How to have your candy and eat it too (on the stock market)

Being a candy fanatic isn’t easy. As a kid, you had to put with your parents trying to “protect” you from the dangers of sugar. As an adult, you have to put up with people telling you you’re too old to trick or treat (as if anyone can ever outgrow free food).

Yet when you love something, you might as well invest in it. And if you really love candy, this could well be your chance to shine. Plenty of your favorite brands are listed on the stock market.

So, grab a Kit Kat and learn how to invest in candy. We promise we won’t Snicker at you.

Hershey Milk Chocolate candy bar
Wikimedia Commons/Hershey Company

You can focus exclusively on candy…

Several companies focus on producing candy and nothing else. This includes the two of the top three candy manufacturers in the US.

Everyone’s favorite childhood staple, the Hershey Company, is one of these companies. Hershey ($HSY) sells the third highest number of chocolates, licorice, and caramels in the states. Tootsie Roll Industries ($TR), on the other hand, makes Tootsie Rolls (duh) and other guilty pleasures like Junior Mints and Dots. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory ($RMCF), another player in the industry, is known for their in-store sales of old-fashioned chocolate, candy apples, and fudge, albeit on a much smaller scale than the aforementioned companies.

Many popular candy companies are privately held, which means you can’t invest in them. Spangler (Dum-Dums) and Jelly Belly (jelly beans) are both privately owned. Mars Wrigley Confectionery, the company behind M&Ms and Skittles and the number one candy producer in the country, is nowhere to be found on the stock market.

…or diversify a bit.

Most candy brands are part of a larger company with numerous unrelated divisions. In this case, sweets are sold through one brand, but the brands are ultimately owned by the parent company. If you want to invest in the confectionery subsidiary, you need to invest in the company as a whole.

The number two candy distributor, Mondelez International ($MDLZ), primarily focuses on selling snack foods. Along with selling Cadbury, Toblerone, and Sour Patch Kids products, Mondelez also produces cookies and gum, including Oreos and Trident. Nestle S.A. ($NSRGY), makers of Crunch and Raisinets, also has its fingers in a lot of pies. Though they sold their US confectionery brands to Ferrero, they still produce chocolates internationally.

Sometimes it pays to look at companies that you’d never expect to own a candy brand. See’s Candies, for example, is owned by Berkshire Hathaway ($BRK.A), a multinational conglomerate that also owns GEICO and Dairy Queen. ($FLWS) also sells candy, yet they make most of their revenue from their flagship brand.

We’re not trying to Twix you; candy stocks can be the real deal. Whether it’s through a candy-specific company or a giant food distributor, you can easily invest in the junk food of your choice. Just remember to do your research before making any final decisions. After all,┬áinvesting should take more time than deciding between Reese’s Pieces and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.