When Impact Confections was looking into launching new versions of their popular sour flavors, they knew exactly which segment they wanted to tap into — chewy candy.

The candy maker recently launched sour gummy worms. And, even though gummy worms are already a relatively saturated segment, the company says kids were asking for the item.

“The chewy category has consistently grown three-to-four times the non-chocolate category as a whole, so we were looking at opportunities to expand our portfolio in this space,” explains Andy Telatnik, Impact Confections’ marketing director. “Why a worm? Well, worm-shaped gummies are the number one shape for sour gummies and the number one preferred shape by kids. Three out of four kids loved the idea of Warheads coming out with a sour gummy worm.”

Telatnik is definitely on to something.

The chew candy category has seen a whopping 7.94 percent increase in dollar sales over the last year, which comes out to about $3 billion in sales, according to data from IRI, a Chicago-based research firm. The data looked at the last 52 weeks, ending March 22, 2015.

Skittleslead the segment as the top-selling chewy candy brand over the last year, according to IRI. And the popular treat was followed by private label, Starburst, Sour Patch Kids, and thenLifesaves Gummies rounding out the Top 5.

As for which candy company is selling the most chewy candy overall, William Wrigley Jr. Co. — which makes Skittles, Starburst and Lifesaves Gummies — took that honor, selling $406.7 million worth of chewy candy over the last year. That’s a 6.77 percent increase over what it sold in the year before.

Wrigley was followed by Mondelez Int;l, Ferrara Candy, private label and then Hershey in the Top 5. And all of the Top 5 companies except for private label saw an increase in the amount of chewy candy they were selling.

All this growth in the category means there’s plenty of room for new products. Products like Adams & Brooks new Hawaiian Punch Chews. The taffy-like chews come in five classic Hawaiian Punch flavors, including: Fruit Juicy Red, Orange Ocean, Green Berry Rush, Berry Blue Typhoon, and Lemon Berry Squeeze.

And then there’s the Ferrara Candy Co., which is taking its popular Now and Later candy up a notch with its new Now and Later Splits.

They combine lemon with other popular flavors, giving consumers a burst of two different flavor experiences at once. Specifically, they come in Lemon-Lime, Lemon-Blue Raspberry and Lemon-Strawberry.

Original Gourmet also has introduced a new chewy candy — Squirtz.

The new candy is a prefect counterbalance to the hard candy lollipops Original Gourmet is known for. Squirtz soft, fruity candies have a great surprise of either a juicy filling in the original or a sour burst in the Sourz

Chewy candy doesn’t have to be aimed at kids though.

Torrie and Howard, which recently launched its new Chewie Fruities, is proving that it is possible to make delicious candy that comes in premium flavors and also has the daily requirement of Vitamin C.

Inspired by the candy maker’s popular hard candy, they come in unusual flavors, like Italian Tarocco Blood Orange and Wildflower Honey, California Pomegranate and Sweet Freestone Nectarine, and Meyer Lemon and Raspberry.

“Our new Chewie Fruities absolutely burst with flavor. They are full of the sweetness and tanginess of the fruit with a very satisfying chewiness,” says Torie Burke, company co-founder. “And they are a delicious way to get your Vitamin C. We want to craft candy that is as health-friendly, eco-friendly, and socially conscious as possible while still being absolutely delicious.”

Another company that’s taken a well-known hard candy and turned into something chewy is Bazooka. The candy maker launched its Juicy Drop hard candy in 2003, and has since extended the line to include Juicy Drop Taffy and Juicy Drop Gummies.

The products were all created with the idea of letting kids control exactly how much sour they want on each piece of candy.  And, all of them come with the signature Juicy Drop sour gel pen, which lets consumers customize their sour experience. 

“Back in 2012, Bazooka Candy Brands experienced a huge amount of success when they expanded the brand into the perennially strong taffy category, Juicy Drop Taffy, which became an instant success,” explains Lizzy Mangold, a spokesman for the company. “The product has driven the taffy segment by contributing more than 32 percent to segment growth since its launch and currently ranks number 11 among all non-chocolate candies in the front of the stores.”

Bazooka isn’t resting on its laurels though. The company has expanded the line by adding flavors like Apple Attack Juicy Drop Taffy, which debuted in stores at the beginning of the year.

Even with all these products on the market though, there’s still plenty of room for innovation in the segment. So whether a company specializes in gourmet lollipops or non-GMO Blood Orange hard candy, it’s time to take a look at chewy candy.