Sweet Easter Facts

$2.26 billion of Easter candy bought

by David Johnson

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Easter is the second most important candy-eating occasion of the year for Americans, who consumed $2.26 billion worth of candy in 2014, according to the National Confectioner's Association.

  • Cherry is the most popular jelly bean flavor.
  • 87% of parents will buy or make Easter baskets for their children—and 81% will then proceed to steal candy from them.
  • Ninety million chocolate Easter bunnies are produced each year.
  • Chocolate bunnies should be eaten ears first, according to 89% of Americans. Six percent said bunnies should be eaten feet first, while 5% favored eating the tail first.
  • Adults prefer milk chocolate (65%), to dark chocolate (27%).
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest Easter egg ever made debuted in 2011. It was just over 34-ft high and weighed nearly 16,000 lbs. The largest chocolate bunny ever made weighed in at 6,635 lbs and was 12 ft tall; it took a team of four people in South Africa three days to sculpt it. The largest Easter egg hunt, held in 2007 at Cypress Gardens Advernture Park in Florida, contained 501,000 eggs.

Millions of Peeps

  • Each Easter season, Americans buy more than 700 million Marshmallow Peeps, shaped like chicks, as well as Marshmallow Bunnies and Marshmallow Eggs, making them the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy.
  • As many as 5 million Marshmallow Peeps, bunnies, and other shapes are made each day in preparation for Easter.
  • In 1953, it took 27 hours to create a Marshmallow Peep. Today it takes six minutes.
  • Yellow Peeps are the most popular, followed by pink, lavender, blue, and white.

Jellybeans Could Circle the Globe

  • Americans consume 16 billion jellybeans at Easter, many of them hidden in baskets. If all the Easter jellybeans were lined end to end, they would circle the globe nearly three times.
  • Jellybeans did not become an Easter tradition until the 1930s. They were probably first made in America by Boston candy maker William Schrafft, who ran advertisements urging people to send jellybeans to soldiers fighting in the Civil War.
  • 70% of kids aged 6–11 say they prefer to eat Easter jellybeans one at a time, while 23% report eating several at once. Boys (29%) were more apt to eat a handful than girls (18%).
  • Children indicate their favorite Easter jellybean flavors are cherry (20%), strawberry (12%), grape (10%), lime (7%), and blueberry (6%).

Increasing Demand

  • Candy makers are offering more and more Easter products. In the early 1980s, M&M's became available in pastel spring colors. Reese's makes peanut butter eggs, and Smucker's produces jellybeans.
  • Some supermarkets have doubled the space allotted to Easter candy in the past few years as the market has increased.
  • Candy is a relatively recent Easter tradition. Chocolate eggs, the most popular Easter candy, were first made in Europe in the early 1800s.

Older Traditions

  • Hot cross buns were among the earliest Easter treats, made by European monks and given to the poor during Lent.
  • Pretzels were originally associated with Easter. The twists of a pretzel were thought to resemble arms crossed in prayer.

Non-Candy Substitutes

  • For parents worried that their children might eat too much Easter candy, some experts suggest adding non-edible items to Easter baskets: crayons, movie passes, jump rope, baseball cards, kids' videos, stencils, markers, paperback books, chalk, Playdoh, stuffed animals or balls.

Sources: National Confectioner's Association, Just Born, Inc., World Book Encyclopedia,


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