2016 Sweet 60: The top candy companies in North America
Consumers’ appetite for snack bars driving growth
Snack bar manufacturers don’t always consider themselves to be confectioners, but they have evolved to comprise a large and growing sector of the confectionery industry. With growth and product expansion come increases in sales for those who specialize in that segment. Although two of the larger “lifestyle” bar makers, Clif Bar and Kind Healthy Snacks are not forthcoming with their sales, other information provided — combined with analytical research — has prompted Candy Industry to increase their sales projections quite a bit.
California’s Clif Bar, which notes a 16 percent annual growth and 35 percent of the “lifestyle bar” category, is being estimated at $792 million this year. Kind Healthy Snacks of New York City is not far behind with an estimated $639 million in sales, as they account for more than 460 million units sold last year.
Business has also been good for 1-800-Flowers.Com of Carle Place, N.Y., which increased its candy sales by almost twice as much, projecting this year’s sales to be around $650 million due to the acquisition of Harry & David at the end of 2014.
In other acquisitions, Sunrise Confections, a division of Mount Franklin Food in El Paso, Texas, took on Softer Than Brittle late in 2015. This soft, flaky gourmet brittle, which comes in peanut, pecan, cashew and almond varieties, undoubtedly boosted its sales as projections call for revenues to reach $220 million this year.
There also have been some changes to this year’s lineup with Turin Chocolate of Mexico City being snatched up by Mars last year and a few companies not listed being added.
Hawaiian Host of Honolulu debuts with $140 million in sales, noting business doubled after acquiring macadamia nut producer Mauna Loa in 2015. The Hawaiian manufacturer has carved a niche with their macadamia confections specializing in truffles, caramels and toffee.
Frankford Candy LLC of Philadelphia is considered to be one of the largest licensed candy manufacturers in the country. Although revenue information remains privately held, Candy Industry estimates annual sales at $60 million.
Piedmont Candy Co., which just makes the list at No. 60, has an estimated $30 million a year in sales. The Lexington, N.C., manufacturer has been around since 1890, formerly called the NC Candy Co., and specializes in peppermint puffs and sticks.
This year Santa Cruz Nutritionals, the California company that makes fortified and non-fortified gummy candies, joins the listing with $200 million in sales.
Lindt North America was also added to the list, putting them in the Top 5 North American companies, due to their ownership of once American-owned Russell Stover and Ghirardelli. They are locally headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., as the North American division of Switzerland’s Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprungli, and have six plants in the states.
In other news, both Hearthside Food Solutions of Downers Grove, Ill., and Palmer Candy Co. of Sioux City, Iowa, saw healthy increases over last year. Hearthside is expecting sales to reach $282 million and Palmer anticipates their sales to be around $50 million.
Editor’s Note: All sales, plant and employee estimates are for confectionery operations only, unless otherwise noted. In addition, Candy Industry has attempted to factor out industrial chocolate sales and plants. All estimates come from a combination of manufacturer surveys, annual reports, media reports, private and published research, and analyst interviews. The North American Sweet 60 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.