Woman excitedly smiling while holding a chocolate bar in front of a hot pink background.
Recent growth experienced by the candy industry is expected to steadily continue. Here's how these nine businesses are mixing consumers' love of candy with current trends. — Getty Images/stefanamer

Candy is one of the most exciting, creative segments of the food industry. It’s also one of the markets experiencing steady growth: Chocolate confectionery is expected to rise 6.7% CAGR by 2028, reaching $265.9 billion. With innovations like candy-flavored dental floss and keto-friendly chocolate, there’s always something new to excite food entrepreneurs.

Whether you’re seeking to enter the candy market or want to know more about consumer tastes and trends, look to these candy businesses for inspiration.

Sugarfina

Sugarfina, launched in 2012 by Rosie O’Neill and Josh Resnick, was inspired by the original "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" movie. The pair decided to launch a candy brand for grownups, and the idea for Sugarfina was born. Sugarfina is a boutique candy company that offers treats like champagne gummy bears, vegan candy, and rosé roses.

Goodship Company

Goodship is a Seattle-based company that’s bringing cannabis to the confectionery market. Goodship offers high-quality, tasty baked goods — like snickerdoodle cookies, sea salt chocolate bars, and other sweets — infused with CBD. Goodship has raised $1 million since its launch in 2014.

[Read more: Sweets Apothecary Owner: ‘Take the Chance’ on Your Business Idea]

Unreal Brands

There’s been a surge of interest in better-for-you sweets and snacks in recent years. Unreal was founded to meet this demand, offering chocolate treats with simple ingredients and less sugar. Using organic, sustainable, Non-GMO-Project-verified ingredients, consumers can have their cake and eat it too: Unreal products use up to 51% less sugar without additives or alternatives like corn syrup, sugar alcohols, erythritol, stevia, or IMOs. Unreal sweets are carried in major national retailers like Target and Whole Foods.

Dandelion Chocolate

Dandelion Chocolate is a “bean-to-bar” chocolatier hailing from San Francisco. Dandelion carries the farm-to-table trend into the candy industry, creating small-batch treats for sophisticated palates. “Dandelion roasts and grinds beans from a single farm or cooperative at a time. It’s a winemaker’s approach, and each bar is as distinct from the next as a Chianti is from a Barolo,” wrote The New York Times.

There’s been a surge of interest in better-for-you sweets and snacks in recent years. Unreal was founded to meet this demand, offering chocolate treats with simple ingredients and less sugar.

Little Secrets

Like Sugarfina, Little Secrets is offering a more grown-up take on some of the most popular sweets. Tapping into consumers’ nostalgia, Little Secrets recreates crowd favorites like Kit Kats, Reese’s Pieces, and Twix with better-for-you ingredients. Little Secrets products use fair trade chocolate, non-GMO ingredients, and no artificial colors, flavors, or sugar alcohols.

Good Day Chocolate

What if a chocolate a day could keep the doctor away? That’s likely what the founders of Good Day Chocolate asked when they launched this line of chocolate products infused with supplements. Good Day Chocolate offers chocolate for the whole family with additions like melatonin, chamomile, probiotics, multivitamins, and caffeine. The idea behind the brand is that chocolate not only helps the medicine go down but also helps with absorption.

[Read more: How Hershey’s Turned Uncertain Times Into Sweet Success]

Honey Mama’s

Honey Mama's truffle bars are made using only whole-food ingredients. For instance, the brand’s pumpkin spice truffle bar includes real pumpkin seeds, real spices, no natural flavors, and no refined sugar. They’re keto and paleo-friendly, and get high ratings from industry critics like Bon Appétit.

Amos Sweets

This is one company that does want you to play with your food. Amos Sweets offers novelty gummies and lollipops — including 4D gummy blocks that can be stacked and connected like Legos. At a recent industry event, Amos Sweets also introduced audio lollipops that use bone conduction to send music through your teeth to your ears. “By pressing the button at the end of the stick and putting the lollipop in their mouth, consumers can have their own private concert inside their ears,” wrote Candy Industry.

Yumy Candy

Another brand to ride the healthier candy train, Yumy offers vegan, plant-based candy with only three grams of sugar per bag. The brand was valued at $50 million when it announced plans to go public in 2021. Today, Yumy gummies are offered in three flavors: peach, sour watermelon, and strawberry kiwi.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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