2014 Sweet 60: The top candy companies in North America
Listing encompasses a full range of multinational, national, regional and local players.
Every January, candy makers and suppliers have looked to Candy Industry Magazine to see which confectionery companies made the Global Top 100. This summer, we have taken a subset of that list and encapsulated it into the North American Sweet 60 confectionery companies.
In order to qualify for the listing, companies have to be based in North America. Subsidiaries that have operations here but have a parent outside of the United States, such as Nestle USA, Stork USA, Lindt USA, Ghiradelli and PEZ USA, were excluded from the listing. It was not an easy decision to do so, but it was necessary to set parameters.
Many mid-size candy companies from the United States, Mexico and Canada that have never made the Global Top 100 listing are ranked in the North American Sweet 60 list. Of course, many of these companies are privately held, which made gathering information about their sales difficult. As a result, estimates gleaned from various sources were made.
Other companies have confectionery divisions within their corporate structure. Segregating confectionery sales from pet food and salted snack sales again proved challenging.
For example, one such company is KLN Family Brands, headquartered in Perham, Minn. The company has sales totaling $500 million, which encompasses its Barrel of Fun salted snack and Tuffy’s Pet Foods divisions as well as its two confectionery operations, Kenny’s Candy and NutHead’s Chocolate Factory.
Both of the confectionery brands helped boost corporate sales with respective expansions in the last 12 months. Licorice manufacturer Kenny’s Candy added 50,000 sq. ft. to its existing production facility, including adding an entire line of gummi and fruit snack equipment from manufacturing to its cooling room to packaging. NutHead’s Chocolate Factory, known for its chocolate-covered potato chips, opened in 2011.
Then there’s Sunrise Confections, a division of Mount Franklin Foods in El Paso, Texas. As one of the larger non-chocolate candy makers, its two confectionery plants had approximately $190 million in sales last year and are expected to reach $220 million by the end of this year, according to its company executives. In this instance, Candy Industry Magazine did not include sales from Mount Franklin Foods’ nut division, Azar Nut.
Hearthside Food Solutions, of Downers Grove, Ill., may be one of the country’s largest independent bar manufacturers, with an estimated $215 million in net sales a year. With seven confectionery plants and more than a thousand employees, quite a bit of bars, gummies and hard candy are being manufactured.
Long-time boxed chocolate manufacturers like Asher’s Chocolates, in Souderton, Pa., and Anthony-Thomas Candy Co., in Columbus, Ohio, are each producing 8 million pounds of candy a year for themselves and others. A company like R.C. Purdy Chocolates in Vancouver is selling its chocolates and Turkish delights and other confections in more than 60 retail shops around Canada.
Then there are fundraising specialists, such as World’s Finest Chocolate, that continue to sweeten a broad range of good causes, be it for schools or non-profit organizations. Nostalgic candies are also part of the mix. It doesn’t take much to turn back the clocks with peanut butter and toasted coconut Chick-O-Sticks from Atkinson Candy Co. or candy buttons from the New England Confectionery Co.
As this is our first attempt at putting such a listing together, Candy Industry Magazine recognizes there may be omissions and errors. Some may even contest the inclusion of non-traditional confectionery products such as snack and nutrition bars. Nonetheless, one needs to have a starting point to move forward. Join us on the journey to fine-tune this listing, which provides the foundation for a much-needed information base.
Editor’s Note: The North American Sweet 60 Confectionery Companies is a “work in progress,” one that many times involves making estimates when companies refuse to share their specific data. If there are any oversights or incorrect estimates, please fill free to contact Candy Industry Magazine’s Editor Bernie Pacyniak at email@example.com so we can adjust the listing for next year.