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09.04.2020

Transportation Solutions Bringing Easter Treats to Homes Each Spring

Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to bring chocolate eggs and other sweets into Easter baskets each spring.

Transportation Solutions Bring Easter Candy

When it comes to candy-filled celebrations, Easter is second only to Halloween. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2017 and 2018 Americans spent $18.4 billion and $18.2 billion on Easter supplies [1],  which averages out to more than $150 per person. Around $2.5 billion of that is spent on candy, totaling more than 91 million chocolate bunnies, 16 billion jelly beans, and 1 billion Peeps each year. [2]  

Numbers are similarly high across the globe, with the largest consumption of seasonal chocolate occurring in Western Europe. [3] In the U.K. alone, consumers spend £70 million on creme eggs each year. [4] Latin America’s predominantly Christian population and growing middle class have also created new opportunities for seasonal candy sales.

The sheer volume of demand for Easter treats means that the confectionery industry must rely on reliable transportation solutions and strong retail inventory management practices to guarantee that consumers can enjoy their Easter candy. While the recent COVID-19 outbreak has made food industry supply chain management challenging, especially when it comes to predicting demand, holiday celebrations will go on. 

As families around the globe get ready for Easter, here’s a look behind the scenes into the supply chain of two popular holiday treats.

Supply Chain Management and Chocolate Easter Eggs

The chocolate eggs that appear on shelves each spring often travel a remarkable distance to arrive at local stores. That’s because chocolate is created from the beans of the cacao pod, which is typically grown on small plantations and farms in tropical areas of West Africa, South America, and Indonesia. Once these beans are harvested, they must be properly fermented and dried before they can be shipped to facilities around the world that roast and grind the beans to create the cocoa liquor that is used to make chocolate eggs and bunnies.

Typically, local cacao farmers sell their beans to exporters or trading companies that inspect and store the beans according to grade. The beans are then shipped to importers and distributed to processing facilities where the chocolate is made. Because of the many steps involved in transforming chocolate from bean to bar, supply chain managers require global logistics transportation solutions and reliable warehouse management systems to ensure that all operations are running smoothly.

Once the chocolate eggs and bunnies have been produced, temperature regulation becomes a critical component of transportation management for these goods. If shipping services are too warm, the chocolate will melt, and if the trucks are too cold, the chocolate could become discolored. Maintaining the right temperature ensures that the chocolate reaches consumers in the best possible condition.

The Peeps Supply Chain: Optimized for Speed and Efficiency

Peeps are the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy. According to Just Born, their manufacturer, enough marshmallow chicks are produced each year to circle the globe two times over. [5] Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Peeps production has been temporarily halted, but fortunately, all of this year’s supplies have already been shipped out to retailers. [6]

Transporting over one billion Peeps [7] each year is a substantial undertaking, but Just Born uses strategic inventory management and transportation management systems to get the job done. The company used to deliver Peeps to two shipping points located 75 miles away from their Bethlehem, PA facility. But, in 2010, the company shifted to using a third-party logistics (3PL) provider with a closer distribution center. This helped eliminate half a million shuttle miles each year, in addition to reducing other transportation-related expenses. [8]  

By prioritizing small shipment sizes, Just Born and its 3PL partners can distribute Peeps to retailers across the country quickly and cost-effectively, sharing truck space with products from other candy manufacturers to reduce costs. 

To meet the increasing demand, supply chain managers need to prioritize well-coordinated partnerships with vendors and service providers. The Easter supply chain is a complex one, and by optimizing operations to run smoothly and efficiently, candy manufacturers are helping to guarantee a sweeter future for us all.

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