march madness

The sweet 16 of candy

Each March, 68 men’s teams from NCAA Division 1 colleges and universities are selected for the March Madness tournament “march” to the National Championship. People everywhere participate in contests and fill out brackets to try to predict which team will become the champ.

Sometimes brackets are completed in the most random fashion from flipping a coin or choosing the color of the uniform to the most aggressive mascot or the best coach. On the other hand, teams’ records, personnel, and scoring are endlessly scrutinized, evaluated, and debated. What’s fun about the tournament is its unpredictability, plus the best guesser gets some bragging rights, especially in the first two rounds.

We thought it might be fun to use this bracketology approach to choose winners and apply the approach to some sweet treats. So over the course of a few weeks through the Sugar Intolerance Instagram story, we polled the “Sweet 16” (literally) of candy.

Just like in the basketball tournament, the candies were divided into four regions: Sour, Fruity, Nutty, and Chocolate. Here’s how this tournament rolled:


Sour Region

Spree vs. Sweet tarts

Sour Skittles vs. Sour Punch kids


Nutty Region

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups vs. Snickers

Reese’s Pieces vs. Peanut M&Ms


Fruity Region

Starburst vs. Airheads

Jolly Ranchers vs. Gummy Bears


Chocolate Region

3 Musketeers vs. Milky Way

Twix vs. Kit Kat


Our Sweet 16 really were sweet, and the first round was definitely hard fought. The candies making it to the Elite 8 were Sweet Tarts, Sour Punch Kids, Peanut M&Ms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Starburst, Gummy Bears, Milky Way, and Kit Kat. The Kit Kat was the Cinderella story here, beating Twix in the last few seconds!

In the Final 4, Fruity was pitted against Sour with the winners being Starburst and Sour Patch Kids. Nutty and Chocolate squared off, and Reese Peanut Butter Cups faced the Milky Way. At the end of these battles, Sour Patch Kids and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups wound up in the finals. And the champion for this year’s Sweetest 16? Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. What’s your favorite candy?