Archive for the ‘Brands/Companies’ Category

If you watched National Lampoon’s Animal House with a keen eye, you may recall the film’s Dean Wormer reading a list of pranks committed by members of the Delta House fraternity. One of those pranks was dumping a truckload of Fizzies® into a swimming pool during a swim meet. (That is pretty clever.)

I vaguely recall getting a packet of Fizzies in my grammar school days and tapping a candy tablet on my tongue before dropping it into a glass of water to get the little fizzle blast. My kids have never tried this trick—or Fizzies—so I’m feeling a bit neglectful.

Luckily, the Fizzies brand is still going strong in 2011. In fact, it’s back with all new packaging that includes the original Fizzies logo from 1957, and a starring role in one of Food Network’s “Unwrapped” episodes (see video below). As a nudge to try (or re-try) Fizzies, all flavors are 10% off at Candy.com during the month of April.

Chris Briggs, the national accounts manager at Amerilab Technologies, Inc., the manufacturer of Fizzies, gave me some inside scoop on the company’s only confectionery brand. (Amerilab is a leading effervescent contract manufacturer.)

Chris says Root Beer is the top-selling Fizzies flavor and it’s also one of the original flavors. The flavor lineup today includes Root Beer, Cherry, Orange, Lemonade, and Blue Razz. All five varieties are sugar-free, enriched with Vitamin C, and come 12 tablets to a pack.

In the mid-1970s, while I was busy watching “Bewitched” and “ZOOM,” Fizzies was owned by the Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Company, and was sold unsweetened with the instructions calling for the addition of “one tablespoon of sugar and ice.”

Nowadays, Fizzies is sweetened with sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda), and each tablet creates a 5-calorie drink. Chris suggests plopping Fizzies into carbonated beverages like Coke and 7UP to create your own version of Cherry Coke, Mountain Dew, or Orange Crush. Even better, he says, adult consumers can pop a Lemonade Fizzies into club soda on the rocks with a splash of Vodka, and finish it off with a twist of lime. Hello summer!

Chris also lobs out the idea of crushing Fizzies tablets and sprinkling the powder on ice cream or cupcakes. “If done correctly, you can get a bit of a zing. An unexpected flavor,” he explains. “The challenge is that moisture instantly begins the effervescing process.”

So, the trick for using Fizzies as a topping is to sprinkle it on fast and serve even faster. What kid wouldn’t love a good fizz with ice cream, cake … or Cheerios?

New Fizzies Tablets for Hot Beverages
This summer, the Fizzies brand will be expanding with two new hot products: Fizzies Hot Apple Cider and Hot Cocoa. Both will be debuting at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago.

Hot Apple Cider and Hot Cocoa are seasonal and limited editions to the Fizzies brand. These effervescent tablets (8 tablets to a pack) are designed to dissolve quickly in warmed milk (Hot Cocoa) and hot water (Hot Apple Cider). “The warmer the liquid, the faster the effervescent tablets dissolve,” says Chris.

To avoid messy powder packets in my own home, I’ll be giving these a whirl.

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Chicago was hopping yesterday. The Cubs, Blackhawks, and Just Born’s Peepster mobile were all in town.


Terese McDonald, the lovely and fun owner of Candyality, gave me a heads up that the Peepster and the Cub’s star pitcher, Ryan Dempster, would both be at her Wrigleyville candy shop. (Click here to track the Peepster’s next stops.)

Candyality shop owner Terese McDonald with her husband, Matt.

What a great day! As if on cue, the Peepster, with its big yellow Peep perched on its roof, pulled up to Candyality right after we parked the Gillerlain Mobile. The Peeps crew immediately started handing out Just Born’s new Peepster chocolates (thumbs up) and hats to a happy crowd.

My not-so-shy son walked up to “Peeps” the mascot, and asked the yellow fellow what he ate for dinner. I was curious to hear the response, but Peeps’ handler kindly told my son that Peeps didn’t make a peep. (If Peeps could talk, I bet he would have said blue Peeps.)

Shortly after, Ryan Dempster arrived in a cab straight from his game against the Pirates and signed mini bins filled with red, white, and blue “Cubbie Gummi Bears.” Sales of the candies benefited the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and supporting families affected by 22q11.2—a chromosomal disorder that Ryan and his wife Jenny’s daughter Riley was born with. (Riley came to the shop, too, and is adorable.)

After we got a chance to meet Ryan (really nice guy), my not-so-shy son was back at it with the questions. He asked the Cubbie which team gives him the biggest pitching challenge. Without any hesitation, Ryan replied, “the Atlanta Braves.”

That's me on the left with my daughter, son, husband, and the Cubbies' Ryan Dempster in the middle.

With that, we wondered up the street to grab pizza at D’Agostino’s, the local restaurant that just landed the pizza contract at Wrigley Field (love that!), and popped back into the Gillerlain Mobile to head home.

Great day! Thank you Terese, Ryan, and Peeps road crew.

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Overall Impression:

in Candy, Just Born, Inc., Marshmallow, News, Peeps

Wedding season is in full bloom—and magnified by the April 29 Royal Wedding.

Word on the bridal beat is that the “it” color for weddings is regal purple. According to TheKnot.com’s recently released 2010 wedding survey, purple was selected by 1 out of 5 brides (21%) for their wedding—up 50% since 2008. Losing popularity with brides is brown, which apparently plummeted 16% last year.

Colored Sixlets are one of Candy.com's most popular wedding candies.

Since purple (especially lavender) is such a hot wedding color and 14% of brides in the TheKnot.com’s survey said they had a candy buffet at their 2010 wedding, I put together a “Purplicious” board at Pinterest.com and filled it with a range of purple candies (see my attempt at a reproduction below).

Perhaps the young royal couple will see the Pinterest board and be inspired to treat their wedding guests to a candy buffet outfitted with All-Natural Lavender Honey Tea Spoons. Purple honey spoons could be the perfect accompaniment to the rumored royal fruitcake. :)

(Click on photos below for product details and to see Candy.com’s entire purple candy collection.)

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20 Mar

First Sign of Spring: Peeps Show 0

In honor of the first day of spring today and American Chocolate Week, March 20-26, I put together a Peeps show. What!?

Let me explain. Over the past few days, I’ve noticed a handful of newspapers sponsoring “Peeps Diorama” contests, including The Washington Post and The Denver Post. I must live under a rock since this is the first time I’ve heard of such a contest, and some are on year five.

Since it was a drab, rainy morning here in Chicago today, I talked my kids into making a Peeps diorama and sweetened the deal with American chocolate snacks: a Hershey’s Symphony bar and a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Almond bar. (My weak attempt at tying in the celebration of American Chocolate Week.)

We agreed on a “Hush, don’t make a Peep,” theme and collected the goods: shoebox, Peeps, edible grass, cotton candy, wrapping paper, construction paper, glue sticks, and scissors.

Sixty minutes and several chocolate squares later, we came up with …

Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail with visions of jelly beans peeping in their heads.

It’s a far cry from The Washington Post’s 2010 winner …

"Eep!" was based on the Pixar movie "Up."

(See slideshow of The Washington Post‘s 2010 winning entries.)

and the The Denver Post’s 2010 winner …

"Peepatar" was based on the 3-D blockbuster "Avatar."

(See slideshow of The Denver Post‘s 2010 winning entries.)

Even so, we had a great time tucking our Peeps into their box beds. It was a creative, kid-friendly project that would be fun to roll out at spring birthday parties, Easter gatherings, and future rainy days. If you get inspired, send me your finished-project pics.

Happy Spring 2011!

Photo credits:
The Washington Post
, Bill O’Leary
The Denver Post
, Cyrus McCrimmon

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