Archive for the ‘Marshmallow’ Category

Sweets and Snacks Expo

 

Ready, set, go!

It’s off to opening day of the National Confectioners Association‘s annual Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago. This 3-day sugarlicious industry event is candy heaven. Rows and rows of candy manufacturers display their latest confections to hungry retail buyers from all over the world.

We’ve already got a “hot list” of new products we know we want to to see (and sample!) top o’ the morning, including …

Baby Blue and Pink Gummy Bears
Not sure what’s cooler. The colors or the flavors of these gummy bears. Albanese Confectionery Company‘s translucent Baby Blue Blueberry and Baby Pink Grapefruit Gummy Bears have huge potential for baby showers and weddings. I’m quite sure they’ll live up to expectations.

Sweethearts Marshmallows
Heart-shaped Marshmallow Sweethearts® are headed to love birds everywhere this Valentine’s Day. Just like classic Sweethearts® (Sweethearts is a registered trademark of New England Confectionery Company), the new fluffy, puffy marshmallow hearts will feature sweet nothings like “Hug me,” “Smile,” and “Be Mine.” Manufactured by the Spangler Candy Company, the hearts will come in sweet little 1.6-ounce pink boxes and an assortment of flavors (Strawberry, Grape, Green Apple, and Blue Raspberry). Think of the possibilities for dressing up cupcakes, cookies, cake pops, Rice Krispie Treats, S’mores, ice cream, hot cocoa … oh my!

Astro Pops
Two years after acquiring the retired Astro Pop brand from the Spangler Candy Company, Leaf Brands, LLC is bringing the classic Cherry, Passion Fruit, and Pineapple-flavored rocket pops back to life in two sizes: original 1 oz. for mass merchants, and 1.5 oz. for smaller retailers. To ensure that the 2012 Astro Pop was made exactly the way everyone remembered it—down to the wax and clear wrapper—Leaf Brands enlisted the help of its Facebook friends. Based on product photos, it looks spot on.

In other Leaf Brands news, the company now owns the rights to Bonkers and Wacky Wafers, so be on the lookout for those two classic comebacks in 2013.

 

Justin’s All-Natural Candy Bars
According to Justin’s press info, the company’s new All-natural Candy Bar line (including Milk Chocolate Peanut, Dark Chocolate Peanut, and Milk Chocolate Almond) contains “25% less sugar, 50% more protein, and 100% more fiber than the leading conventional candy bar, Snickers®.” Beyond that, Justin’s “uses only all-natural and organic ingredients, has no hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives or trans fats, and is also gluten free.”

Um, that’s a mouthful. How can you not be curious enough to give these a road test?

 

DOVE Cookies and Crème Bars and Promises
Coming September 2012: DOVE® Silky Smooth Cookies & Crème Bars and Promises from Mars Chocolate North America. It’s sweet and creamy white chocolate and crunch chocolate cookie bits under the DOVE umbrella. Enough said.

 

Wild Ophelia Candy Bars
Katrina Markoff, the brainchild behind Vosges Haut-Chocolat, has a new venture, Wild Ophelia: Taking an American Road Trip Through Chocolate. Her latest line of exotic dark and milk chocolate bars are smaller than traditional Vosges bars (2 oz. vs. 3 oz.), and less expensive ($4.50-ish vs. $7.50-ish).

Wild Ophelia exhibited at last year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo, but with only five bars. This year, the brand has blossomed into nine bars, including Peanut Butter & Banana, Salted Chowchilla Almond, Smokehouse BBQ Potato Chips, Sweet & Crispy Caramel Corn, Beef Jerky, Southern Hibiscus Peach, New Orleans Chili, Mount Sequoia Granola, and  Sweet Cherry Pecan. BBQ potato chips blended with dark chocolate sounds both disgusting and inviting. Must try!

 

Blue Raspberry and Wild Cherry Bonomo Turkish Taffy
The Warrell Corporation brought Bonomo Turkish Taffy out of retirement two years ago. This year, Warrell is expanding its nostalgic and incredibly chewy (the last time I sampled Bonomo Turkish Taffy, I lost a filling) taffy line with two new flavors: Blue Raspberry and Wild Cherry. Given the popularity of Cherry and Blue Raspberry Airheads, these flavors are a pretty safe bet.

 

Tic Tac Cinnamon Spice
Because I am one of the few humans on the planet who likes “Close-Up Cinnamon Red Gel Toothpaste,” I have a hunch, I’ll like Ferrero U.S.A.‘s new Cinnamon Spice Tic Tacs with “sweet, warm flavor.” They’ve got great color for the holidays and each tiny piece is less than 2 calories. Hello stocking stuffer.

If you’re on the Sweets & Snacks show floor today, let us know. We’d love to meet you!

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Day one at the 2011 Sweets & Snacks EXPO, and the show floor reflected the state of the confectionery industry—still booming.

According to the National Confectioners Association, the confectionery industry posted a 3.6% gain in 2010, and in the 52 weeks ending April 17, 2011, the highest performing major confectionery segments based on unit sales were:

Single Chocolate Bars +8.5%
Seasonal Christmas Chocolate +7.2%
Snack Size Chocolate Bars +6.4%
Hard Candy Pkg/Rolls +4.4%
Chewy Candy +3.6%
Licorice +3.6%
Sugarless Gum +2.2%

Source: SymphonyIRI Group

All of these categories were well-represented on the show floor today. Here are a few that winked at me:

Candy Corn Jelly Beans and Mint Chocolate Dips
Jelly Belly, Booth 831

It was just a matter of time before Jelly Belly would take cues from its classic Candy Corn and create a Candy Corn-flavored jelly bean. Officially available in June, Jelly Belly’s Candy Corn jelly beans have a buttery taste with a hint of vanilla. The new beans will be available year round and come in 10-pound bulk cases and 9-ounce packages.

Also new from Jelly Belly are Mint Chocolate Dips. The Mint Chocolate Dips are a new flavor in Jelly Belly’s chocolate-dipped jelly bean collection. These beans are good, too! What I didn’t realize until today is that Jelly Belly chocolate-dipped beans don’t have the typical jelly bean sugar shell; the chocolate layer is the shell.  I also learned from Jelly Belly’s director of communications, Tomi Holt, that the Chocolate Dips are slightly less caloric than regular Jelly Belly jelly beans (3.7 vs. 4 calories per bean). While writing this post, I polished off two mini bags of Very Cherry Dips and don’t feel one bit guilty.

Hard Candy Shot Glasses
Melville Candy Company, Booth 2002
Gummy shot glasses created some good buzz last year. This year, it’s hard candy shot glasses.

The family-owned Melville Candy Company has created seasonal and everyday sets of hard candy shot glasses. I like the swirled variety above—perfect for when “Bridesmaids” and “Hangover 2” come out on DVD. Also new from Melville are lava lamp-shaped lollipops. I took a photo of these today, but since I am a rotten photographer, I’ll leave them up to your imagination. Based on buyer reaction in Melville’s booth, I will say that candy shot glasses and lava lamp pops have serious legs.

Chocolate Krispy Treats
Forbidden Sweets, Booth 2463

This booth was mobbed today. And, I know why. The company’s “Chocolate Krispy Treats” on a stick are creative, adorable, and come in zillions of designs, shapes, and colors. They taste good, too, and have a six-month shelf life.

One of the Forbidden Sweets‘ owners told me that the Peanuts Gallery collection (above, left), was created for and is carried by Hallmark stores. Take a look at the crisped food collection (above right) all on sticks. Love the mushroom and pickle.

Each treat is packed on a sturdy sucker stick in a clear cello bag and measures about 4 inches in diameter. The treats ship 8 per case.

Sugar-Free Glee
Verve, inc., Booth 1456

It’s happened. Verve, inc., the makers of Glee Gum, ventured into sugar-free and now have two products in the category: Lemon Lime and Refresh Mint gum.

Both products are sweetened with 100% xylitol, a sugar alcohol extracted from birch tree bark.

Sugar-Free Glee, like the rest of the Glee Gum line, is all-natural and made without artificial coloring, flavoring, sweeteners or preservatives.

The chewy texture comes from chicle, a tree sap harvested sustainably to help conserve the rainforest. Sugar-Free Glee is also gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, and GMO-free. Packaged in recycled cardboard rather than blister packs, each box contains 15 pieces of gum.

Chocolate Squares for Zzzz’s
Slumberland Snacks, Booth 1876
The Upstate Dream Institute in Ithaca, NY, came to the Sweets & Snacks EXPO with “Slumberland Snacks Chocolatey Sleep Squares: The bedtime delight that helps you sleep through the night.”

I kid you not. (Full disclosure, I have yet to try these nighty-night squares for fear of nodding off in the middle of the trade show floor, but they are intriguing. Additional disclosure: Sleep Squares actually launched at the 2010 Natural Products Expo East Show in Boston, but they’re new to me, so I’m plopping them in this post.)

According to Slumberland Snack’s Web site, the sleep mechanisms in these squares are “Traditional herbs: Blue Vervain, Passionflower Extract, L-Theanine, Hops Extract Brain Fuels: L-5-HTP, Choline L-Bitartate, and Melatonin.”

If I have the guts to try these tomorrow—day 2 of the show—I’ll let you know how I fare. ?The product is currently available in two sizes: a 7 count (one week’s supply) and a 30 count (one month’s supply), and comes in three flavors: Original, Raspberry, and Orange.

Zanies Marshmallow Candy
Spangler Candy Company, Booth 1937

This Christmas, the Spangler Candy Company is introducing its newest marshmallow product, Zanies Wacky Marshmallow Candy. The packaging is vibrant and fun, and I think kids will dig it. Mine did when I showed them the image.

Zanies feature four Christmas-shaped marshmallow characters; Oliver Orange – an ornament, Gretchen Grape – a Christmas star, Sarah Strawberry – a stocking, and Adam Apple – a Christmas tree. Ideal for stockings and secret Santa gifts, kids can collect all four character ornament cut-outs featured on the back of each display carton.

Each 2.5-ounce pack contains 10 Zanies marshmallows.

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

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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