The candy that contains the most sugar per dollar

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

News article image

Candy comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors. But the unifying trait of almost all candy is one ingredient: sugar.

Candy, after all, is sweet, and sugar makes it sweet. But why rely on subjective measures of sweetness?

We looked at the hard numbers to measure how much sugar your favorite candies contain on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Next time you go to the candy store, you'll know which candies are truly the sweetest.


I used prices for candy sold at Walmart in East Brunswick, New Jersey and Wegmans in Montvale, New Jersey. I tried to find the smallest package sizes possible to account for bulk discounts.

I calculated how much sugar was in each package and divided by price to determine how much sugar you could get with each dollar. I averaged the prices between the two stores to account for any sales that might have been happening that day.

The sweetest candies, per dollar

Of the 22 candies I looked at that were sold at both stores, Jolly Rancher, sold in a 14-ounce bag, topped the list. It cost $2.48 at Walmart and $2.99 at Wegmans, and at 11 grams of sugar per serving, with 22 servings per bag, you get 89.3 grams of sugar for every dollar.

Jolly Ranchers have the advantage of being cheap and containing tons of sugar. Each three-piece, 18-gram serving contains 11 grams of sugar. In other words, more than 60% of every dollar goes toward sugar.

Nerds, sold in a 5-ounce container, was a close second, getting you 85.5 grams of sugar for every dollar. This is another cheap and sugar-rich choice, costing less than a dollar and containing 14 grams of sugar per serving.

See how all 22 candies ranked:

If you're a health-conscious person, you might look at this chart and think, "Great, I'll just eat the candy toward the bottom of the list and I'll be set." No.

Basically any nutritionist, plus the World Health Organization, will tell you that most people eat too much sugar. Too much candy before a life insurance medical exam could spike your glucose levels and keep you from getting the best price.

Some nutritionists advocate for avoiding refined sugar entirely. That's what one of our writers did. Read what happened when he cut sugar, booze and coffee out of his diet for a month.

Image: kumeda