From sugar-free candy to craft chocolate to cannabis-infused chewing gum, these new treats could take over your Halloween goody bag.
From costumes to decorations, spending on Halloween in the United States is projected to reach $9B in 2018. Candy alone is projected to reach $2.6B in sales.
While M&Ms, Hersheys, and Twix dominate Halloween candy sales, old and new players are reinventing the candy experience for consumers.
Many new brands are positioning themselves as healthier candy options with labels such as “organic,” “all-natural,” “non-GMO,” and “preservative-free.”
Meanwhile, snacks, beverages, and healthier baked goods are gaining popularity and investor interest, and could eventually take up a bigger chunk of trick-or-treaters’ baskets.
We used the CB Insights database to identify 80+ brands disrupting the candy space across eight categories, from sugar and fat replacements to cannabis- and alcohol-based treats.
Scroll down to see the full list of companies in the graphic.
This market map includes private companies as well as select acquired brands and is not meant to be exhaustive of companies in the space. Categories are not mutually exclusive. Please click to enlarge.
Chocolate — The most well-funded company in this category is Unreal Brands, which produces better-for-you chocolates that feature non-GMO and organic ingredients.
San Francisco-based Dandelion Chocolate has raised $10M for its small-batch “bean to bar” chocolate factory. Tcho Ventures, a chocolate maker acquired by Japan-based confectionery products manufacturer Ezaki Glico earlier this year, has raised $4M.
Candy — Some companies in this category blend physical candy boutiques with e-commerce sites that turn candy into premium, giftable experiences. For example, Sugarfina has raised nearly $40M for its cocktail candies, gummies, chocolates, and more.
Other brands aim to provide healthier candy options. SNAP Infusion ($4M), for example, makes SUPERCANDY snacks that contain electrolytes and B vitamins, and SmartSweets ($2M) produces sugar-free candies.
Snacks & Beverages — Brands in this space produce better-for-you snacks. Wild Things Snacks, the brand behind Skinny Dipped Almonds, has raised $9M from CAVU Venture Partners, AccelFoods, and other investors. Other brands in the category produce sweet beverages, such as Rau Chocolate, which makes organic vegan drinking chocolates.
Baked Goods — This category includes baked goods and baking accompaniments. Online cookie delivery company Tiff’s Treats has raised $54M, while Insomnia Cookies was acquired by JAB-owned Krispy Kreme in July 2018.
Bakeries are also included in this sector. For example, Baked By Melissa, which has raised $6M, is a New York City-based bakery known for its bite-size cupcakes.
Broad Sweets — These brands sell a variety of sweets beyond chocolate and candy. SmashMallow, which has raised $10M from Sonoma Brands and VMG Partners, offers premium marshmallows made with natural ingredients.
Indian sweets and snacks delivery startup SaleBhai doesn’t currently deliver outside India, but plans to deliver its products internationally in the future.
Chewing Gum & Mints — Early-stage startups in this category are developing natural chewing gum and mints. For example, Simply Gum produces all-natural premium chewing gum and Ice Chips Candy offers 20 flavors of its natural mints.
Sugar & Fat Substitutes — Startups are developing biotech-based sugar and fat substitutes to help food brands reduce calories while maintaining sweetness. Among notable sugar substitute startups is MycoTechnology ($76M), which produces mushroom-based “bitter blockers” to sweeten foods. (We explore more sugar substitute companies here.)
Beyond sugar, Choco Finesse‘s Epogee ($290K) offers a modified fat that reduces calories from fat by 90% without compromising taste, texture, or appearance.