Dictionary.com boils down the sugar to describe the word “candy” as a single piece of “any of a variety of confections made with sugar [and] syrup” and “often combined with chocolate, fruit, [and/or] nuts.” Sounds pretty good, right?
You’re not alone if your mouth waters when you think about your favorite candy. In fact, candy has become so popular, they have it in bar form now!
Bad jokes aside, candy bars are enjoyed around the world for their unique flavors, appealing ingredient combinations and catchy commercial mascots. Chances are just mentioning the word “candy bar” conjures up flavors of your favorites.
Here’s a quick look at some of the best-selling and most popular candy bars of all time (in no particular order).
Mars Wrigley Confectionary boasts that Snickers is the world’s best-selling candy bar, and when the candy bar outpaced M&Ms in 2012 (with more than $3 billion in global sales) it was all uphill from there. Snickers bars have done pretty well for a candy bar first made in 1930 and supposedly named after founder Frank Mars’ favorite horse.
Snickers began life as the Marathon bar and only got its now-iconic label in 1990 when the Mars company decided to change the name. Now, Snickers is synonymous with settling your hunger, snacking on the go and chocolate/peanuts/nougat/caramel goodness around the world.
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar
The classic Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar is almost as nostalgic and delicious as a chocolate bar can get in the United States. The Hershey flagship candy bar is one of the oldest candy bars ever created—with nearly 120 years of history under its belt—and it holds the title of the first mass-produced chocolate in the United States.
In fact, the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar has been so prevalent as a chocolate candy bar in the U.S. throughout history that most Americans associate the taste of chocolate with the Hershey’s Bar. Eater beware, though. Hershey’s isn’t as popular outside of the United States, and many foreign countries would go as far as to say the classic American chocolate flavor tastes like vomit!
Cadbury Dairy Milk
The Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bar is also among the longest-living candy bars to-date, launching in the United Kingdom in 1905. The now world-renowned bar boasts the use of fresh milk from the British Isles, which gives it its distinct taste and texture.
Just like Hershey’s Bars helped define the taste of chocolate in the U.S., the Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bar has done the same for people in the United Kingdom. Not surprisingly, the chocolate feud between Mondelez International (producers of Cadbury chocolates worldwide) and Hershey (the producer of Cadbury chocolates within the United States) is still a hot topic. Due to a deal in 2015, you shouldn’t expect to see any true-to-the-original-recipe Cadburys imported into the U.S. any time soon.
Kit Kat bars were the first candy bars to focus marketing around the idea that sharing is caring, so to speak. “Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar” solidified its place in marketing history as a now instantly recognizable jingle, and sharing Kit Kats has gone global.
Hershey’s and Cadbury carved out their respective corners of the chocolate candy bar market, but Kit Kat was the first candy bar to gain a global following (thanks to the sharing concept). Some might even argue that Kit Kat is the most influential candy bar of all time.
Not a fan of Kit Kat bars? Don’t worry, the Japanese are super fans! You can find a wide variety of unique Kit Kat flavors in Japan like wasabi, sake, rum raisin, banana, apple, and green tea.
Honorable mention: Butterfinger
Butterfinger is a widely loved, one-of-a-kind “crispety, crunchety, peanut buttery” candy bar, with Butterfinger history stretching as far back as the 1920s. It’s been a staple of Halloween candy bags throughout the years, but you just don’t see them around as much as you used to.
The reason why Butterfinger deserves an honorable mention here, aside from its classic Bart Simpson-starring commercials and irreverent nature as a candy bar outlier, is the new “improved recipe.” “Better” Butterfinger’s new recipe is making waves in candy circles, so much so that it was awarded the 2019 Product of the Year award in the candy bar category.
Honorable mention: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
While not technically a bar, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have long been an orange-wrapped neighbor in the candy bar isle, making them worth listing here. Their bite-size iterations topped the list of most-sold snack size chocolate candy brands in 2017, with almost 172 million units sold in the United States alone.
Chocolate candy will continue to settle your sweet tooth
Every candy bar on this list includes chocolate as a main ingredient, which goes to show that people love settling their sweet tooth with some chocolate. Chocolate candy bars/packs account for almost 25 percent of all sales in convenience stores in the United States. Approximately five billion units of chocolate candy were sold in the United States in 2018, and seasonal chocolate sales in the United States are consistently in the billions of dollars year after year. The uphill affinity toward chocolate (both candy and candy bars) doesn’t show signs of stopping!