Favorite foods have always differed by region of the country, and love of candy is no different.
While there’s always the odd Necco Wafer nut, black licorice booster or cotton candy connoisseur, most people fall into one of two candy-loving categories: those craving rich chocolates and those who want fruitier, sweeter candies.
The National Confectioners Association (NCA) ranks the two most popular types of candy in the country as chocolate followed by gummies. Third on the list is the consistently controversial candy corn.
Although candy likes and dislikes are unique to individuals, there are clear geographical taste differences. Here are the preferred kinds of candy in the country’s four regions (as defined by the U.S. Census).
(Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania)
According to CandyStore.com, a bulk candy retailer and distributor, Sour Patch Kids are the biggest sellers in three of the nine Northeastern states, while in the others, people prefer a mix of chocolatey treats, like M&M’s, Twix and Hershey’s Mini Bars. New Yorkers love those mouth-puckering sour kids so much that they’ve made them the top seller in that state, purchasing 138,750 pounds a year on average, followed by 129,337 pounds of Hot Tamales. If you want a chocolate fix in the tristate area, head to New Jersey or Connecticut, where the favorites are M&M’s and Almond Joy, respectively.
New Yorker Ron Bailey, 76, a retired educator in Penfield, puts his money on chocolate. “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the ones that get me now; Mars Bars were my favorite candy back when I was a kid growing up in Syracuse,” says Bailey, who admits to sneaking the Halloween candy he buys for trick-or-treaters a good month before the big day. “You say, ‘I’ll just eat a little bit of this and then set the rest aside for the kids,’ but then we end up going back to the store because it’s all gone by Halloween.”
(Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas)
Of the dozen states in the middle of the nation, only four run up a big tab for chocolate: Wisconsin (Butterfinger), Missouri (Milky Way), Iowa (M&M’s) and Kansas (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups). The rest seems to prefer the sugary, fruity stuff, with North Dakotans spicing it up with Hot Tamales.