Candy – perhaps humanity’s greatest guilty pleasure. Candy isn’t exactly known as the healthiest food there is, but sometimes you simply cannot resist a taste of its sweetness. And as long as you consume in moderation, there is nothing wrong with the occasional candy snack in between a stressful day. After all, candy, in moderation, can reduce stress and increase happiness. Studies even show that people who regularly consume candy, live longer on average.
The term ‘candy’ can refer to a wide variety of different types of candy: From chocolate in all of its forms, lollipops, and gummy candy, to mint candy. The candy industry therefore unsurprisingly is a billion-dollar industry.
The following ranking lists the top ten largest candy companies in the world by worldwide candy sales. The candy these companies sell are usually known the world over and you have certainly also heard and likely tasted a lot of it.
The 10 Largest Candy Companies in the World 2024
Mars is not only the name of a planet but also the name of the largest candy company in the world. Founded in 1911 by American businessman Franklin Mars in Tacoma, Washington, Mars is still entirely owned by the Mars family, whose family members belong to some of the richest people in the world. It is therefore currently the fourth largest privately-owned company in the United States. Mars today is based in McLean, Virginia. It is now far more than just a candy company with a total revenue of around $47 billion. Most of its business now comes from pet food products (most notably through its ‘Pedigree’ brand).
But Mars, through its many brands, still also very much sells candy of a wide variety of types. Candy worth around $22 billion worldwide to be more exact. To the illustrious list of Mars’ brands belong such globally known candy brands like, for example, M&M’s, Snickers, Twix, Milky Way, Maltesers, Bounty, and of course Mars itself.
Ferrero comes second among the largest candy companies in the world. The history of Ferrero starts with ‘Supercrema’. A hazelnut-cocoa cream that now is globally known and loved as ‘Nutella’. The company was founded by Italian confectioner Pietro Ferrero in 1946 in the small town of Alba, Piedmont, not far from Italy’s fourth-largest city Turin. The company is still based in Alba and is still entirely owned by the Ferrero family. However, the company has since evolved into a global candy mega-corporation with total candy sales of over $15 billion.
Ferrereo’s numerous candy brands like Raffaello, Mon Cheri, Ferrero Rocher, and the already mentioned Nutella are loved and bought the world over. Through its Kinder brand, Ferrero also sells popular candies like Kinder Surprise, Kinder Joy, or Kinder Bueno. Additionally, Ferrero also produces and sells the world-famous Tic Tacs, a mint-based candy that provides fresh breath.
3. Mondelez International
Mondelez International comes third among the largest candy companies in the world. The company was formed in 2012 after American food corporation ‘Kraft Foods’ decided to split into two independent and publicly traded companies: Kraft Foods for grocery products and Mondelez International for candy and snack products. Mondelez took over all of Kraft’s former candy brands and therefore quickly established itself among the largest candy producers in the world. The company globally sells over $14 billion worth of candy.
The company, based in Chicago, Illinois, is known for buying popular candy brands from different countries and then integrating them into its corporate structures. Famous examples include the British Cadbury, the Swiss Toblerone, the German Milka, and the Swedish Daim brands. But Mondelez also owns American brands such as, for example, Oreo.
4. The Hershey Company
The fourth-largest popular candy company in the world is also one of the oldest still active candy companies in the world. The Hershey Company is named after its founder Milton Hershey. Hershey not only founded a company but an entire company town where the Hershey Company is still based today: Hershey, Pennsylvania. While Hershey’s products aren’t as well known outside of North America, the company is the largest and most popular candy producer in the United States. This tradition-rich status and popularity within the USA drives candy sales of over $10 billion for the American company.
Hershey’s candy brands include Reese’s, Krackel, PayDay, Almond Joy, and the Hershey’s brand itself. Hershey also markets Nestle’s KitKat brand in the USA.
Nestle completes the top five of the biggest candy companies in the world. Nestle was founded in 1866, which puts it among the oldest food companies in the world. The company was founded by Swiss-German confectioner Heinrich Nestle in the small town of Vevey, Switzerland, a picturesque town nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva, where Nestle is still based, and from where it has since established itself as a gigantic globally leading food and drink conglomerate. In total, Nestle generated a revenue of over $80 billion last year, over $8 billion of it through candy sales, which is enough to also position Nestle among the five leading candy companies in the world.
Nestle’s candy portfolio includes globally prominent brands such as KitKat, Smarties, Lion, Milkybar, and Cailler. Additionally, Nestle also owns several regionally sold candy brands in multiple countries across the world.
6. Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli
Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli, better known as Lindt & Sprüngli, or simply Lindt, comes sixth among the world’s biggest candy companies. Founded in 1845 by Swiss baker David Sprüngli and his son, Lindt is the oldest among all of the largest candy companies in the world. The Swiss company would later acquire the chocolate factory ‘Chocoladefabriken Lindt’ and add the brand to the company name. The company was originally founded in Zurich but is now based in the nearby small town of Kilchberg. Today, Lindt & Sprüngli is known all over the world, selling candy worth over $5 billion.
Lindt mainly focuses on chocolate products that are known to be in the higher price ranges. Brands include LINDOR, HELLO, EXCELLENCE, as well as its highly exclusive pralines and iconic Gold Bunny.
7. Yildiz Holding
Yildiz Holding stands as the seventh-largest candy company worldwide. The Turkish company was founded in 1944 by the Turkish Ülker brothers in Istanbul and was originally only focused on biscuits. Over the years, the company continued to grow and expand its portfolio to various food products, including candy. Through the acquisition of numerous candy companies in other countries, the company, which has carried the Yildiz name since 1989, has established itself as one of the leading candy makers in the world. The company’s candy branch is marketed through the Pladis subsidiary, an originally British company, now owned by Yildiz. Yildiz in total generated a revenue of over $5 billion last year, of which over $3 billion came from candy sales.
Yildiz Holding’s candy brands, which it owns through Pladis, include Ülker, Scottish brand McVitie’s, best known for its Jaffa Cakes and Flipz, American DeMet’s, and the Belgian high-end brand Godiva Chocolatier.
Haribo comes next among the ten largest candy companies in the world. The company was founded in 1920 by German confectioner Johannes Riegel, known as Hans Riegel. It was originally founded in the German city of Bonn. The company’s name ‘Haribo’ is derived from the founder’s name and the original location of the company – “HAns RIegel BOnn.” Today, the company is based in the small town of Grafschaft in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The company achieved global candy sales of over $3 billion last year.
The company is best known globally for its iconic gummy candy creations, particularly its Goldbears gummy bear brand. Other known brands include Happy Cherries, Happy Cola, Tropifrutti, and the chewy candy brand MAOAM.
9. Perfetti van Melle
Perfetti van Melle takes ninth place among the largest candy companies in the world. The company was formed in 2001 through the merger of Italian candy company Perfetti and Dutch candy company Van Melle. The company is now mainly headquartered in the Italian town of Lainate, a suburb town of Italy’s second-largest city Milan. The company generated worldwide candy sales of over $2 billion last year.
The company’s brands include a wide variety of different candy types. Its best-known brands are probably Chupa Chups, an originally Spanish brand of lollipops, and Mentos, a brand of mint candy. Other globally sold brands are Alpenliebe, Airheads, and Fruit-tella.
10. Meiji Holdings
Meiji Holdings completes the top ten ranking of the largest candy companies in the world. The Japanese company that was formed in 2009 after the merger of Meiji Saika, a pharmaceutical company, and Meiji Dairies, a dairy company that also produces dairy-based candy. Based in the Japanese capital of Tokyo, the unified Meiji company is now a massive conglomerate, leading in many fields on its Japanese home market. It is also by far the largest candy producer in East Asia. Meiji products are primarily known and popular in Asia and especially Japan. Meiji Holdings generates revenue of close to $8 billion, of which over $2 billion comes from the sale of candies.
Meiji Holding’s candy sales are primarily achieved through its main chocolate brand Meiji, which is hugely popular in Japan and other Asian countries, but also sold beyond Asia. The company’s other successful candy brands include Chocorooms, Meltykiss, the dipping chocolate brand Yan Yan, and the gummy candy brand Juicy Gummy.
The 10 Largest Candy Companies in the World 2024:
Most popular candy brands:
Worldwide candy sales:
McLean, Virginia, USA
Mars, M&M’s, Snickers, Bounty, Milky Way, Twix
Alba, Piedmont, Italy
Kinder, Raffaello, Mon Cheri, Ferrero Rocher, Tic Tac
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Oreo, Milka, Cadbury, Toblerone, Daim
THE HERSHEY COMPANY
Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
Hershey’s, Reese’s, Krackel, PayDay, Almond Joy
Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland
KitKat, Smarties, Lion, Milkybar, Cailler
CHOCOLADEFABRIKEN LINDT & SPRÜNGLI
Kilchberg, Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Lindt LINDOR, Lindt HELLO, Lindt EXCELLENCE, Lindt Pralines, Lindt Gold Bunny
Ülker, Godiva Chocolatier, McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes, McVitie’s Flipz, DeMet’s
Grafschaft, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Goldbears, Happy Cherries, Happy Cola, Tropifrutti, MAOAM
PERFETTI VAN MELLE
Lainate, Lombardy, Italy
Chupa Chups, Mentos, Alpenliebe, Airheads, Fruit-tella
Meiji, Chocorooms, Meltykiss, Yan Yan, Juicy Gummy
Top Ten largest candy companies in the world by worldwide candy sales. Sales from non-candy segments a company may be involved in are disregarded in the ranking. Based on the latest revenue numbers. Source: Dun&Bradstreet and the official annual reports of each candy company.