Utah leads the nation in candy consumption

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Utah has the biggest sweet tooth of any other state in the nation, according to a study by Hershey Co. Utahns eat candy at twice the national rate. (Photo ClipArt.com)

Living in Utah Valley is sweet — and a new study proves that isn’t just figuratively true.

A recent study by Hershey Company gathered data on the nation’s candy-eating habits and found Utah buys candy at the highest rate in the nation — almost double the U.S. average. Although Twizzlers are Utahns’ personal favorite, Utah residents also purchase many other kinds of sugary confections, researchers found.

Some believe Utah’s heavy Mormon population may explain the sweet tooth. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abstain from alcohol, caffeine and tobacco, but candy seems to be OK.

“We don’t drink alcohol, we don’t smoke, we avoid coffee — but we certainly do sugar,” Glenn Christensen, a marketing professor at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management said to a BloombergBusiness writer.

Utah’s large population of children under age 18 could further explain the candy sales. Thirty-one percent of Utah’s residents are children, compared with 23 percent nationally.

The Hershey study revealed some other interesting sweet facts.

Minnesotans buy six-packs of Hershey bars at a higher rate than any other state. Researchers attribute that statistic to s’mores, a treat made with chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers. Minnesotans visit the states numerous lakes and campgrounds during warm summer months.

Hershey researchers discovered Hispanics like Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Crème bars more than any other ethnic group.

Hershey has done this study since 2008, when the company lost its top spot in the U.S. market to Mars Inc. Results of the study are used for marketing purposes.

Read more about the study at bloomberg.com.

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Ron Bennett is a recently retired university journalism professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where he taught journalistic writing, editing and mass media classes. He received the Distinguished Faculty award at BYU-I in 2012, and he was honored by the College Media Advisers Association in 2002 with the Distinguished Newspaper Adviser's Award. Prior to entering education, he was a professional journalist at several newspapers, including the Gazette-Journal in Reno, Nevada.

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