As the economy still tries to bounce back, the candy business seems to be booming—at least in the United States, where the dollar is stronger than a year ago and the euro and yen are down.

Several confectionery companies in Candy Industry’s 2023 Global Top 100 are expanding operations and building additional plants, while others are acquiring new business.

In December, Mars Inc. acquired West Valley City, Utah-based Trü Fru for an undisclosed amount. The 50-employee whole-fruit snacking company will retain leadership under current CEO Brian Neville. This is Mars’ latest better-for-you acquisitions after recently buying KIND and Nature’s Bakery.   

Chicago-based Mondelez International announced also in December it would be divesting its gum business in U.S., Canada, and Europe to Perfetti Van Melle, headquartered in Lainate, Italy, and Breda, Netherlands, for $1.35 billion. The deal is expected to close before the end of 2023. The announcement stated Mondelez wants to focus more on its chocolate, biscuit, and baked snacks categories.

Mondelez, who owns big-name gum brands Trident, Dentyne, Chiclets, and Bubblicious, will retain its gum business in Latin America, Asia, Middle East, and Africa, according to its global media relations manager, Desiree Battaglia.

In 2021, Perfetti Van Melle reported sales of €2.5 billion. Mondelez ended 2021 with confectionery and gum sales of $11.775 billion.

The year 2022 was a busy one for Mondelez as it picked up Greece’s Chipita S.A., California’s Clif Bar & Co., and Mexico’s Productos Ricolino—all three doing a combined 2 billion in sales annually. Mondelez is expecting to end 2022 with an 11% increase, projected at $14.413 billion. Perfetti Van Melle is estimated to end at $2.546 billion.

Other confectionery companies are expanding as well. The Hershey Company is looking to build a 250,000-square-foot chocolate facility to support its Reese’s, Kit Kat, and Hershey’s production capabilities, according to Allison Mason, of corporate communications. Final planning approvals were pending at time of press, she notes, with the facility scheduled to be operational in early 2024.

“The facility is located near our Reese’s plant and is part of a $1 billion investment in our supply chain network,” Mason continues. “This investment includes not only the new facility but also the addition of 13 production lines and the upgrading of 11 existing lines in other North American facilities.”

Hershey is expecting to end 2022 with over $10.3 billion in sales, which is over $1 billion more in sales than the previous year which ended 2021 at $8.971 billion.

Business also has been good in Bryan, Ohio, for lollipop and candy cane maker Spangler Candy Co., with its sales up almost 50% since last year. Chairman and CEO Kirk Vashaw of the family-owned business that’s been around since 1906, says sales increased from $120 million to $175 million in 2022.

Now, as one of the largest lollipop manufacturers in the world, Spangler is opening a second factory in February to make Bit-O-Honey, adding 25 more jobs. Its candy cane production is the only major producer of the Christmas staple in the United States.

Spangler recently moved operations of Bit-O-Honey from St. Paul, Minn., after acquiring the taffy maker in 2020. Spangler is known for Dum-Dums, which many children enjoyed after leaving a doctor’s office. It also makes NECCO wafers, Sweethearts, Circus Peanuts, Saf-T-Pops, and Canada Mints. The small town of Bryan has a newly-decorated water tower, thanks to the company, adorned with Dum-Dums.

In November, Ferrero Group broke ground on its new 169,000-square-foot Bloomington, Ill., plant and is expected to open Kinder Bueno production in 2024, adding about 200 more jobs in the area. This marks the first time Kinder products will be made in North America. Its current production campus in Bloomington already makes Crunch, 100 Grand, and Raisinets. 

The Italian confectioner’s latest sales on its website of €12.7 billion from 2021 increased by 3.4% over 2020. However, due to the lower valuation of the euro, it looks as if there was a decrease. The confectionery giant’s 2020 sales of €12.3 billion valued at $14,268 million dropped to $13,081 million in 2022, even though sales were up €400 million.

Ferrero’s North American presence is now over 4,400 employees with 12 plants and warehouses on the continent.       

PIM Brands Inc., of Park Ridge, N.J., has increased its sales YOY by $50 million, to an estimated $750 million. It hopes to open a new manufacturing plant in India by 2024. The new plant will host four mogul lines and extensive extrusion operations to support the growing worldwide Welch’s business. 

“PIM Brands continues to power through lingering supply chain issues as well as increases in its input costs,” says President and CEO Michael Rosenberg. “The company remains very optimistic in continued growth of the company and its brands and is still investing in expanding its North American business at the New Jersey plant and its global footprint post-COVID.” 

PIM Brands also aims to significantly expanding manufacturing and packaging facilities in Europe and is increasing its distribution in Asia, Mexico, Latin America, Australia, and Europe. 

Many other confectioneries had a good year as well, including Fazer Confectionery, of Finland, up 8%. Doúmak, of Illinois, is up 10% since Candy Industry’s summer story on the North American Sweet 60, but up 20% since last year.

Colombina S.A. is up 27% over last year, according to Isabella Henao Vallejo, director of communications. The Cali, Colombia, sweets maker had 32% of its sales in the sweets and cookies category corresponding to launches of new products, she says. The company also has over a 1,000 more employees due to seasonal production.

Throughout 2022, Colombina launched 13 new confections in the sweets and cookies categories. Bon Bon Bum Uva Mix, Chocolate bar with the brand Nucita, and Kojac pop strawberry have been successful, adding to its sales, she notes.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, Arcor’s confectionery division was up over $300 million in 2022 over the previous year. “Compared to the same period of the previous year, sales increased by 11.2% in Argentine pesos, growth that was driven mainly by the recovery of sales volumes from businesses abroad, which represented 30.8% of the consolidated sales of the group,” says company spokesperson Micaela Goldstein.

R.M. Palmer Candy Co., of West Reading, Pa., is up $10 million from this time last year. Georgia Nut Co., of Skokie, Ill., is also up $10 million from 2021 and making 16 million more pounds of product, according to John Drehobl, chief sales officer. 

“We continue to have supply chain challenges but are very focused on supporting increasing demand,” says Drehobl. The company has added new sugar panning and enrobing equipment to support its growing demand, and will be up and running by March, says Drehobl, noting, “both are state of the art lines with added automation.”

In China, Shenzhen Amos Sweets & Food Co., has increased sales, launched several new products, and opened its third plant with over one million square feet, according to company spokesperson Crystal Lin.

The new plant, located in Shenzhen, includes separate manufacturing centers each for novelty, nutritional, and Halal candies. There are modern and automated gummy production lines from Germany, she says, and other production lines for mints and hard candy. There also is an advanced R&D center, and a modern logistics and warehousing center.

Some of Amos’s new innovated products include TastySounds Audio Lollipop, which won a 2022 Buyer’s Choice Award in the Best Novelty category by Candy Industry in September.  

“It’s a mixture of technology and candy that has redefined the way of enjoying sweets by combining bone conduction technology and sugar-free lollipop and allowing you to listen to music through your mouth while tasting the candy,” says Lin.

Amos also launched a new 4D gummy series, Amos 4D Fruit Gummy Juicy Burst. The series includes peach, strawberry, grapes, orange, and pineapple varieties with vivid mini 3D shapes and juice-filled centers. Lin says they are already sold on Amazon and and will hit store shelves in the United States such as Ross and Party City in early 2023.

In Ukraine, a spokesperson from Millennium Chocolate Factory, part of Malbi Foods of Dnipro, confirmed the company is doing fine despite the war. 

“We are fine,” says marketing manager, Jane Stupak. “We are working. The war affected us. We have become stronger and work with even greater desire and inspiration.”

“At the end of last year (2021), we invested in a new chocolate line and at the beginning of the year (2022) we launched a new line of chocolate, which gave an increase in sales in a declining market.”

With the euro and yen dropping, other companies have seen a drop in sales due to the drop in valuation between the euro and the dollar, such as Kras Food Industry, of Croatia, which is down $10 million.

In other news:

  • Second Nature Brands, now owned by CapVest Partners LLC, completed its acquisition of Brownie Brittle from Encore Consumer Capital in December, but details were not disclosed. Second Nature, headquartered in Madison Heights, Mich., has annual sales around $188 million.
  • Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2022.
  • Dr. Adalbert Lechner became the new CEO at Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG in October. Lechner, who has been part of group management since 2017 started at Lindt as CEO of its Australian subsidiary in 1993. He replaced Dr. Dieter Weisskopf, who had been CEO of Lindt & Sprüngli since 2016.
  • Bahlsen GmbH & Co. KG, of Hannover, Germany, has a new CEO. Alexander Kühnen replaces Phil Rumbol who served as CEO from April 2020 to January 2021. There hasn’t been a replacement until now.
  • A. Loacker AG, of South Tyrol, Italy, has started making peanut butter wafers, chocolate-enrobed wafers and specialty biscuits, multigrain wafers, and sugar-reduced wafers.
  • Slavyanka, of Stary Oskol, Russia, has started producing industrial chocolate for B2B segment.
  • Nellson Nutraceutical LLC, of Anaheim, Calif., has new equipment that will allow the company to manufacture new shapes and sizes with textural and physical properties.