June 3, 2021
If you have a sweet tooth, you probably already know that candy is a huge industry in the U.S. In fact, market research provider Grand View Research, Inc. predicts the U.S. candy market will be worth $19.6 billion by 2025. While some of the world’s largest and most recognized candy companies remain privately owned, there are a number of publicly-traded players in the industry.
So, in recognition of June as National Candy Month, here is a quick look at some of the major publicly traded companies looking to turn your sweet tooth into sweet profits:
When Milton S. Hershey introduced the first milk chocolate bar in 1900, it’s unlikely he would have envisioned his company becoming perhaps the best-known chocolate maker in the United States. With brands that include Almond Joy, Cadbury, Heath, Jolly Rancher, Hershey’s Kisses, Kit Kat, Reese’s, Twizzler’s and Milk Duds, The Hershey Company (Tii:HSY) is now one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world. Despite its robust portfolio of confectionery brands, Hershey is looking to expand its offerings. The company recently entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Lily’s, a manufacturer of low-sugar products that include dark and milk chocolate style bars, baking chips, peanut butter cups and other confection products. Lily’s will add a key better-for-you confection brand to Hershey’s portfolio of chocolate and candy favorites.
The first Tootsie Roll was introduced in 1896 by Leo Hirschfield and sold for one penny. Though well-known for its namesake candy, which produces 64 million on any given day, Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. (Tii:TR) is also behind popular treats that include Dots, Sugar Daddy, Junior Mints, and many others. The company’s long-running commercials are so popular, since 1970, it has received more than 20,000 letters from children who believe they have solved the mystery behind how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. According to Tootsie Roll Industries, estimates from children seem to run from a low of 100 licks to a high of 5,800 licks, with most ranging from 600-800.
The name may be unfamiliar to candy aficionados, Mondelez International, Inc. (Tii:MDLZ) was spun off Kraft Foods Group in 2012 and is now responsible for candy brands that include Toblerone, Sour Patch Kids, Cadbury, and others. For its first quarter of 2021, the company reported a 7.9% increase in net revenues, totaling $7.2 billion. With operations throughout the U.S., Canada, the Philippines, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (Tii:RMCF) franchises and operates gourmet chocolate and confection stores and self-serve frozen yogurt cafés and manufactures an extensive line of premium chocolates and other confectionery products. The company produces approximately 300 confectionery products, using proprietary recipes developed primarily by its master candy maker.
While few would include Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Tii:BRK.B) when thinking of candy manufacturers, the company has been in the industry for decades, having acquired See’s Candies in 1972. At the time, Warren Buffett asserted that See’s was a dream business for him and frequently mentions the company in interviews. The billionaire exec even keeps a box of See’s peanut brittle on hand at annual shareholder meetings. Though See’s may only represent around 0.2% of Berkshire Hathaway’s holdings, with estimated annual revenue of around $430 million, See’s produces over 26 million pounds of candy every year.
Candy plays a big part in holidays like Halloween (the biggest day of the year for candy makers), Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day keep confectioners busy year-round. However, one doesn’t need a holiday to enjoy a sweet snack – before, during and after National Candy Month.
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