #1 and #2 top spots.
The Egg-cellent Divide: Top Easter Candy in Every State
We uncovered the most popular Easter candy in every state and were surprised to see just four beloved sweets rise to the top. First up — ranking most popular in 24 states — is the Cadbury Easter Creme Egg, closely followed by Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs in 20 states. Combined, these egg-shaped chocolates are the top candy in 88% of the country.
But that’s not all. We clearly have a regional chocolate egg divide with the Cadbury Easter Creme Egg completely taking the West Coast and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs largely dominating the Midwest and East Coast. Following this chocolate egg stand-off, Starburst Easter Jelly Beans come in third as the top candy in 5 states including the Dakotas, the Carolinas, and Florida, while Cadbury Chocolate Mini Eggs are most favorable in Vermont and Massachusetts.
Marshmallow Chicks & Jelly Beans Anyone?
You may have noticed a quintessential Easter confection missing from the map above: Marshmallow chicks. While so many Americans adore the sugar-coated marshmallows, our recent survey found that a third of Americans (33%) agree that marshmallow chicks are among their least favorite Easter candies. However, because one could argue it’s not Easter without marshmallow chicks in your basket, a quarter of Americans (25%) say they eat marshmallow chicks for the sake of tradition despite it being among their least favorite Easter candies — and our data shows this memorable candy is the most affiliated with Easter…
Compared to all other candy categories, marshmallow chicks and jelly beans experience the highest growth during the two weeks leading up to Easter, growing by 111% and 109% respectively. While nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) say jelly beans are among their least favorite Easter candies, their tremendous seasonal uptick proves they’re also an Easter stronghold. When it comes to jelly bean flavor preferences, our survey found that about half of Americans are traditionalists when it comes to Easter jelly beans, with 53% preferring classic flavors like cherry, orange, and lemon-lime, followed by 52% preferring fun and fruity flavors such as blue raspberry, piña colada, and fruit punch. Only 24% of Americans enjoy sour-flavored jelly beans and 23% believe non-traditional flavors such as buttered popcorn and licorice are among the best flavors.
Let’s hop on over and take a look at the states who buy these Easter candies the most…
That’s all, yolks.
While we love Easter candy, we know it’s only a small part of what makes Easter special. Naturally, our survey found that nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say spending time with family or friends is among the most important things to them on Easter, compared to 33% who rank Easter candy as the most important.
So whether you’re filling your Easter basket with candy, spending time with family, or both, we hope you have a very hoppy Easter
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Instacart from March 29-31, 2022, among 2,067 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact email@example.com.
We adjust Instacart growth percentages by the overall growth of total deliveries. Doing so removes the influence of our platform growth so we can focus on the change in consumer behavior.