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Here’s Why Valentine’s Day Candy Is So Expensive

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New York –

As Valentine’s Day approaches, stores are counting on procrastinating romantics to rush to stores and online at the last minute to help sell off the supply of special occasion candy.

If you’re one of them, don’t be fooled by the assortment of beautifully packaged candies, adorned with hearts and cupids in all shades of pink. These sugary treats can leave a bitter taste if you do some math to figure out how much extra you’re paying for them.

Some special editions of popular Valentine’s Day candies, such as Sour Patch Kids, Jolly Ranchers, and Haribo, appear to be priced higher than regular versions of these sweet treats for roughly the same quantity.

The price difference caught the attention of Veronica Fletcher, co-founder and editor of the food and cooking website Pantry and Larder.

Fletcher, a former data analyst in the supermarket industry, looked at the cost of some Valentine’s Day-themed candies this year at retailers, such as Walmart, and compared them to regular versions of the same candies ( using price per ounce) and noted a hefty premium.

For example, she said a heart-shaped, Valentine’s Day-themed box of Sour Patch Kids candy (3.45 oz) was listed on Walmart.com for US$3.96 ($1.15 oz), while a regular box of candy (3.5 oz) costs $1.24. ($0.35/ounce).

Haribo Goldbears Gummi Bears Valentine Heart Box (7 oz) at Walmart.com is priced at $5.97 ($0.85/oz) compared to $2.38 ($0.30/oz) for a regular bag of 8 oz of candy.

Walmart said it was investigating the price differences, but said some of the Valentine’s Day candies featured on its website were listed by third-party sellers on the Walmart Marketplace.

CNN visited a CVS store in New York and found a heart-shaped box of Sour Patch Kids (3.4 oz) for $7.49 and another in watermelon flavor also in a heart-shaped box for 5 $.99 (3.4 oz). A New Jersey Walmart supercenter visited by CNN also had a heart-shaped box of Sour Patch Kids candy on the shelf for $3.96.

“Is the price unreasonably high for seasonal produce? That appears to be the case,” said Edgar Dworsky, a former Massachusetts assistant attorney general, consumer advocate and publisher of the website ConsumerWorld.org.

“This almost brings us to the problem of greed, where some companies are taking advantage of a situation where consumers expect higher prices on everything because of inflation,” Dworsky said.

CVS, in an email to CNN, said “Valentine’s Day candy prices may vary based on cost or quantity.”

“We regularly explore new ways to deliver value to consumers, focusing on offering the right price on thousands of products every day while simplifying promotions so that CVS Pharmacy customers looking to save money can better access our value through our loyalty offers, like our ExtraCare. Rewards program,” the retailer said.

Some rational reasons

Seasonal items are usually made for a limited sales period and therefore in limited quantities. “This can make it expensive to manufacture and sell these items,” said John Talbott, director of the Center for Retail Education and Research at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

“Valentine’s Day is an occasion of a day. So sellers almost need a higher markup on candy to justify stocking specially packaged products,” Talbott said. At the same time, many buyers probably won’t even think about the price as February 14 approaches. Retailers are counting on it.

“I think it’s a bit like, ‘Oh shit!’ I forgot to give my wife chocolate. At this point you don’t even think about the price,” he said.

A smarter approach might involve some advance planning, Dworsky suggested.

“Buy the candy after Valentine’s Day, when it has deep discounts, or buy the regular cheaper version of the candy and wrap it yourself,” he said. “That’s what I did.”

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