Archive for the ‘Packaging’ Category

80-YEARS-LOGO-2012

So many nostalgic candies and their founding family-owned companies have come and gone—or moved on to larger corporations—but the Atkinson family and its classic Chick-O-Sticks, Peanut Butter Bars, peppermints, and coconut candies are still going strong after 80+ years.

Company president, Eric Atkinson, gave us a glimpse into his family’s rich candy history as well as juicy details on the brand new Chick-O-Stick wrapper. Read on …

Candy.com: The Atkinson Candy Company is like so many great candy companies: family-owned. How many of your family members currently work at your headquarters?

Eric Atkinson: I represent the third generation, my nephew Jeremy Jones represents our fourth generation, and my cousin, Billy Atkinson is on our board of directors. Billy is a retired accountant from Price Waterhouse who is taking our company to new levels with brand acquisitions. It’s really an exciting time for us.

 

Candy.com: I read that your company was founded by B. E. Atkinson, Sr. and Mabel C. Atkinson  in the 1930s in Lufkin, Texas. How are you related to the founders?

Eric Atkinson: They are my grandparents. I’d go fishing with my grandma down at their lake house all the time. In the morning, I’d get up and go with grand daddy out to the plant. I loved that as a kid. My grandma would wrap the candy by hand and I got to play in the sacks of peanuts. When I got older, I loaded up the trucks.

B.E. Atkinson, Sr., founder, Atkinson Candy Company
Candy.com:
What was it like growing up surrounded by candy?

Eric Atkinson: It was great. At the plant, I got to go around with a paper bag and fill it with candy to take home and eat. That’s how I learned about eating candy in moderation! Back then, we were making the same candy we make today with the same recipes: peppermints, coconut candy, Chick-O-Sticks, and Peanut Butter Bars. Those candies really represented the candies of the day. Forrest Mars and Milton Hershey were just getting into chocolate. Around 1960, my Uncle Joe, who was an engineer, developed the machine that makes our Mint Twists. It cuts our mints and puts our signature twist into them. We still use Uncle Joe’s machine today.

 

Candy.com: Can consumers visit your company factory in Lufkin, Texas?CandyKitchenLogo

Eric Atkinson: Yes! We have a store within our plant that we call the “Candy Kitchen.” It’s the same name my grand dad used for our plant. In the Candy Kitchen, customers can watch a film that gives a tour of our plant and shows how we make our candy. The Candy Kitchen is set up for customers to also purchase products.

 

Candy.com: Who came up with the name Chick-O-Stick … and is there a story behind the name?

Eric Atkinson: Originally, Chick-O-Sticks were called Chicken Bones. They look like a piece of fried chicken or chicken legs, so I guess that’s how they got their name, but I don’t know that for sure. Back in the 1950s, my Uncle Joe and our VP of sales found out that “Chicken Bones” was already a trademarked name. I believe it was the artist for our candy boxes at the time who actually came up with the name Chick-O-Stick … and it stuck.

 

Candy.com: We’ve heard change is coming to Chick-O-Stick packaging, which is set to debut in January. What can you tell us about the new wrapper?”

Eric Atkinson: We want our customers to “Embrace the Break.” It’s OK to break and share a Chick-O-Stick. So, do it … it’s fun! We give you permission. Our new wrapper includes the phrase, “Break Me, Share Me” to encourage a crack down. The film structure of the packaging is also brand new and extends the shelf life of the product. It’s made on a state-of-the-art machine from Italy. We’re really excited about it.

Chick-O-Stick Candy

 

Candy.com: OK, we have to ask. What’s your all-time favorite Atkinson candy?

Eric Atkinson: Coconut Long Boys. I prefer the Juniors.

CoconutLongBoys2

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14 Oct

MIXO Madness 0

If you’re a Comic-Con regular, you may have already come across collectible MIXO tins, which debuted at the crazy huge comic book convention this past July in San Diego.

The adorable, yet slightly edgy food-safe tins are the latest creation by Mike Becker, a young and talented toymaker who’s already launched and sold two toy companies. MIXO is Mike’s third go-around at fun.

What’s great about these 8.25-inch (h) x 2.5-inch (w) unfilled tins is that they are unfilled. A blank canvas of sorts. Fill the Skeleton with a mix of Bloody Candy Bones, Spooky Eyeball Gumballs, and Candy Skulls to create a memorable Halloween favor that party-goers will want to keep.

I love the Wonder Woman MIXO tin above. Fill  her up with Starzmania candies and tuck in a Starbucks gift card for a pretty awesome teacher gift. (Sure beats an apple!)

Reis O’Brien, the artist behind all of the MIXO designs, says the Batman tin was the first of the four superheroes to fly off the shelves at Comic-Con. “It disappeared the first day of the show,” he explains.

Reis, who keeps pencils and artist paintbrushes in his Green Lantern MIXO tin, says the “Valentino” Vampire tin was also a hot commodity at Comic-Con.

How cool would it be to fill Valentino with Wax Fangs and blood Red Sixlets and put him front and center on a Halloween dessert table?

The ideas are endless with MIXO tins, and, according to Reis, it’s a line that’s growing fast. Hello Kitty tins will soon be available, as will additional superheroes and other licensed characters.

Here’s a peek at Hello Kitty …


If you catch the MIXO bug, let us know how you fill ‘em up!

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in Candy, Candy Buffets, Gifts, Halloween, Licensed, MIXO, Packaging

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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If you’ve been missing chewy Black Cow caramel candy, I’ve got good news. It’s back—and it’s chewier than ever.

Black Cow Caramel Candy

After a 25-year hiatus, Black Cow—the sister candy to Slo Poke—has officially relaunched in two new formats: 1.5-ounce bars and bite-sized chews. The chocolaty-caramel treat has also undergone a reformulation.

“Originally, Black Cow was a Slo Poke caramel dipped into a compound chocolate,” says Rich Warrell, director of sales and marketing for Classic Caramel, a division of The Warrell Corporation and current manufacturer of Black Cow and Slo Poke brands. “Our version is a firmer, full-flavored caramel with real chocolate in the piece itself—like a much richer Tootsie Roll, which is also a type of a chocolate caramel.”

Slo Poke Bar

Just like Black Cow, Slo Poke will now only be available in bar and bite-sized formats, which is a bit of a bummer if you’re a sucker fan. Rich Warrell did confirm, however, that the recipe for Slo Poke is the same. No sucker stick, same taste, no problem on my end.

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Contest Winner!

Michele Levinski is the winner of the “Guess which classic candy is coming out of retirement?” contest. Michele was the first person to guess Black Cow. (She actually guessed “Chocolate Cow,” but close enough.) As the official winner, Michele will receive a case of Black Cow caramel candy. Congrats Michele and thanks to all who participated. We had more than 275 guesses!
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The history of Slo Poke and Black Cow reads like the resume of a serial job hopper. Both brands have changed manufacturers multiple times before finally landing in Classic Caramel’s facility in Camp Hill, PA.

M.J. Holloway & Co., Beatrice Foods, Leaf Brands, Pittsburgh Food and Beverage Company, and Gilliam Candy all played a part in keeping these two brands alive and well in America. (At one point M.J. Holloway had extended its line to Banana, Orange, Pink, and Purple Cows.)

Black Cow TubThroughout all of the company hopping, a few things have remained the same. Both candies are still wrapped in brown and mustard-yellow packaging and both kept their same nostalgic logos with the rounded sans-serif fonts.

Come to think of it, a Slo Poke and a Black Cow should still last though an entire “Rocky” movie, too.

Black Cow bars and bites are available exclusively at Candy.com. Pre-book now for March 15 ship date!


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