MELVILLE, NY. — Milk chocolate and berry are among the top candy flavors enjoyed by children, according to new research from Comax Flavors.

Slightly less than a third of children (30%) said they enjoyed white chocolate candy bars, the company found, compared to 27% for dark chocolate and 70% for milk chocolate.

The findings come from newly released primary research on consumers’ behavior, usage and attitudes toward chocolate candy, soft chew candy, hard candy, and prepackaged cotton candy. The study focused on usage for children ages 3-17 years old.

The global cocoa and chocolate market is projected to reach $67.22 billion by the end of 2025, with a CAGR of 5.7%, according to Trusted Business Insights. Non-chocolate chewy candy generated $3.9 billion in the year ended June 14, 2020, up 5.2% from a year ago, according to IRI.

“Chocolate and candy are innovative segments that foster creativity in flavors, textures and packaging, and we wanted to better understand children consumers,” said Catherine Armstrong, vice president of corporate communications for Comax Flavors.

The study found peanut butter was a popular inclusion in the chocolate candy segment, with 64% of children consuming peanut butter inclusions in milk chocolate. Less than a quarter ate it in dark chocolate and 16% ate it in white chocolate.

Berry flavor reigned supreme in the soft chew candy segment, with more than half (60%) of children citing it as their preferred flavor. Berry also was the most popular flavor for gummies and sours.

Strawberry and watermelon were prominent flavors in the hard candy segment, with children ages 12 to 14 years (78%) and 3 to 5 years (67%) consuming the most strawberry hard candy. Strawberry also was the favorite hard candy filled with a center flavor among all ages (56%), except for 6 to 8-year-olds who, equally preferred caramel and raspberry.  

Strawberry was the most popular prepackaged cotton candy flavor for children of all ages (56%), followed by blue raspberry (48%), while watermelon was the most popular hard sour flavor and the second most popular lollipop flavor. Around half of children said they enjoyed watermelon lollipops compared to 58% who preferred berry lollipops.

Watermelon and cherry were the most popular flavors among children who consume lollipops with filled centers, with a quarter or more citing each flavor.