Have you ever been to one of those mega-giant candy stores? You know, the kind that feels like you’ve been transported to the set of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I’ve been to a few, and they’re pure sensory overload. From the sweet smells to the (lolli)pops of color everywhere, it’s a lot to handle. But hey, if you’re a fan, consider visiting London, because that’s where this type of candy emporium is booming right now.
There are currently nine of those giant candy stores within a square mile of each other in London. They sport names like Candy Surprise, American Candy Land, and Kingdom of Sweets. NBC reports that American candy in particular is seeing a huge surge in London, from the big standalone sweets stores to newsstands stocked with the stuff.
Shokofeh Hejazi, a food trends expert, told NBC, “Consumers are looking for comfort and nostalgia these days,” adding that they have a “strong sense of borrowed nostalgia” from the United States.
“They grew up watching American TV and films and watched their favorite characters eating things like Twinkies, Pop-Tarts, Tootsie Rolls and Hershey’s chocolate,” she said. But it’s not just London—the entire United Kingdom wants that American sugar. Last year, demand for American candy jumped significantly.
Even mom-and-pop newsstands, referred to as “newsagents,” are stocking a ton of American sweets. Faizal Ravat, 30, bought a small stand in East London, and after testing out various offerings, including organic food, he decided to try American candy.
“Once we got into candies, we had people coming and saying, ‘Hang on, where are the snacks?’” he said. Ravat’s shop, Hollywood Candy, is now bursting at the seams with stuff we see over here on a daily basis, like Froot Loops, Jell-O mixes, and Hostess Sno Balls.
Many customers have become regulars, one biking as far as eight miles to fill up his backpack with groceries and candy every two weeks. Ravat says that this customer is a big fan of Reese’s. Good pick.
These days, sour candies are selling the best, like Sour Patch Kids. Swedish Fish and Mike & Ike are also a big hit too. Prices on this stuff don’t come cheap, though: a small bag of Reese’s Pieces will run you about $2, which is around twice as much as a British candy bar.
I knew American exports were pretty popular across the world, but I didn’t realize our candy was that popular—especially because a lot of Americans constantly complain about how Hershey’s chocolate tastes like puke and British candies are far superior. How about we just make a permanent trade? The UK can have Mars, and we’ll take Cadbury.