There is one true king in American candy.
For at least the past decade, Reese's foods, owned by The Hershey Co., has had the greatest market share in the candy world of any American confection brand. In 2015 its products were collectively valued at $2.3 billion, 28% higher than runner up M&M's (owned by Mars Inc.), according to data from industry analyst group Euromonitor. Reese's now has 7.2% of the entire candy market share, the group says.
Jared Koerten, senior food analyst Euromonitor, said Reese's has mastered the chocolate-peant butter flavor combination, which has subsequently become a staple of the American diet.
"Peanut butter and chocolate has a special place in the American palate," he said.
They have also aggressively sought to innovate new products and come up with ways to aggressively push the brand—Koerten pointed out you can now find everything from Reese's cereal to Reese's peanut butter spread.
As far as fastest-growing sweets brands, Mars, which makes M&M's, has seen the greatest market-share growth, though this has been mostly thanks to gum purchases. Among chocolate brands, Swiss-based Lindt is No. 2, which Koerten attributes to a rising preference among consumers for higher-end, more natural products. Some years ago Lindt began making chocolate bars advertising the purity of its chocolate, and the strategy has paid off. They also recently bought Ghirardelli.
"More discerning consumers are willing to pay for that if they have better ingredients," Koerten said.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.