A Guide To Starting A Freeze-Dried Candy Business: What You Need To Know

A Guide To Starting A Freeze-Dried Candy Business

Freeze-dried candy emerges as a delightful fusion of flavor and texture, captivating taste buds and igniting a culinary craze that has swept across social media platforms like TikTok. 

With its lightweight, crunchy texture and intensified sweetness, freeze-dried candy has quickly become a beloved indulgence among the sweet tooth. It offers a unique experience, where each bite provides a burst of intense flavor and a satisfying crunch, setting freeze-dried candy apart from its traditional counterparts.

With this trend, many confectionery lovers are taking this newfound passion and turning it into a potential for a thriving business venture. Whether it's a quick snack or a lightweight treat when you need a sugar rush, freeze-dried candy satisfies the cravings of a diverse consumer base. With social media being able to capture the experience sans the taste, the thought of freeze-drying candy fuels a sense of excitement and inspiration within the community. 

The freeze dryer market has also expanded in recent years, making it more competitive. Many of these freeze dryers also offer candy mode, which entices more people to get freeze dryers and load this firmware. This also expands its use, opening up its business potential. But what can you expect if you enter the freeze-drying business? 

Know the Regulations 

Know your local regulations

Starting a food business, even from home, means playing by some rules. These rules – think Cottage Food Laws and local health department requirements – exist for a reason: to keep your customers safe! Here's what you need to know:

  • Cottage Food Laws: Many states have Cottage Food Laws that let you make certain low-risk foods (perfect for freeze-dried candy!) from your home kitchen. Find out your state's rules on what foods are allowed, where you can sell, and how much you can make.
  • Health Department Standards: Local health departments set guidelines for safe food handling. You'll need to follow their rules on things like sanitation, food storage, and labeling.

Why This Matters

Sure, rules can seem like a drag. But think of it this way: following the regulations shows customers you care about their safety. That builds trust, earns you return customers, and helps your business shine. Not to mention, you'll avoid potential fines or other legal hassles.

Don't let the rules intimidate you. Start by contacting your state's agriculture department or business agency to learn about Cottage Food Laws. Next, reach out to your local health department for their specific requirements.

Think of the regulations as a roadmap to success, not a roadblock!


Equipment and Supplies

If you already have a freeze dryer, you can start with that first. But if you don’t have a freeze dryer yet, read on. 

Harvest Right [5-Tray] Medium Pro Home Freeze Dryer w/ Mylar Kit


Many freeze dryers today come in different sizes and features. More often, freeze dryers are chosen based on tray space and food capacity. You want a freeze dryer made for food, not pharmaceutical freeze dryers, which have lower headrooms between each shelf, as freeze-dried candy may expand. 

Choose a freeze dryer that aligns with your production volume and budget. Consider capacity, size, and features when selecting a freeze dryer for your business. A small or medium-sized freeze dryer can be a good starting point if you're starting. 

Don’t forget to factor in the maintenance costs of your freeze dryers. Each freeze dryer uses a vacuum pump that may be built-in or separate from the machine. Those that are built-in are often oil-free and require less maintenance. External vacuum oil pumps require oil changes after several uses and are easy to do. Some brands, like Harvest Right, upgrade their vacuum pump for an oil-free mechanism that reduces upkeep costs

You will also have to consider the other tools you need. Consider having extra trays and mats you can alternate with while processing one batch. You also want packaging that complies with regulations and maintains freshness, such as airtight bags and mason jars. Always have supplies for packaging and the necessary labels needed. 

Choosing your Candies 

Not all candies are created equal when it comes to freeze-drying. Before adding candies to the freeze-dryer, you must know that certain candies are better suited for freeze-drying due to their composition and texture. So, which candies freeze dry well? 

skittlesSkittles, for one, are a popular choice for freeze-drying. Skittles expand and create a crisp, more concentrated fruit flavor when freeze-dried. Candies such as gummy worms, gummy bears, and jelly beans become crispy with a stronger flavor profile when freeze dried.  



Marshmallows also become crispy and make good edible decorations and gifts. The same can be said for hard candies, which make good decorations on cakes when crumbled. 




Pop rocks are also suitable for freeze-drying, maintaining flavor while losing their sticky texture. Chewy candies, such as taffy, expand when freeze-dried and become crisp and more flavorful. Cotton candies are also suitable for freeze drying as they maintain the melt-in-your-mouth consistency and are crispy simultaneously. 


Chocolate-covered candy

Chocolate and chocolate-coated candies will have varying results. Due to the fat content in chocolates, they may or may not freeze dry properly. The texture might be crisp outside, but the inside will be different. Considering that not all candies freeze dry well, you should experiment with a small batch first to see if the results suit your liking. 


When selecting candies for freeze-drying, consider moisture content, texture, and ingredients. Candies with high moisture content may require extended processing to achieve optimal results. In contrast, candies with added coatings or fillings may change texture or appearance during freeze-drying. 

Consider putting a lot of time into experimenting, which allows you to get consistent results. Fine-tuning the freeze-drying process will enable you to create unique and innovative freeze-dried candy offerings that appeal to discerning consumers who will come back for more. 

Sourcing the Candies

Bulk warehouse store to source candies

Knowing where to source candies for your freeze-dried business is also important. Not only should you know where to look, it’s also essential to know where you can get good deals, especially if you plan to buy in bulk. Luckily, you can go in-store or online for them.

One good place to look is your local retail stores, such as groceries, supermarkets, and specialty candy shops. Look for bulk sections that may offer affordable options. Popular retail chains like Walmart, Target, and Costco often carry a wide selection of candies that you can purchase in bulk.

Consider talking to wholesale suppliers and distributors if you can buy in bulk. These suppliers typically offer a vast range of candies at discounted prices, making them a cost-effective option for stocking up inventory for your freeze-dried candy business. Look for suppliers catering to companies in the food industry and inquire about their product catalog and pricing options.

You can also go to online stores on Amazon and eBay and look up unique offerings and popular candies available. There are also niche candy sites such as CandyStore,, and CandyWarehouse, offering a diverse range of candies in different flavors.

By exploring these sourcing options, you can find a diverse array of candies to experiment with and freeze-dry for your business. Consider factors such as cost, quality, availability, and shipping logistics when selecting suppliers and vendors for your freeze-dried candy ingredients.

Freeze Drying Techniques for Candies 

Freeze dried skittles

Like other freeze-drying applications, you shouldn't overload the trays with candy. You want the finished product to be even; hence, you must ensure that your sweets have enough space for the process. Note that some candies expand when freeze-dried, so it's important to allot space. 

Before we get into the different techniques for freeze drying, it’s essential to know the following tricks, which apply to whichever method you choose. 

Remove any wrapper on the candy and lay it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Candies freeze-dry better in smaller pieces, so break up any larger pieces to ensure even and consistent freeze-drying. 

The candies should be arranged in a single layer with space between them, as they can expand during the process. Likewise, the candies will freeze dry better when there is a distance between each piece. Freeze the candies for at least 24 hours before freeze-drying to ensure they dry evenly and don’t melt. 

When you begin freeze drying, keep an eye on the candy, as drying times vary per candy and thickness. Likewise, candy modes vary per freeze-dryer brand. Once completed, be careful when handling the freeze-dried candies, as they can be fragile. Some techniques enhance the outputs of your candy to ensure you get the best results.

Standard Technique 

  1. Load Your Trays: Arrange your candy pieces on your freeze dryer trays.
  2. Set Your Freeze Dryer:
    • No Candy Mode: Set the freezing temperature to 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the drying temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Candy Mode: Activate the "candy mode" setting (if your freeze dryer has one).

When to Use This Technique:

  • Classic Candies: Perfect for Skittles, gummy bears/worms, jelly beans, and most other candies.
  • Unique Shapes: Helps preserve fun shapes or textures in your candy.
  • No Fuss Option: If you just want an easy, reliable method for freeze-drying, this is it!

Warm Trays Technique

  1. Check for Candy Mode: If your freeze dryer has a "candy mode" setting, use this – it'll take care of the preheating for you.
  2. Preheat Your Trays (if no Candy Mode): Heat your freeze dryer trays in an oven to 90-120 degrees Fahrenheit (32-49 degrees Celsius). Important: Don't go hotter than 120 degrees, or some candies might melt.
  3. Load Your Candy: Once the trays are warm, load your candy onto them for freeze-drying.

When to Use This Technique:

  • Sticky Candies: Great for candies that tend to stick together during freeze-drying.
  • Shape Shifters: Helps candies like marshmallows keep their shape.
  • Light & Airy Treats: Works well for cotton candy and other light, fluffy sweets.

Hot Start Technique

  1. Prep Your Candy: Focus on hard or chewy candies that might crack during freeze-drying.
  2. Choose Your Heating Method:
    • Oven: Preheat your oven to 110-140 degrees Fahrenheit (43-60 degrees Celsius). If you're working with taffy, you can go slightly hotter, up to 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit (60-71 degrees Celsius).
    • Microwave: Use short bursts to avoid melting the candy. Keep the temperature within the same ranges as for the oven.
  3. Gently Warm (Don't Cook!): The goal is to soften the candies slightly, NOT melt them. Check frequently while heating.
  4. Freeze-Dry: Once the candies are warmed, start your freeze-drying cycle.

When to Use This Technique:

  • Hard Candies: Perfect for hard candies that could easily crack during freeze-drying.
  • Chewy Candies: Helps chewy candies maintain their texture and prevent them from becoming too brittle.
  • Taffy: Especially useful for taffy, since it can be extra prone to cracking.


Is a Freeze-Dried Candy Business Profitable? Analyzing the Numbers

Assessing your business’s potential profitability is also essential. To help you understand, here’s a simplified profitability model using freeze-dried Skittles as a sample. Note that other costs must be considered, such as location, market prices, and business setup. 



Freeze-Dried Skittles Simple Cost-Profitability Analysis

Category Details

50 ounces x 0.05% loss during freeze-drying =
49.975 oz yield of freeze-dried skittles

Revenue 49 ounces (rounded down) x sell at $5 per ounce  = 
Gross Revenue: $245 
Costs Cost of 50oz bag of Skittles: $11
Packaging cost: $0.20 per bag x 49 bags = $9.8
Total Costs: $20.8

Net Profit: Gross Revenue - Total Costs =
Net Profit$224.2 per 50oz bag of Skittles (1938.18%!!) 😱🤑

So, what does this mean for you? Starting with Skittles is a smart choice! Their minimal moisture loss ensures a high yield and maximizes your returns. While this is a basic example, it shows the potential profit margins you might achieve. Imagine the possibilities when you factor in strategies like buying candy and packaging in bulk – further boosting your bottom line. Remember, other costs like electricity and your freeze dryer investment, maintenance & other variable costs will play a role long-term, but this opens your eyes to the exciting potential of a freeze-dried candy venture!

Marketing and Sales

Once you have mastered your recipe for freeze-drying, it’s time to plan your business.  

Aside from purchasing the freeze dryer, you must also consider your other operational needs. As mentioned earlier, you must be familiar with existing laws in your area before proceeding. Acquire the necessary permits and ensure that your workplace passes the standards set by laws. 

Next, you must also be familiar with your market. Consider visiting stores, farmer’s markets, and trade fairs in your area to help you understand what your market is looking for. Look at what other stores have in stock and what their best sellers are. This can give you an idea of what the market likes and where you can focus.

Local food market exhibition

Establishing a solid brand identity is crucial to succeeding in this business. Your brand isn’t a name; it also represents the values, persona, and commitment to your market. Having a catchy and memorable brand sets the tone for your business and helps differentiate your products from competitors. Consider a name that reflects the unique qualities of your freeze-dried candies and resonates with your target audience.

Also, consider the packaging, as it compliments your branding. Your packaging is often the first point of contact between your product and the consumer, making it an excellent opportunity to make a lasting impression. Eye-catching designs, vibrant colors, and informative labels using a color label maker can attract attention and communicate the quality and value of your freeze-dried candies. Go for packaging that reflects your brand identity and creates a memorable customer experience.

And like any business, it’s always good to be on social media. As your treats should trigger senses, harnessing these characteristics to showcase your products is essential. Consider utilizing different media, such as reels, photos, and even stories.


Starting a freeze-dried candy business is an exciting and potentially lucrative idea, especially with the trend continuing to explode. With dedication and a little creativity, you can transform your passion for freeze-dried treats into a thriving venture. Here's a recap of the key points:

  1. Understand the Rules: Make sure to comply with Cottage Food Laws and health regulations.
  2. Invest in the RIght Gear: Invest in a freeze dryer that suits your scale, and don't forget accessories such as trays, bags, and labels.
  3. Pick Your Candies
  4. Master the Process: Experiment and perfect different freeze-drying methods to achieve the best results for a wide variety of candies.
  5. Know Your Numbers: Understanding your costs and pricing is crucial for making informed business decisions and ensuring profitability.
  6. Market & Sell: Build a memorable brand, get on social media, and find outlets (online or in-person) to reach your ideal customers.

Success won't happen overnight, but with a solid plan, dedication to quality, and a bit of entrepreneurial spirit, you could turn those crunchy, intensely flavored freeze-dried candies into a sweet business success story.

Ready to give your taste buds a whole new experience? Explore the world of freeze-dried treats! Don't worry, you don't need to be an expert – our top-of-the-line freeze dryers make the process a breeze. Check out our selection and choose the machine that's right for you. Your candy-making journey begins here! Shop freeze dryers for candy.