The Most Popular Candies in 20 Countries
No matter where you are in the world, a good candy bar usually isn’t hard to find. The treats you’d come across abroad may not resemble what’s in your local corner store, but that doesn’t make them any less delectable. Here are the most popular candies people choose to indulge their sweet tooth with in 20 countries around the globe.
1. THAILAND // KIT KAT
Compared to the rest of the world, Thailand’s chocolate consumption is relatively low. When they do indulge, however, they choose to break into a Kit Kat. The chocolate bar is the best-selling candy product in the nation (unless you count cough drops, in which case it would be Halls).
2. UK // CADBURY DAIRY MILK
In 2014, Cadbury sold nearly $527 million worth of its beloved Dairy Milk bars. Cadbury Dairy Milk is distinct from other candy that’s popular on the continent in that its flavor profile is “milkier” than how most Europeans prefer their milk chocolate [PDF].
3. TURKEY // ÜLKER
Ülker, which is owned by the same company as Godiva, brands themselves as “the most popular chocolate in Turkey.” The candy brand earns approximately half of the country’s total chocolate and biscuit sales each year. Ülker sells many different chocolate varieties, including bars filled with wafers, caramel, and pistachios.
4. CHINA // DOVE
In China, this American-headquartered candy brand reigns supreme. Dove makes up an impressive 34 percent of the nation’s total chocolate consumption. To put that into perspective, China was projected to consume a whopping 220,700 tons of chocolate last year alone.
5. GERMANY // MILKA
Milka chocolate bars originated in Berlin in 1901 [PDF], but they didn’t become Germany’s most popular candy until the 1960s. Today they gross more than $730 million a year, beating out the country’s runner-up Lindt by more than $230 million. The candy can be recognized by its mauve wrapper depicting a cow against snow-covered mountains, the same image that’s been used since the brand was first trademarked.
6. BRAZIL // LACTA
This chocolate line has been a leader in the Brazilian candy market for the past 100 years. A few Lacta brand offerings include their aerated “Bubbly” bar and a white chocolate treat with Oreo pieces.
7. POLAND // PTASIE MLECZKO
The best-selling candy product in Poland is this fluffy treat from Cadbury [PDF]. Ptasie Mleczko consists of a light, meringue center with a chocolate glaze coating the outside. The name translates to “Bird's Milk,” a regional phrase derived from a Slavic fairytale. In the story, a princess tests her suitors by asking them to fetch her bird’s milk, something she believes will be impossible to find. It’s for that reason that the idiom is now used to describe something that’s considered precious and rare. In the case of the candy, it has the secondary significance of referring to two of the primary ingredients: eggs and milk.
8. SOUTH KOREA // GHANA CHOCOLATES
Ghana brand chocolates are named for the West African country their cacao beans are sourced from. The treat’s creamy texture has made it a sweet favorite in parts of Asia—especially in South Korea, where the chocolate company leads the country’s candy market.
9. INDIA // CADBURY DAIRY MILK
While Cadbury is normally associated with its origins in the UK, the candy company’s India branch has been up and running since 1948. From 2010 to 2015, India was the world’s fastest growing chocolate market in value sales. The Cadbury Dairy Milk brand alone accounts for nearly 41 percent of the marketshare of India’s chocolate category.
10. DENMARK // HARIBO
Denmark is one of the few countries that prefers gummies over chocolate. The Haribo candy company is most famous for their gummy bears, but they also produce licorice, gummy worms, and a range of other sugary treats. Danes are some of the most voracious candy consumers on earth, with each citizen eating an average of 18 pounds of candy per year (that’s twice as much as the average European). One University of Southern Denmark anthropologist attributes this behavior to the local tradition of hygge (translated to “coziness”) that’s practiced during the long, cold winter months. In Denmark, this often includes indulging in snacks and candy with loved ones.
11. JAPAN // KIT KAT
While Meiji is the best-selling chocolate brand in the country, Kit Kat bars earn the distinction of being Japan’s most popular single chocolate treat. Most Americans are familiar with the snappy confection, but their Japanese counterparts are something else all together. A few of the more than 80 Kit Kat flavors sold in Japan include strawberry cheesecake, purple sweet potato, and wasabi.
12. ISRAEL // ELITE
Elite brand chocolate dominates the Israeli candy market. The company was founded in the region by a Jewish-Russian immigrant in 1934, and the candy has been a childhood staple there ever since. One of the brand’s most popular product is Pesek-zman, which is like a Kit Kat bar with hazelnut cream inside. The candy bar is so popular that it even has its own ice cream spin-off.
13. SOUTH AFRICA // CADBURY DAIRY MILK
In this former British colony, Cadbury Dairy Milk also nabs the title of most popular chocolate. South Africans' favorite variety is the Cadbury Lunch Bar, approximately 300,000 of which are sold per day. Other popular choices amongst locals include Dairy Milk Wholenut and Dairy Milk Top Deck.
14. ICELAND // PRINCE POLO
One of Poland’s most popular exports, this chocolate-covered wafer bar is the most beloved candy amongst Icelanders. When heavy import restrictions were in effect in Iceland a few decades ago, Prince Polo was the only foreign candy available in the country. During his visit to Poland in 1999, former Iceland Prime Minister Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said an entire generation of Icelanders were raised on the candy bar. Today it’s estimated that over a pound of the confection is consumed per Iceland resident each year.
15. SAUDI ARABIA // GALAXY
In Saudi Arabia, Dove Chocolate is branded as the exceedingly popular Galaxy candy bars (this is also the name they’re given in the UK). The two products are practically identical, right down to their design style. The brand expanded its presence in Saudi Arabia in 2014 when they opened a $60 million chocolate factory there. In addition to the traditional chocolate bars, Galaxy plans to introduce new flavors to the region like “Cookie Crumble.”
16. RUSSIA // ALPEN GOLD
The favorite candy brand amongst Russians is this popular line of chocolate bars. They come available in milk, dark, and white chocolate varieties and can include hazelnuts, coffee beans, liqueur, and other decadent additions.
17. CHILE // AMBROSOLI
Though the company was founded in Italy, Ambrosoli candies have found remarkable popularity in Chile. Today the brand manufactures a diverse variety of chocolates, caramels, and fruit candies in the South American country.
18. BELGIUM // CÔTE D’OR
Chocolate is popular around the world, and of course Belgium is no exception. As of 2012, Côte d’Or was selling more than 600 million chocolates to Belgians per year [PDF]. The chocolate bar comes in several varieties, some of which include marzipan, praline, or cranberry fillings.
19. CANADA // KIT KAT
In addition to being beloved both at home and overseas, Kit Kat bars are also a favorite of our neighbors to the north. Canada is one of over 100 countries where Kit Kats are sold. According to Nestlé, they’re so popular that 700 Kit Kat fingers are reportedly consumed every second.
20. U.S. // M&Ms
The U.S. is the largest chocolate market in the world, and a big portion of the chocolate we buy comes in a colored candy coating. M&Ms are the best-selling candy in America, boasting annual sales of $673.2 million. And if you were rooting for Reese’s to take the top spot, don’t be discouraged—Hershey’s peanut butter cups come in at a close second.