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Valentine’s Day smackdown: Chocolate vs. Flowers

When a candy trade group says chocolate beats flowers on Valentine’s Day two-to-one, a reporter wonders what a flower trade group would say.

So I asked.

The National Confectioners Association in Washington put out a news release this week saying Americans overwhelmingly prefer chocolate instead of flowers on Valentine’s Day, 69 to 31 percent, according to its own survey.

“There is no question that sweet treats have a special place in everyone’s heart this holiday season,” said Susan Whiteside, vice president of communications for the NCA.

When I shared the NCA’s survey results with Jennifer Sparks, vice president of marketing at the Society of American Florists in Alexandria, she took the high road.

“The floral industry does not disparage against others, but prefers that flowers stand on their own merits,” she said.

Unsurprisingly, both chocolate and flowers boast some impressive numbers on Valentine’s Day.

Total U.S. confectionery sales for Valentine’s Day 2014 are projected to be $1.057 billion, a 1.9 percent increase over last year. Chocolate will make up about 75 percent of candy sales on Valentine’s Day.

The favorite form of chocolate on Valentine’s Day is with caramel, followed by chocolate-covered nuts, cream-filled and chocolate-filled.

As for flowers, the SAF says more than 233 million roses are produced for the Valentine’s Day holiday, and it is the busiest day of the year for florists.

If you’re not sure if chocolate or flowers is the right choice to give your sweetheart this year, Sparks wants you to know she has science on her side.

“Flowers are scientifically proven to make people happy and improve our emotional health,” she says.



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