Since 1921, See's Candies has been satisfying America's sweet tooth with a variety of chocolates, lollipops, peanut brittle, and other treats. It was started as a family business and has grown through the years to an enterprise that operates over 200 stores throughout the U.S., with international stores in Hong Kong, Singapore, and other countries.
The company also sells its confections in certain mall kiosks, online, and through other select retail outlets. See's offers special pricing on its products for schools and other fundraising efforts.
See's Candies Trivia by the Numbers
- See’s sells over 26 million pounds of candy per year, which is manufactured in its two factories in Los Angeles and South San Francisco.
- See’s makes over 1 million pounds of candy per year specifically as sample giveaways for customers—the secret to food business success. These samples are what created the "Happy Habit" (their long-time slogan) for many customers.
- See’s produces over 1 billion pieces of candy annually.
- Chocolate is See’s highest-volume ingredient—more than 12 million pounds of chocolate is used each year in their candy. For the past 26 years, See’s has used a special formula of chocolate from the family-owned Guittard Chocolate company. Little known fact: you can see the See's lollypop factory from the Guittard Chocolate factory. That's local sourcing!
- On July 18, 2012, See’s Candies set the Guinness World Record for “World’s Largest Lollypop.” The lollypop was made at the See’s lollypop factory at Burlingame, CA, and weighed 7,003 pounds. The 16-foot-7-inch-tall lollypop was chocolate flavored.
- See’s makes 47 million lollypops per year. About 15 million of these are butterscotch, the best-selling flavor.
- The lollypop factory can make up to 500,000 lollypops per day, which is 600 per minute!
- The See's Facebook page has nearly 1 million likes. Given that this company is not a national retail brand, that's pretty impressive!
How Has See's Kept up With the Times?
- Some of the most popular See's candy flavors include Milk Chocolate Bordeaux, Scotchmallow, and California Brittle. See's sticks to the basics, focuses on favorites, and discontinues slow-sellers. The most popular lollypop flavor is Butterscotch.
- See’s is not gluten-free certified, but all of the products and factories are gluten-free. As part of getting a gluten-free certification, the inspector verifies that raw ingredients are being sourced from an NSF certified gluten-free supplier. According to a spokesperson, because See's ingredient suppliers are not certified gluten-free, at this point the company is not planning on pursuing certification.
- See's lollypops are made in a nut-free facility.
- Vintage street team-style marketing got the word out about the original See's store in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times: "Tapping into the growing L.A. love for the automobile, [Charles] See employed couriers riding sidecar-equipped Indian motorcycles decorated with miniature replicas of the shop with the black-and-white See's logo to deliver chocolate around town."
- See's has stopped making various flavors as tastes and customer preferences changed. Maybe you've tried one of these flavors:
- Anise Lollipop
- Black Walnut Cream and Bonbon
- Brazil Nut Square
- Coffee Nut Cup Caramel
- Monterey Squares (Contained Dates, Prunes, and Raisins)
- Pineapple Jelly
See's Has Strong Brand Equity
The company has such a high level of brand equity that they can raise the price 5% to 10% each year, and customers keep coming back. For the price-sensitive, See's sells discounted gift certificates at Costco so all of its customers can keep their Happy Habit of enjoying See's Candies.
Warren Buffet's "dream company" has much to offer both the candy lover and the seeker of insights on businesses built to last.