TIL Why June Is National Candy Month

It is, of course, the result of a vast, food-related conspiracy.

Did you know that June is National Candy Month? If you didn't, well, you have one more day to make the most of it. Gather your rosé buds of cotton candy while ye may. Stuff your face with all the (gummy) bear and Skittles you can stand!

But why is June National Candy Month? Is there anything particularly candy-like about early summer? Is Flag Day secretly a major candy holiday?

Um, well, about that...

"There are essentially four seasons that make up the year in candy," Chris Gindlesperger, the senior vice president for public affairs and communications for the National Confectioners Association, explained to me at the 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo last week. "Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. But there's a big gap in the summer."

Instead of gracefully ceding the market to ice cream and ice pop vendors, though, the confectionary industry began searching for more ways to get people to eat candy during the long break between Easter and Halloween. Then one day about five years ago, Gindlesperger and his colleagues were browsing around the NCA offices in Washington, D.C., when they came across one of those dusty books that you always see in the movies but rarely in real life. The book revealed that June was officially National Candy Month.

The book offered no reason why June should be National Candy Month. But the sharp-eyed NCA communication team noticed that it was roughly halfway between the half-off sales on Easter candy and the run-up to Halloween. That seemed reason enough.

And so back in 2016, the NCA began informing stakeholders, retailers, and anyone else who would listen that June was National Candy Month and that they should celebrate accordingly. Two years later, Lori Greiner, one of the investors on the TV program Shark Tank, tweeted, "June is #NationalCandyMonth! What's your favorite candy?" The tweet didn't exactly go viral, but at least the holiday had been acknowledged by a well-known media personality. (It is a mark of distinction among vendors at the Sweets & Snacks Expo to have appeared on Shark Tank.)

In June 2020, the TravelCenters of America began promoting National Candy Month in 500 truck stops, restaurants, and convenience marts across the country. It must have been inspirational (after all, last year, most people in this nation were only traveling on the road): this month, says Gindlesperger, 31,000 stores have joined the party.

In a display at the Sweets & Snacks Expo called Destination Retail, the NCA offered suggestions for National Candy Month displays, alongside the four other major candy holidays (and also Mother's and Father's Days, Back to School, and Hanukkah). The NCA has also suggested other marketing strategies, like setting up beach-friendly snacks like gummies and popcorn and chips next to the beach towels and sunglasses and marshmallows and Hershey bars next to the charcoal and lighter fluid.

"It addresses a sales gap," Gindlesperger says. "We're estimating $500 million [in sales]. It's an incredible sales opportunity."

And, really, who doesn't want an excuse to eat candy for an entire month? Even Halloween was a made-up holiday at one point. So why not National Candy Month?