Posts Tagged ‘Inc.’

Rumor has it that Buffalo, NY-based SweetWorks, Inc. is the world’s largest gumball manufacturer.

Mariah Kerwin, SweetWorks’ brand manager, confirms that the rumor is indeed true, but qualifies that SweetWorks is the world’s largest “quality” gumball manufacturer and pumps out an enormous number of gumballs for its own Oak Leaf and Bubble King brands as well as other companies on contract.

Gumballs aren’t the only specialty at SweetWorks, though. SweetWorks began in 1956 as Niagara Chocolates. Niagara manufactured everyday and seasonal molded chocolate products and still does today under the SweetsWorks umbrella. In total, there are six major brands that fall under this golf-sized umbrella, including Niagara Chocolate, Oak Leaf, Sixlets, Bubble King, Ovation, and Florida Tropic. A seventh brand, Radz, is also about to take cover (more on Radz below).

Over the last 10 years, SweetWorks has been growing at a brisk pace. The company’s nostalgic Sixlets—a brand purchased from The Hershey Company in 2003—started out as a penny candy, but has become a “must-have” item on candy buffets now that the tiny candy-coated chocolate balls are available in a rainbow of single colors and pearlized finishes. Sixlets are consistently a top seller at Candy.com.

More growth is on the way, too. At next week’s Sweets & Snacks EXPO, SweetWorks will be launching two new product lines and a new flavor in its Ovation truffle sticks line. All three product lines have distinctly different target markets:

Kid-friendly: SweetWorks’ new Radz line of 250+ collectible toy dispensers come in a variety of  everyday and seasonal characters. Each Radz figure has interchangeable parts and dispenses colorful candy from its tongue, hence the tagline, “Fun For Your Tongue.™” Additionally, Radz has a social media component and Web-based interactivity for kids at RadzWorld.com (think Webkinz meets Candy Land). If you are attending the 2011 Sweets & Snacks EXPO, head to SweetWorks booth #1709 and get a Radz password to demo the product online. The first series of Radz to appear in the marketplace will be a limited edition Christmas Reindeer and Polar Bear. Both toy and candy are blister-packed to create a 3.04-ounce set.

Party-friendly: For party planners, SweetWorks’ new “Celebration” line is designed to make candy buffets, themed events, party favors, and cookie/cupcake/cake decorating pretty darn simple … and color-coordinated. “Celebration” includes 8-ounce retail-ready bags of gumballs, 14-ounce retail-ready bags of Sixlets, and 4.5-ounce jars of Sixlets and Pearls—all in bright, shiny single colors. A few shakes of a jar would make an ice cream cone even better.

Gift-friendly: SweetWorks’ line of high-end Ovation truffle sticks in Mint, Irish Cream, and Orange flavors, is getting a caffeinated sibling, Cappuccino. The dark chocolate Ovation Cappuccino sticks are all-natural and made with real coffee beans. Packaging for all Ovation products is beautiful, but not over-the-top frilly, so you will score points with both male and female foodie friends if you gift them. Each 4.4-ounce box of Cappuccino Ovation includes 40 sticks.

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Next week, Tues., May 24 – Thurs., May 26, is the 2011 Sweets & Snacks EXPO in Chicago! It’s America’s largest candy show, and Candy.com will be blogging and Twittering about new candies, trends, candy business news, and anything else worth sharing—live from the candy carpet all three days. Tune in!

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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

About an hour ago, I called Tootsie Roll Industries to get the straight dope on the cute little Indian guy that occasionally appears on Tootsie Roll wrappers.

According to the Tootsie Roll spokesperson, “Chief Shooting Star” wasn’t originally intended to signify good luck. Back in 1931 when Tootsie Roll Pops launched, the chief represented “children at play” and still does today.

No matter. My daughter and her friends collect all of their Chief Shooting Star wrappers and stash them in their jewelry boxes for good luck. The kind woman I spoke with at Tootsie Roll Industries says her own daughter crumples these special wrappers and makes a wish. I like that.

I re-crumpled the wrapper I photographed above and wished for a bouquet of cherry- and chocolate-flavored Tootsie Roll Pops for Valentine’s Day.

I hope my family is reading.

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We had an overwhelming response to last Friday’s blog post: “Share your LEAST favorite Halloween candy.”

More than 280 Candy.com fans voiced their choice at Blog.Candy.com and Facebook/CandyDotCom. (See below to find out who won the $25 Candy.com Gift Card.)

The results of this poll were interesting. I would have bet on Peanut Butter Kisses (the taffy wrapped in orange and black waxed paper) taking first, but it was Candy Corn that won by a long shot with 83 votes. Black licorice (26 votes) came in second with Peanut Butter Kisses (25 votes) right on its heels. Here’s how it all went down:

Top 10 LEAST Favorite Halloween Candies

1. Candy Corn

2. Black Licorice

3. Peanut Butter Kisses

4. Mary Janes

5. Hard Candy (strawberry and butterscotch flavors got most thumbs down)

6. Smarties

7. Suckers

8. Good & Plenty

9. SweeTARTS

10. Tie: Wax Lips, Almond Joy, Tootsie Rolls, Bottle Caps, Popcorn Balls (seriously, who wants a Popcorn Ball?)

Congratulations to Ammie Bock, the $25 Candy.com Gift Card winner who does not want a single Almond Joy on Oct. 31. Happy Halloween candy shopping Amy!

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in Candy, Chocolate, Halloween, Taffy