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Food Startup Aims to Disrupt the Candy Aisle

Food Startup Aims to Disrupt the Candy Aisle

Behave launched with three flavors of low-sugar, low-carb gummy bears, naturally sweetened with monk fruit (Photo courtesy of Behave Foods).

recent study reported that 36 percent of people had increased the amount of candy they were eating during the pandemic. But for many adults, the typical candy aisle selection does not speak to them, not to mention to vast amounts of sugar many products contain. That’s where Behave Foods comes in.

Behave Foods, a New York-based startup, introduced a sophisticated yet playful twist on healthier candy for adult consumers. Founder and chief executive officer Mayssa Chehata partnered with celebrity chef Elizabeth Falkner to develop the recipes for the brand’s reduced-sugar gummy bears.


Related: Sugar-Free Candies to Help Fight Cravings


Behave’s gummies are sweetened with monk fruit and chicory root fiber and feature lychee, passionfruit and raspberry flavors. The company aimed to introduce flavors that don’t tend to appear in candy, but without sacrificing the juicy, fruity taste of gummies.

A Food Network star and award-winning pastry chef, Falkner provided not only culinary expertise but also experience in consulting consumer packaged goods companies, which was key in scaling production.

Many lower-sugar offerings in the candy aisle are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols or stevia. The use of monk fruit differentiates Behave from other better-for-you brands while bringing a different taste profile to the category. A serving contains 3 grams of sugar, 6 grams of net carbohydrates and 90 calories.

A marketing veteran with prior stints at Daily Harvest, Uber and SoulCycle, Chehata branded the gummies with bold, minimalist packaging with irreverent messaging. She wanted to introduce something that could resonate with that adult consumer who may have felt pushed out of the candy category because of its high-sugar products.

From a branding perspective, candy isles typically feature products that are kid-centered. But Behave wanted to bring that freedom back into the candy experience for adults.

Behave planned a direct-to-consumer launch before the pandemic, and their gummies are available to purchase in boxes of six gummy pouches on the company’s website. This strategy was chosen to develop a one-on-one relationship with consumers.

Looking ahead, future product development may include additional flavors as well as a plant-based formulation, since the products currently contain gelatin. Behave currently uses Kosher, grass-fed gelatin, and it is working on obtaining a Kosher certification. The company also plans to bring down the price of the gummies to be accessible to more consumers.