Even as the food industry has shifted to more health-conscious alternatives — swapping nut milks for dairy and plant-based innovations for meat — Halloween has remained largely unchanged in terms of its sweet treats.
America’s most popular Halloween candies have historically been a mix of offerings from global companies like Mars Chocolate and The Hershey Company. This year, according to data from CandyStore.com, America’s top-ranked Halloween candies include Skittles, Reese’s Cups, M&M’s, Snickers, and Starbursts. Americans don’t skimp on buying these treats in bulk either; projections estimate that Halloween candy sales this year will be about $2.6 billion with 95 percent of households expected to buy candy this holiday.
But even though these Halloween classics still reign in popularity, there are healthier alternatives to consider. Read on to explore some of the best healthy Halloween candy offerings out there and maybe even learn a thing or two about the people powering these rising brands.
1. Hu Chocolate
Those with any food intolerances will be pleasantly surprised to learn that they can have their chocolate and eat it, too, with Hu. Hu Chocolate is paleo, vegan, and dairy-free. The company’s philosophy is to encourage consumers to ‘Get Back to Human’ through the food they eat. Founded in 2012 by Jason H. Karp and his sister Jessica (Brown) Karp and brother-in-law Jordan Brown, Hu launched as a New York City-based eatery Hu Kitchen, a high-end kitchen and market focused on delicious, paleo-inspired foods with simple, real ingredients. Hu has since developed into a premium, multi-SKU brand portfolio of wellness-focused, vegan and paleo-friendly snack products.
Ever wondered what it’d be like to reinvent the most iconic candies without sugar, corn syrup, or preservatives? That’s how the co-founders of UnReal — Michael Bronner, Nicky Bronner, and Kristopher Bronner — approached their healthy candy venture that makes dark chocolate almond butter and peanut butter cups as well as coated chocolates with quinoa, peanuts, and more. Their products are made without GMOs, gluten, or corn but they don’t skimp on taste, proving that vegan candies are here to stay.
3. JJ’s Sweets Cocomels
Hailed as the original coconut milk caramel, Cocomels are dairy-free, organic, non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free. Founder and CEO JJ Rademaekers launched the company in 2010 at his local farmers market in Boulder, Colo., and the idea for JJ’s Sweets was quite literally a dream. Rademaekers recalled his Willy Wonka-inspired fantasy to recreate his favorite candies with a healthier twist. This dream led him to experiment with sustainably sourced, organic, better-for-you ingredients. His kitchen experiments resulted in award-winning soft caramels that are rich with flavor.
4. YumEarth Lollipops
In 2007, YumEarth’s two founding fathers Rob Wunder and Sergio Bicas were looking to create sweet and simple candies for their children to enjoy. Fast-forward more than a decade later and Yumearth offers a handful of treats that are created with the simplest flavors, colors, and ingredients and their organic lollipops started it all. Those looking for wholesome treats that are additive-free and made with all-natural ingredients should look to YumEarth’s offerings that include gummies, candy drops, sour beans, and more.
Interested in working at a candy or chocolate company making better-for-you treats? Explore our FoodForce division.