There’s something soothing about the crackle of cellophane as someone opens a hard candy. It makes you think of your grandparents, always carrying a little portable treat in their pockets that they could pass along with a wink and smile. That’s why this Saturday, December 19, is National Hard Candy Day. So that we can all celebrate that simplest of joys in life, a quick sweet treat you can pop in your mouth and enjoy.
Candy Companies Near and Far
The majority of the world’s candy is made by a handful of very large consumer discretionary conglomerates. Your grandparents’ favorite, for instance, Werther’s Original, was originally named for the town of its origin, Werther in the Wetphalia region of the northern Rhineland. Today, the brand is owned by August Storck, a large, privately-owned candy company.
Of course, Werther’s was recently passed by Jolly Rancher as the nation’s top-selling hard candy. Jolly Rancher is a subsidiary of Hershey (HSY), one of the world’s biggest sweets companies.
After that, a number of other recognizable national brands dot the landscape, most owned by either Hershey’s of Mars, a privately-owned company that, like Hershey’s, operates dozens of different brands. However, there are also a number of smaller players that, while unable to compete with the big players on volume, are trying to put up a fight in terms of quality.
Tasty Sweets from Emerging Companies
Beyond the biggest national brands, there are a number of candy companies offering a quality product even if they lack the same level of recognition.
New Jersey’s Hillside Candy has been family owned and operated since its founding in 1945, when it eschewed mass production for a simple honey dropped that were individually wrapped. In 1980, it changed its name to Golightly to focus on the shift towards healthier, sugar free products. It began expanding, ultimately building multiple brands and over 100 products, including GoOrganic Candies.
There’s also Connecticut-based Torie & Howard, a maker of high-quality organic and all-natural candies. Howard Slatkin, interior designer and founder of home fragrance brand Slatkin & Co., went into business with color consultant Torie Burke to found the company after they each suffered health problems and then discovered that the market for healthy-but-indulgent snacks was woefully underserved. Today, they’re making treats that are as committed to being flavorful as they are to being organic, healthy, and eco-friendly.
Small is Still Sweet for Your Next Candy
Certainly, everyone has a favorite brand for their sweet treats. If it’s something like Jolly Rancher or Werther’s, more power to you. Familiarity and tradition are a big part of the comfort provided by such candies.
However, as long as it’s National Hard Candy Day, maybe try indulging in something from a smaller company. Emerging growth players will frequently offer higher quality than their major-brand competitors and could introduce you to just the sort of tasty treat you and your family can enjoy for years to come.
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