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Shoppers are changing their candy-buying habits as chocolate prices rise

Minnesota candy shoppers are seeing an increase on chocolate bunnies this Easter
Minnesota candy shoppers are seeing an increase on chocolate bunnies this Easter 01:54

WACONIA, Minn. — You may have noticed that your favorite chocolate bunnies and candies cost a little more this Easter. 

The Friday before Easter is always busy at Mackenthun's in Waconia. It's where Christy Schuth Ittel does her shopping. But when she got to the candy aisle, she did a double-take.

"Normally I would get M & M's for like $2.50 and now they're $4," said Ittel.

The rising cost of chocolate has caught the attention of shoppers across the Twin Cities. Extreme heat and other weather conditions have put stress on cocoa crops in West Africa. That's caused prices to spike worldwide. In some areas, chocolate prices have nearly doubled since the beginning of the year.

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It's meant that bunnies filled with peanut butter have become a popular sell because they are typically cheaper than bunnies that are solid chocolate.

Grocery manager Leon Rademacher said the chocolate conundrum really began last Halloween. That's when he first noticed a cost increase. 

"I'm going to be booking our Halloween candy for next fall, today, I see in our books that those costs have gone up as well," said Rademacher.

And he doesn't expect them to go down any time soon. Rademacher said as shoppers have soured on chocolate prices, they've changed their candy-buying habits.

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"One thing we've seen increased for value-wise is they are buying the bigger bags instead of individually smaller things," said Rademacher.

Still, there are shoppers like Ittel who will spare no expense when it comes to Easter candy.

"I will still buy it, for sure," said Ittel.

At Mackenthun's, Easter is tied with Valentine's Day for candy sales. Rademacher said that distribution and container issues have also led to the price increase. In addition, sugar future prices are up about 8% this year.

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