The Easter holiday, a notorious occasion for confection consumption, is typically no time to count calories. But a few catalogers reported an increase in sales of sugar-free treats. “We found this year for Easter that the sugar-free section of the business was growing at 20%-30%” from last year, says Mike Fitzgerald, president/owner of Clifton Park, NJ-based candy cataloger Saratoga Sweets.
Medford, OR-based Harry and David this year began selling gift selections, such as baskets of sugar-free items, to suit special diets, says Bill Michel, senior vice president/general manager for direct marketing. Sales of the special-diet products are exceeding expectations, he says.
It’s true that most people don’t associate sugar-free with gift items and seasonal novelties. But Fitzgerald notes that today’s alternatives are tastier than the first generation of sugarless sweets: “The quality of sugar-free items has increased over the last five to eight years.”