Posts Tagged ‘Candy’

Candy lovers are a passionate bunch. We’re big on learning about candy and the stories behind the brands. We love to talk about the sweet stuff, consume it, and share it. (Heck, if that weren’t true, Candy.com wouldn’t have 55,000+ Facebook Fans.)

So, periodically in this blog, I’m going to put a spotlight on a select candy manufacturer to give you the who behind some of your favorite brands as well as brands you might not know about … yet.

The first who in my “Meet the Candy Makers” series is the Kimmie Candy Company.

This candy maker fascinates me for a handful of reasons:

- It’s only 10 years old, which is young for the majorly mature candy industry.

- Kimmie Candy’s founder, Joe Dutra, is an international agronomist who grew up in a farming family in California. At one point in his own farming career, Joe farmed for a prince in Saudi Arabia.

- Kimmie Candy is one of a few US companies to manufacture overseas and then move all operations to US soil. Kimmie Candy products were manufactured in Korea until 2008 when Joe opened headquarters in Reno, Nevada.

- The company is named after a family friend who offhandedly said the company should be named after her. And so it was.

You may be wondering how this US candy company got its start in Korea. It was actually a bit of a fluke. One of Joe Dutra’s employees at the time told him about a container full of chocolate-covered sunflower kernels from Korea that was left at a San Francisco dock. Looking to diversify, Joe purchased the container.

That container led to more. Joe was sending U.S. sunflower seeds to Korea for candy coating, which were then shipped back to California for packaging.

Then, Sept. 11 hit, which was a major turning point for the candy company. “I became patriotic,” says Joe. “I was living in a community, but I wasn’t bringing anything back to it.”

After several business hiccups, including a lawsuit from Mars, Joe convinced his Korean panner (a confectioner who applies a candy shell to candy and nuts) to move to America and purchase equipment for US production in Reno, Nevada.

With all operations now in Reno, Joe says he’s expecting 30% to 40% growth by year end.

“We really are living the American Dream,” says Joe, who has welcomed his own two grown children into the Kimmie Candy Company. “It’s a pleasure to come to work everyday.”

The Goods
Kimmie Candy’s line of panned candy products includes three brands: Choco Rocks, Sunbursts, and Kettle Corn Nuggets, as well as  Jordan almonds. (Click on each image below for detailed product information.)

According to Mark Bedingfield, Kimmie Candy’s sales director, the Choco Rocks are currently the company’s best seller. Mark says the gold, silver, and bronze Choco Rocks Boulders and Choco Rocks Nuggets are getting quite a bit of attention from candy retailers and party planners.

It’s easy to see why. The large chunks of composite milk and dark chocolate coated in edible metallic glitters are pure eye candy in glass containers.

Gold Choco Boulders

Kimmie’s candy-coated sunflower kernels, Sunbursts, have also caught the eye of party planners, retailers, and bakers because they’re available in 18 solo colors plus an all-natural mix and several holiday mixes. The glossy Sunbursts’ little seed shape lends itself to cake and cupcake decorating and mixing with other panned candies like Kimmie’s Kettle Corn Nuggets and Jordan Almonds.

Sunbursts Natural Mix

The Kettle Corn Nuggets (roasted corn nuggets coated in milk chocolate with a colorful candy shell) is the newest product in Kimmie’s lineup, and, like all Kimmie products, is available in holiday colors and mixes.

Kettle Corn Nuggets Christmas Mix

Sunbursts Hanukkah Mix

Choco Rocks Black Coal

Red Jordan Almonds

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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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There’s something about the Christmas stocking that is magical.

When I was growing up, my brother and I would climb down the stairs on Christmas morning and see our stockings filled with sweet little surprises. My mom’s hand-knit red and green wool stockings were always stocked with colorful foiled chocolates, a candy cane, a handful of small, heartfelt gifts … and a toothbrush.

To this day, my favorite gifts to buy for my own family are stocking stuffers. I love finding  small, simple treasures with no expectations attached. The mini Peanut’s Woodstock character plush toy that my son found in his stocking a few years ago has received more love than any of the bigger gifts he’s found under the tree. The full-size Nestle Crunch bars that peek out the top of our stockings every year always get squeals of delight. (Like my mom, I have been known to throw in a toothbrush. Apples don’t fall far from the tree.)

Take a peek at Candy.com‘s new and enormous selection of sweet stocking stuffers. Here are a dozen that caught my eye (click on each image for detailed product information):

Edible Snow

Nutcracker Jelly Pops

Sweet Treat Christmas Buddies

Walkers Festive Shortbread Cookies

Snowman Giftable With Chocolate-Covered Caramels

Jujyfruits Holiday Theater Box

Wonka Nerds Fun Book

Candyland Mints

Chocolate Santa With Presents

Snowman Peeps

Necco Wafers Mini Tin

Lindt Dark Chocolate Reindeers

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Last week we had an ultra-successful “Candy at the Movies” contest. Since Candy.com fans sure seem to be movie buffs, this week’s contest also centers around Hollywood.

To enter this week’s contest, tell us the greatest candy-related scene(s) that you can recall from a movie or TV show.

Think E.T. and Reese’s Pieces or Seinfeld‘s Kramer dropping a Junior Mint into a patient’s chest cavity while observing surgery. Dive deep into your big- and small-screen archives.

This week’s lucky winner will receive a dozen tubes of Flicks Chocolate Wafers. Yum!

So, hurry up and enter your recollections of candy-related scenes after this post or on Facebook. Winner will be announced on Monday!

Need inspiration? Watch the classic scene that brought new meaning to Baby Ruth.

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in Baby Ruth, Candy, Flicks, Junior Mints, Reese's Pieces