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The bite-sized treats claimed the top spot in the study among chocolate candy brands for the fifth time in eight years. The Hershey's Kisses brand routinely battles it out with M&M's Plain Chocolate Candy, which usually occupies the top seed when Hershey's Kisses doesn't, according to Harris Interactive.
Coming in strong in this year's study was Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Although always a strong brand, this year the peanut butter-chocolate combo moved to the No. 2 spot.
"For the last eight years, it has been a battle between Hershey's Kisses and M&M's Plain Chocolate Candy for the top spot as America's favorite," said Aron Galonsky, senior vice president of the Brand and Communications Consulting Group at Harris Interactive. "While Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Chocolate Candy is usually in the top five, 2012 marks the first time that it is a contender for the top spot. It will be interesting to see if it continues this momentum."
Hershey's and Mars products dominate the top chocolate brands this year, which include Hersey's Milk Chocolate Candy Bars, Kit Kat Bars and Reese's Pieces. Within the Mars family, Peanut M&M's, Snickers and Twix also made the list of top brands, the study found.
The 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend study separated premium chocolate from the larger candy field for the first time. Ghirardelli Chocolate, which made its first appearance in the Harris Poll EquiTrend study in 2008, is the top-ranked premium brand, followed by Godiva Chocolate and Dove Milk Chocolate.
When it comes to non-chocolate candy, Life Savers Candy holds the top spot. Other non-chocolate brands making the top of the list include Jolly Rancher, Tootsie Pops, Skittles and Starburst. And for the first time, chewing gum was sorted into its own Harris Poll EquiTrend category this year, with Extra Gum leading the pack, followed by Dentyne Gum, 5 Gum, Trident, Orbit and Stride Gum.