For weeks before most holidays, store displays are overflowing with seasonal candy. But about two weeks after the Easter Bunny, the Great Pumpkin, and Santa make their rounds, all that candy seems to suddenly disappear. Have you ever wondered what happens to all the out-of-season candy canes, chocolate rabbits, and candy corn?
Well, most stores say that they sell 75 percent of their seasonal candy before the holiday in question. And most of the rest disappears right after the holiday when they slash prices. And whatever’s left gets donated to food pantries run by organizations like Second Harvest, or Feeding America.
Where else does surplus candy go? To the cows! Cattle farmers are still struggling with record corn prices so, a lot of them are feeding their cattle candy made with corn syrup, like chocolate bars, gummy worms, and marshmallows.
But here’s a question: If you bought a bunch of, say, Christmas candy at close-out prices, could you stick it in a drawer and eat it next Christmas? It depends on the candy.
Anna Lingeris is the global brand manager for The Hershey Company. And she says that humidity is the enemy for any candy. So, don’t stick it in the fridge! She points out that most chocolate has a “best used by” expiration date of about 2 months. Because if the chocolate is filled, the filling will lose its flavor – and chocolates that use heavy cream can spoil. But plain chocolate – like Hershey’s kisses - can easily last 11 months but only if they’re stored in a cool dry place – meaning 55 to 60 degrees.
If you want to hang onto candy that’ll definitely be edible next year, stick with hard candy, like suckers, ribbon candy, and candy canes. Our expert says that plain sugar creates a solid matrix that takes a long time to disintegrate. And if you keep your candy canes in a cool dry place, they could still be good to eat 5 years from now.