By Michelle Fox, CNBC.com
It should come as no surprise that Americans have a sweet tooth. According to SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago market research firm, people in the U.S. spent more than $7 billion for individual-sized chocolate candy bars, bags and boxes in just one year.
But where is the bulk of that money going? Here, we take a look at those best-selling individual-sized chocolate candies that are satisfying America's sugar fix. What you'll find is that oldies are still goodies - many of the top ten have been around since before World War II.
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And while we're looking at individual-sized chocolate candies under 3.5 ounces, we would be remiss if we didn't mention other sales toppers. Russell Stover is number one when it comes to gift chocolate boxes, Tic Tacs is the best selling non-chocolate candy, and Wrigley's is tops when it comes to regular gum sales.
Now, check out America's Top 10 Chocolates!
10. Almond Joy
Revenue Generated: $60.8 million
Unit Sales: 62.2 million
Peter Paul Candy Manufacturing, which was established in 1919, didn't invent the Almond Joy bar until 1946. Designed as the nuttier sibling to Mounds, it's made of sweetened coconut, topped with two almonds and covered in dark chocolate. Cadbury purchased Peter Paul in 1978 and Hershey bought the company's U.S. operations in 1988.
9. Milky Way
Revenue Generated: $70.2 million
Unit Sales: 84 million
Created in 1923, this chocolate bar was named after the popular malted milk shake, not the Milky Way galaxy. It was designed to capture the taste of the malted drink and is made of chocolate malt-flavored nougat and caramel-covered milk chocolate. Milky Way also has the distinction of being Mars, Incorporated's first candy bar, created in Frank Mars' kitchen. At the time, it sold for just a nickel.
8. Hershey's Cookies N' Creme
Revenue Generated: $80.4 million
Unit Sales: 80.1 million
This is the newest candy on our list. Hershey's Cookies 'N' Cream first hit the candy stands in 1994, and was billed as a unique twist on the classic Hershey Chocolate Bar. It's made of white chocolate and promises cookies in every bite.
7. 3 Musketeers
Revenue Generated: $100.7 million
Unit Sales: 102.5 million
When it was first introduced in 1932, 3 Musketeers was three pieces and three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. The candy bar is now a single piece made of fluffy chocolate-flavored nougat covered with milk chocolate. The 3 Musketeers family recently expanded to include a Mint bar and Truffle Crisp.
Revenue Generated: $169.9 million
Unit Sales: 153.4 million
Bringing in just under $170 million in sales, Mars' Twix sits right in the middle of our top ten list. The crunchy cookie, caramel and chocolate bar is a relative newcomer to the American marketplace compared other top sellers. It was introduced in the U.S. in 1979.
5. Kit Kat
Revenue Generated: $201.8 million
Unit Sales: 202.5 million
This British creation was launched in 1935 by Rowntree Limited of York and was originally called Chocolate Crisp. It was later renamed Kit Kat, allegedly after the Kit Kat club, an 18th century Whig literacy club in England. Nestle acquired Rowntree in 1988 and now produces Kit Kat for over 70 countries. In the US, however, you'll see a different name on the label. Hershey has been the licensed US manufacturer of the chocolate bar since 1969.
Revenue Generated: $249 million
Unit Sales: 264.6 million
The oldest candy bar on our list, Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar was developed in 1900 by Milton S. Hershey. Hershey wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the great taste of milk chocolate, which was a privilege only the wealth enjoyed at the time. So he started his chocolate operation right in the heart of the Pennsylvania's dairy county and charged just a nickel for his candy bar. From 1941 to 1945, The Hershey Company produced more than a billion rations bars for troops serving in World War II. These days, Hershey makes more than 373 million of its signature candy bar every year.
Revenue Generated: $386.2 million
Unit Sales: 405.3 million
Mars calls Snickers the world's most popular chocolate bar, although it is third on our list of U.S. chocolate candy sales. Introduced in 1930, the bar was named after one of the Mars family's favorite horses. More than 99 tons of peanuts go into making over 15 million Snickers bars each day, and each bar contains around 16 peanuts.
2. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
Revenue Generated: $398.9 million
Unit Sales: 366.2 million
The inventor of these tasty treats, Harry Burnett Reese, was a former dairy employee of Milton S. Hershey who decided to strike out on his own and make a living in the candy business. Reese began selling his peanut butter cups in five-pound boxes for candy assortments in the 1920s, and the candy soon surged in popularity. In 1963, things came full circle when Hershey bought the company for $23.5 million. Several decades later, the candy is still a hit. The company claims if you were to line up the Reese's sold annually, it would wrap around the earth several times.
Revenue Generated: $406.7 million
Unit Sales: 417.7 million
The best-selling chocolate treat on our list has been around since 1941 and was designed by Forrest Mars Sr. so consumers could enjoy their chocolate without having it melt in their hands. M&Ms, which was named after its inventors Forrest Mars and R. Bruce Murrie, were served to GIs serving in World War II and went on its first space mission in 1982. M&Ms are red, yellow, blue, orange and green, but it's red that gets top billing - it has been the official "spokescandy" since 1952. There are now eight permanent varieties of M&Ms candies, as well as seasonal offerings.
See the full slideshow of America's Favorite Chocolate Candies
CNBC Titans: Hershey premieres Thursday, July 28 at 10 p.m. ET, and reairs 1 a.m. ET.
By Michelle Fox, CNBC.com
SUPPER CLUB PICK
My after-school snack was a sacred ritual. I sat on the carpet in my parents' bedroom at a low table, the television turned to "I Dream of Jeannie," and ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich cut into neat squares. I wasn't fussy about crusts. I just loved the sticky pairing of creamy peanut butter with syrupy golden sweetness drizzled from a honey bear in diagonals across the soft white bread. Nothing else--save for maybe apples and peanut butter in a pinch--could have made for as sweet an