National Junk Food Day is right around the corner (July 21st). And I thought it was only appropriate to let everyone know just what our local areas favorite junk foods were. To help me in my quest for salty, sweet, and indulgent decadence I looked to for the latest 2023 study.

A man relaxing on a couch with sweets and beer
Credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz

It turns out that our sweet tooths may have soured just a bit in this latest take on the nations favorite junk food. Turns out Sour Patch Kids has now emerged as the USA's go to favorite snack. It was featured as 7 states' favorite snack (Arizona, California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and North Carolina). In addition, stand out performers included; Skittles, Pringles, and Starburst. Pringles appeared 12 times in states' top three snack foods topped only by Starburst with 13, Sour Patch Kids (12), and Skittles (11).

Tasty homemade peanut butter cups.
Credit: sara_winter

On the chocolate end of the scale, things were tipped heavily in Kit-Kat's favor as they were the most heavily featured chocolate bar (5 times). Reese's (which would have been my pick) only hit the list once and at number one in a single state: Ohio. Another odd duck out were Swedish Fish which made the list for Pennsylvania (#1) and Rhode Island (#2).


So how did our local states fair when choosing their top junk foods. Well for starters, Iowa picked a favorite classic cookie in Oreos. Unfortunately for Oreos, Iowa was the only state that favored them. It may have something to do with one of our fair favorites here; deep fried Oreos. YUM! In addition, Iowa picked Starburst in 2nd and Twinkies in 3rd.

cookies cream on white background
Credit: Pranee Tiangkate

Heading to our Eastern neighbors, Illinois seems to pick salty over sweet this time around, picking Pringles as there number 1 junk food. That was followed by Sour Patch Kids, and a movie house favorite Milk Duds. I'd like the duds more if they weren't so difficult to chew starting out.

Close up potato chips isolated on white background
Credit: nantonov

Next we head more North to Wisconsin. Their number 1 junk food was the classic M&Ms, followed by Goldfish, and the Animal Cracker. I wonder, were only toddlers the only ones voting in Wisconsin? These snacks seemed skewed closely to the elementary room, if you ask me.

Closeup of pile of colorful chocolate candies
Credit: SvetaVo

Overall the stats were collected over a year long period from July of 2022 to this July. In this vote, fast food restaurants were excluded, with this study instead referring to snacks available to purchase in stores. Sodas and chewing gum were also excluded from the list.

sweets,sweet,candy,jelly beans,sugar,flavors, colors
Credit: Gladys_Glez

Here's the full list featuring the top 3 junk food picks for each state:

  • Alabama - Butterfinger, Skittles, Pringles
  • Alaska - Fruit Roll Up, Gummy Bears, Chips Ahoy!
  • Arizona - Sour Patch Kids, Funyuns, Nerds
  • Arkansas - Doritos, Skittles, Milk Duds
  • California - Sour Patch Kids, Kit Kat, Ruffles
  • Colorado - Gummy Bears, Skittles, Pringles
  • Connecticut - Granola Bar, Sour Patch Kids, Nerds
  • Delaware - Sour Patch Kids, Nerds, Chips Ahoy!
  • District of Columbia - Starburst, Sour Patch Kids, Nerds
  • Florida - Nerds, Fruit Roll Up, Oreos
  • Georgia - Milk Duds, Skittles, Sour Patch Kids
  • Hawaii - Gummy Bears, Kit Kat, Nerds
  • Idaho - Skittles, Gummy Bears, Twinkie
  • Illinois - Pringles, Sour Patch Kids, Milk Duds
  • Indiana - Pringles, Sour Patch Kids, Twinkie
  • Iowa - Oreos, Starburst, Twinkie
  • Kansas - Cheez-It, Skittles, Animal Crackers
  • Kentucky - Butterfinger, Animal Crackers, Starburst
  • Louisiana - Fruit Roll Up, Milk Duds, Skittles
  • Maine - Animal Crackers, Kit Kat, Pringles
  • Maryland - Sour Patch Kids, Pringles, Starburst
  • Massachusetts - Sour Patch Kids, Starburst, Kit Kat
  • Michigan - Sour Patch Kids, Starburst, Pringles
  • Minnesota - Starburst, Kit Kat, Pringles
  • Mississippi - Ruffles, Butterfinger, Funyuns
  • Missouri - Animal Crackers, Pringles, Starburst
  • Montana - Pringles, Skittles, Starburst
  • Nebraska - Skittles, Starburst, Milk Duds
  • Nevada - Kit Kat, Ruffles, Sour Patch Kids
  • New Hampshire - Milky Way, Sour Patch Kids, Kit Kat
  • New Jersey - Chips Ahoy!, Kit Kat, Sour Patch Kids
  • New Mexico - Beef Jerky, FRITOS, Funyuns
  • New York - Kit Kat, Sour Patch Kids, Pringles
  • North Carolina - Sour Patch Kids, Nerds, Milk Duds
  • North Dakota - Twizzlers, Starburst, Kit Kat
  • Ohio - Reese's, Sour Patch Kids, Skittles
  • Oklahoma - Cheez-It, Pringles, Skittles
  • Oregon - Kit Kat, Pringles, Twinkie
  • Pennsylvania - Swedish Fish, Animal Cracker, Twizzlers
  • Rhode Island - Animal Crackers, Swedish Fish, M&Ms
  • South Carolina - Nerds, Skittles, Pringles
  • South Dakota - Baby Ruth, 3 Musketeers, Snickers
  • Tennessee - Butterfinger, Sour Patch Kids, Starburst
  • Texas - Funyuns, Whatchamacallit, Sour Patch Kids
  • Utah - Pringles, Gummy Bears, Kit Kat
  • Vermont - Animal Crackers, M&Ms, Starburst
  • Virginia - Nerds, Kit Kat, Sour Patch Kids
  • Washington - Kit Kat, Pringles, Starburst
  • West Virginia - Animal Cracker, Kit Kat, Doritos
  • Wisconsin - M&Ms, Cheddar Goldfish, Animal Cracker
  • Wyoming - Twinkie, Twix, Skittles

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