What’s in Halloween Candy?

halloween candy
Know the contents of your favorite Halloween candy?

Trick-or-treat, tomorrow night children of all ages will dress in their costumes and go door to door in hopes of acquiring handfuls of sugary Halloween candy goodness! But before your kids (or you) begin devouring all that candy, you may want to take a look at what’s inside.


First, preservatives. Preservatives are added to candies to lengthen shelf-life and prevent the candy from turning rancid before it gets consumed. Many different preservatives are used in candy such as tertiary butyl hydroquinone and potassium sorbate. Though the names sound scary, preservatives are a necessary addition to Halloween candy as they prevent the growth of mold, yeast or other bacteria.


Stabilizers and thickeners are generally added to chocolate bars and other chocolate candies to deliver a smooth and uniform texture. Ingredients such as polyglycerol polyricinoleate are thickeners that help blend the ingredients together.


Emulsifiers in candy keep the ingredients blended together keeping them from separating to keep the texture consistent. Soy lecithin is a common emulsifier used in chocolate candies to keep the cocoa and cocoa butter from separating.

Artificial flavoring & coloring

Artificial flavors are those made in a laboratory such as ethyl vanillin, or artificial vanilla. Artificial flavors are added to make the candy taste more appealing.

Artificial colors are man-made in a laboratory and appear on labels as “FD&C Yellow No. 6” and are added to make candy look more appealing.

Anticaking agents

Anticaking agents such as magnesium stearate, help non-liquids like salt to flow freely. These help nonliquid substances, such as salt, to flow freely allowing a uniform consistency.


Antioxidants are added to prevent fats and oils from turning rancid. A common antioxidant added to candy is butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA).

Leavening agents

Leavening agents are added because they release acid during processing which adds texture and volume.


These multipurpose acids are added to sour candies like Lemonheads, Sour Patch Kids, and Sweetarts because they add tartness, maintain acidity during processing, and can be a preservatives.

Natural flavors

Natural flavors like peppermint and caramel are added for taste and are derived from natural sources.

The following are test requests we have received from companies and organizations needing laboratories to perform their candy testing:

  • START-UP Importer needs food laboratory for ingredient testing and nutritional analysis of coffee candy. Company planning on relabeling and repackaging candies for sale in the USA.
  • START-UP Food laboratory needed for product development of a candy product containing botanical extracts to prepare prototypes of a candy product based on merging liquid concentrate/oil/extract with various candy based ingredients
  • Candy manufacturer needs food laboratory needed for sugar testing for ICUMSA (whiteness).
  • US Food laboratory needed for candy testing: analysis of percentage of ingredients in candies
  • Contract food lab needed that could test candies such as gummy bears to confirm that the gelatin used is fish gelatin and not bovine gelatin.
  • Candy manufacturer needs food laboratory for nutritional values testing.
  • Food Laboratory needed for FD&C food color testing on candy bracelet to define if they are FD&C standard.
  • Food Laboratory needed for reformulation batch testing of caramel candy products. Looking for batch tests to be performed based on new GMO free and organic recipe.
  • Georgia Food Laboratory needed for candy testing: foreign substance contaminant identification testing in taffy.
  • Food Laboratory needed for candy testing: accelerated shelf life determination tests to determine its expiry date on jellies/gummies to evaluate their shelf life.
  • View more test requests like this!

Need a laboratory to test you candy? Visit our website to submit a laboratory test request, or call us toll free at 1-855-377-6821 to see how we can help you find a laboratory to perform your candy testing!




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