SEATTLE — SkinnyDipped, a maker of coated almonds, peanuts and cashews, is diving into the candy category with the launch of chocolate bars and peanut butter cups.

The brand’s new offerings include a dark chocolate almond bar, a dark chocolate salted caramel bar, dark chocolate peanut butter cups and milk chocolate peanut butter cups. Featuring a blend of maple sugar, cane sugar and allulose, the confections have up to 79% less sugar than leading brands and are made without stevia or sugar alcohols.

Mother and daughter duo Val and Breezy Griffith, who launched the brand in 2012, developed the treats to fill a gap between chocolate bars and peanut butter cups made with sugar and lower sugar options that leave an undesirable aftertaste or cause stomach upsets.

“We worked really hard to create a full sugar experience for the consumer with just a few grams of sugar and without using sugar alcohols or stevia,” Breezy Griffith said. “A lot of people are looking for things that are free from stevia because you get the bitter aftertaste.”

Sugar alcohols have the potential to disrupt gut functioning and may contribute to gas, bloating and stomach pain, she added.

“Consumers are becoming more educated about the use of sugar alcohols and their connection to gut health,” she said. “I’ve been challenged by that myself, and now I have a much better understanding of the importance of gut health and not eating options that have sugar alcohols.”

The chocolate bars and peanut butter cups are the latest in a series of new launches from the Seattle-based brand. SkinnyDipped last year introduced two new dipped almond flavors, including its first vegan offering, and expanded beyond almonds with the launch of dipped cashews and peanuts. Now, it is looking to play in different areas of the retail store. 

“We wanted to go from being a coated nut brand to a platform brand,” Val Griffith said. “Moving into this adjacent category felt like a natural evolution. We really listened to consumers and what they were looking for. We felt like there was room in the market for the kind of products we do really well, which is threading the needle between health and indulgence and creating delicious snacks with a really clean ingredient deck.”

The founders already are eyeing opportunities for reduced sugar innovation in other categories.

“We’re not looking at sugar reduction as just a trend,” Breezy Griffith said. “Everybody understands that it is a trend, but for us, it is part of the brand’s DNA. It has been there from the beginning. What we’re doing is taking trends into consideration and marrying that with things we believe people will want to eat for a long time.”