Candy and snacks go hand-in-hand with Christmas, and candy, which is purchased by 50% of consumers who celebrate, ranks as the top snack item purchased for the holidays, according to NPD research. Of those purchasing candy, 22% are buying it as a gift. Chips, purchased by 38%, come in second, followed by fresh fruit at 36% and crackers/nuts at 31%. "Keeping those who purchase candy and snacks for holiday festivities in mind, retailers and manufacturers can increase sales with merchandising and seasonal packaging, and by making these items convenient to purchase," said NPD's Food and Beverage analyst Darren Seifer.

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