The global candy market is a fascinating world, with large candy corporations often competing with regional candy favorites. Because of its low-cost and “comfort food” status, candy sales remain a powerful industry in an otherwise shaky economic climate.

Candy is popular worldwide. According to a new January 2012 report by Global Industry Analysis, the top four markets for candy are North America, Western Europe, Asia Pacific, and Eastern Europe. Corporations like Mars, Inc, Nestle, and Cadbury currently rule the industry, though they do face competition from regional companies with local favorites. Emerging markets like Eastern Europe provide huge opportunities for horizontal expansion in the candy industry.

Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, or over 11 pounds per person. Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, or over 11 pounds per person. Consumers spend more than $7 billion a year on chocolate. The U.S. produces more chocolate than any other country in the world but the Swiss consume the most, followed closely by the United Kingdom.

What candy is the most popular? It depends on who you ask. In 2009 a collaborative research study between Business Week and EuroMonitor revealed a list of the top-selling candy and gum brands in 25 countries. M&Ms are the top seller in the United States, for example. In the United Kingdom, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate bar is king. Hsu Fu Chi International, which makes assorted candies, is number one in China.

It may come as a surprise, but chewing gum is one of the top-selling non-chocolate candy items worldwide. In Brazil, the most popular “candy” is Trident gum. Russians prefer Orbit, by the way. Italy, Spain, France, and Mexico also have gum as number one on their lists.

It is interesting to note that less than two percent of the fat and ten percent of the sugar in the American diet is supplied by candy. The main sources of sugar in the U.S. diet are sweetened beverages, baked goods and frozen desserts. Also, some candies, such as lollipops, candy canes and Gummy bears, do not contain fat or cholesterol, making them a healthier treat than many people realize. Gum drops, licorice twists and sour balls are also free of fat and cholesterol. What’s more, many of these candies are low in calories. A cup of candy corn, for example, has fewer calories than a cup of raisins.

Candy sales also increased during the Great Depression during the 1930s. Snickers and M&Ms were both introduced during that time. Candy was affordable at a time when people did not have a great deal of extra income. Today the brands are iconic. About 65% of American candies have been around for more than 50 years.

It is similar today. According to the Census Bureau, Americans consume around 25 pounds of candy per capita each year. The candy industry, like healthcare and cosmetics, is relatively recession-proof. Candy is an inexpensive route for self-indulgence, or a way to summon childhood nostalgia.

John Bradley Jackson
Entrepreneur, Professor, Author
Deja New Marketing
© Copyright 2012

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