Archive for the ‘Spangler Candy Co.’ Category

If you were saddened to see Astro Pops disappear from the planet in 2004, guess what? They’re back at Candy.com. And the new rockets are WAY bigger than the originals. The modern-day Astro Pop is 2 pounds, the original was 1 ounce.

“It’s got the wow factor, but people can still eat it, not just look at it,” says Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Astro Pops, LLC., the company that acquired the Astro Pop brand from Spangler Candy this past May.

When I talked with Ellia this past Friday, he said he was hugely disappointed when Astro Pops fell off radar in 2004 and decided to bring the rocket-shaped lollipops back to Mother Earth.

Ellia doesn’t have a candy background, so to revive the brand, he’s relying on his passion for the product, his marketing background, and his family tie to the Leaf Confectionery Company. (Leaf introduced Rainblo gum balls and reintroduced malted milk balls under the name Whoppers, among other things.)

“The whole Leaf family is excited to see candy back in the family,” says Ellia.

Back when Spangler owned the Astro Pop brand, it was touted as the “longest lasting lollipop on earth.” To bring the tagline up to today’s standards, Ellia has plans to roll out different sizes of Astro Pops based on how much time you’ve got. (Note to Ellia: I do hope you’ve carved out a good bit of time to figure out how many licks it takes to finish off a range of Astro Pop sizes.)

Ellia says the biggest size will probably be a 5-pound showpiece, which is based on the number of calls he’s getting from people interested in giant Astro Pops for wedding centerpieces. (I would think birthdays, graduations, and bar/bat mitzvahs might be a better fit for a rocket theme, but I certainly have been to my fair share of outer space weddings.)

The 2-pound Astro Pop, which is now available at Candy.com, has the same flavors as the original pop: pineapple (yellow), cherry (red), and passion fruit (green). It is pretty remarkable that passion fruit and pineapple were flavors used back in the M*A*S*H era.


If you’re one of the first 500 customers to buy an Astro Pop on Candy.com, you’ll receive a limited-edition version that’s numbered. And, if you place your order by Thurs., Dec. 17, you’ll have your rocket by Christmas.

Historical Note: In case you’re curious why Astro Pops fell off the planet for a while, here’s the story: This past May at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, Astro Pop, LLC announced its acquisition of worldwide rights for Astro Pops from the Spangler Candy. (Spangler Candy is the company behind Dum Dum Pops, Candy Canes, Circus Peanuts, and Saf-T-Pops.) Spangler bought the brand from Los Angeles-based Nellson Candy Company (the original inventor of the Astro Pop) in 1987, but ended up discontinuing the line in 2004. Many cried. One guy did something about it.

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Now here’s an interesting holiday fact from the National Confectioners Association (NCA):

“When eating candy canes, boys are almost twice as likely to crunch their candy canes than girls.”

Intrigued by this gender mind bender, I decided to do a little candy cane consumption testing of my own. Yesterday, my two children came home after school and I presented them each with a candy cane. They looked at me like I had 10 heads since it’s early November and candy canes aren’t typical after-school fare.

I watched with a careful eye as they consumed their canes while muddling through homework. And sure enough, my son crunched his immediately and my daughter took her sweet time to create a super-sharp point on the straight end to poke her brother. Little devil.

Crunch or no crunch aside, candy canes do have a huge fan base. The NCA reports that more than 1.8 billion candy canes will be made for the winter holiday season in traditional peppermint flavor as well as non-traditional flavors like super-sour, fruit, and tropical fruit.

Based on the number of newcomer brands to the candy cane category like Jolly Rancher, Now & Later, Sour Patch, Bubblicious, Jelly Belly, Cinnabon (yes, Cinnabon), etc., I would venture to guess that the 1.8 billion figure won’t be shrinking anytime soon.

Even so, I am traditionalist. Only peppermint candy canes for me this holiday season, and I’ll savor them to a nice, sharp point.

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