LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - For 85 years, Atkinson Candy has been bagging sweet treats for consumers not only in East Texas but across the nation. Recent reports indicate that Halloween candy sales have gone up by four percent.
Candy maker and marketing manager Sarah Atkinson said one thing especially on Halloween consumers are looking for is more shelf space as they compete with other national brands.
"Chick-O-Stick is our flagship brand, so while we are based here in East Texas and our roots are here in East Texas, we really are a national brand," Atkinson said.
But with all that good news, there's an increase of price of a certain ingredient - sugar. Atkinson said the price of sugar has been artificially inflated for decades. She said consumers in the U.S. are use paying double the amount for the sugar-laced items such as candy, cereals, and sodas, versus what consumers would pay in the global market.
"Because in the U.S., there are protectionist sugar policies in place where as we, as a sugar-using manufacturer, do not get access to world sugar prices, therefore the cost of our products is more and that gets past onto the consumer as well," Atkinson said.
This means in the last decade, the price of raw sugar in the U.S. nearly doubled from an average of 20 cents to roughly close to 40 cents.
Atkinson said adding variety of options helps consumers to more choices.
"Things that we make are very unique," Atkinson said. "There is no other company that makes the Chick-O-Stick, there's no other peanut butter bars the way we make it," Atkinson said.
Although the sugar prices are high, it's not stopping people from satisfying their sweettooths, especially on Halloween.
"I think it's just a day to remember how fun candy is and what a fun part of our lives it is, and it's really a fun little piece of happiness that you're gathering when you're trick-or-treating," Atkinson said.
Atkinson said the company is working on a new platform to make candy based from simple ingredients found in any kitchen.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, projections of importing sugar is going to increase 7.9 million tons this year.