Posts Tagged ‘Jelly Belly’

Kristen Cumings, the artist behind some of the Jelly Belly Candy Company’s famous jelly bean art, knows her beans. In 2010, Kristen was commissioned by Jelly Belly to produce eight pieces of jelly bean art for a collection titled “Masterpieces of Jelly Belly Art.” This collection includes eight recreations of the world’s most most recognized works of  art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” The Masterpieces collection is now on display through June at the Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Greenville, S.C.

 

My kids tell everybody that we meet that I’m a jelly bean artist. I’ve always been into art. My first jelly bean portrait was of Herman Rowland [chairman of the board, Jelly Belly]. It took me about three months to complete.

A typical commissioned piece for me is 4 feet wide by 5 feet tall and includes between 12,000 and 15,000 jelly beans. I now can finish a piece in about three weeks, which is roughly 100 hours.

I sort my beans by color in compartmentalized bead boxes. I’ve dropped one of those boxes on more than one occasion and have actually paid my kids to re-sort them for me.

For pieces that Jelly Belly commissions, the company orders a 10-pound box of each color. I use about 25 to 35 colors per piece, so we have a lot of leftovers in my house. My favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean color to work with is Island Punch. I dyed my hair the same color last year. My hair is now mostly red, but two parts are purple and pink striped. The purple stripes look like Island Punch. The pink stripes are more Strawberry Daiquiri.

I work in the evenings after my regular job. I am a special education classroom assistant and I do a lot of art with the kids. They love the jelly bean projects!

My favorite jelly bean portrait so far was the one I just finished. It’s of my son. My reference image was from when he was 7 years old.

Jelly Belly jelly bean art

Kristen Cumings' portrait of her son, Malcolm, at age 7.

I was bummed when Jelly Belly got rid of Peanut Butter and Caramel Apple jelly beans. They were my go-to colors for mid-range fleshtones. I hoarded them. To get that medium value now, I put two beans together—like Honey Bean and Chili Mango. For a shadow here and there, I’ll throw in a blue or a purple bean.

My favorite Jelly Bean flavor is Sour Cherry. I really like the sours.

One of my biggest challenges is knowing when to add in that odd color to make a piece really pop. I always try to match the tones of my reference images as much as possible, but sometimes the result can look too dull. That’s when I start taking out some beans and add in a bean color to make it livelier.

Jelly Belly jelly bean art

All colors pop in this recent jelly bean portrait by Kristen Cumings. The subject is her son's best friend, Bailey.

I just started a private commission for Lola Salazar who is the owner of Lola’s Sugar Rush. It’s a cute image of her for her candy shop.  I’m really excited about it! My commissioned pieces run about $3,500 to $5,000, depending on the size of the canvas.

My best friend’s son was upset that I didn’t include Harry Potter’s lightening scar in the portrait that I created. The reference image I was given to use from Warner Bros. didn’t include it. On the under-painting that I did, though, the scar is there. You just can’t see it because the beans cover it up.

Jelly Belly jelly bean art


Photo credits: Samuel Levi Jones (top photo), Kristen Cumings (jelly bean artwork photos)

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in Bulk, Candy, Jelly Beans, Jelly Belly Candy Company, News

I’ve got an easy, kid-friendly, and road-tested spring candy craft for you to try: Peeps Garland.

Inspired by the candy crafting book, Peeps! Recipes and Crafts to Make With Your Favorite Marshmallow Treat, I gathered the few items necessary to create this colorful Easter decoration.

The Short-and-Sweet Supply List

1. Peeps Bunnies and Chicks in a variety of colors (I love the little row of Peeps above. Mr. yellow, far left, looks as though he’s warning Mr. Pink of an imminent stringing.)

2. Jelly Beans – I used Jelly Belly’s Kids Mix because the colors are so vibrant … plus, it contains Very Cherry and Berry Blue beans. String one bean, eat one.  String two beans, eat six ….

3. Needle and waxed thread

4. Ribbon for bows at the two ends of the garland


The How-To

- Thread your needle, double-knot the end of the string, and leave about 4 inches of excess thread.

- String Peeps and jelly beans in whatever order you like. (Note: I started with a jelly bean to hold the knot, and kept the number of jelly beans to a minimum because they do add quite a bit of weight to the string. Also, your needle and string will become sticky, so dab vegetable oil on a paper towel and coat the string as needed.)

- When you reach a desired garland length, cut and double knot the thread. Leave about 4 inches of extra thread.

- Attach a grosgrain bow to each end by tying your excess thread around each bow.

There’s lots to love about this edible garland. You can use it as a decoration for your mantel, table, chandelier, mirror, window, back of a parsons chair, or Easter tree … plus it’s a great craft for kids during spring break or on Easter Sunday.

String one Peep, eat one.  String two Peeps, eat three …

 

 

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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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The Jelly Belly Candy Company‘s Chairman of the Board Herman Goelitz Rowland, Sr., and his daughter/Executive Vice Chairman Lisa Rowland Brasher open up to Candy.com about working in a multigeneration family business that goes back to 1869, their business challenges, and favorite beans.

Herman Goelitz Rowland and Lisa Rowland Jelly Belly

Lisa Rowland Brasher and Herman Goelitz Rowland, Sr.

Candy.com: Herm, when your children and grandchildren were young, did you ever think they’d be working at the Jelly Belly Candy Company?

HGR: It wasn’t mandatory for any of my family to join the business, but it’s been great there is interest. We have 10 of us now working in the business. I just want them to be happy in what they do.

Candy.com: Lisa, as executive vice chairman, you’re apprenticing to prepare for leading the company into the next generation of candy making. How do you feel about that next big step?

LRB: It is quite an honor for me to be in this position. Succession planning is very important to every company and we are a family business that currently employs family members from the 4th, 5th, and 6th generation of our candy-making family. Is that cool or what?! We all work in many different areas of the business and that gives us a good finger on the pulse of the company. I am also surrounded by an awesome team of Jelly Belly employees who are very capable and respected in their areas of expertise, which makes my job that much easier.

Herman Goelitz Rowland, Lisa Rowland Brasher, Trevor Brasher Jelly Belly

Three generations of Jelly Belly candy makers: Herm, his daughter Lisa, and Lisa's son Trevor.

Candy.com: What’s it like to not only work with your closest family members, but also ultimately oversee their work?

LRB: Fortunately, we all get along really well. I am sure that there will be times of difficulty, just as there are in any work relationships, but we all seem to communicate well with each other. The expectation for every generation of family members has been that we exceed expectations as an employee. I know my kids feel that I am harder on them than I am on others. That is probably true, but, as I learned as a youngster, many eyes are on us and what we do. We need to set a good example. I also think that being up front and honest with thoughts and feelings is invaluable. A small note hanging on my wall reminds me that the same letters are in the word “Silent” and the word “Listen.” Most of us in our family don’t have a problem speaking our mind, so I want to always keep that in the forefront of my mind. Be quiet, listen, and then talk!

Candy.com: Lisa, did you know early on that you wanted to be a part of the family candy business?

LRB: As youngsters, we did not visit the candy factory often. My dad worked long days that weren’t conducive to having two little girls running around the factory.  But later on, my sister and I occasionally went to the factory with my dad on a weekend or a holiday—and I was totally sold! The smells (yum) of the powdery mist of sugar floating in the air, the sweet smell of milk chocolate, the sight of trays stacked high with candy corn, mellocreme choppers, or chocolate pokies lured me in.

Candy.com: Herm, if you weren’t running the Jelly Belly Candy Company, what would you want to do?

HGR: Design new equipment, probably for the candy industry. Equipment is my first love. Or grow something on a farm and drive a tractor.

Candy.com: What’s your biggest business challenge at the moment?

LRB: I think that our biggest challenge at the moment is similar to the challenges that many companies face nationwide: How can we be the best that we can be with our employees, consumers, vendors, and retailers; continue to produce excellent quality confections and provide superior customer service while keeping our costs contained so that we can be competitive in the market in an economy that all costs are skyrocketing!

Jelly Belly Beans
Candy.com: What’s your most favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor … and least favorite?

HGR: Peach has always been at the top of my list. Can’t think of any I don’t like.

LRB: Currently my favorite flavors are #1 – Red Apple, #2 – Plum, and #3 – Juicy Pear. (Juicy Pear used to be my #1 flavor until Red Apple and Plum were released.) My fourth favorite flavor is Chili Mango. It’s funny because I really don’t like spicy tastes and I can live without mango, too, but I LOVE this flavor. Just the right amount of sweet and spicy. My least favorite bean flavor is cantaloupe. I am also not a fan of Licorice. Funny because it is our #3 flavor in the lineup!

Candy.com: Have you or any of your family members ever submitted a Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor that either got used or shot down?

LRB: Yes, in 1995 we came out with Red Licorice, which I love and had always wanted us to produce. The problem here was that there are two very distinct tastes for Red Licorice.  Unfortunately for me, our team made the taste that is not my favorite brand of red licorice and the rest of the country agreed. Due to less-than-stellar sales, it was discontinued shortly thereafter.

Jelly Belly Peas & Carrots MellocremesCandy.com: I heard that your new Peas & Carrots Mellocremes were a hit at this year’s Winter Fancy Food Show. Why do you think show-goers went nuts over the sweet side dish?

LRB: The retro look is a hot trend right now and our fun can of Peas and Carrots fits the bill perfectly.  They are realistic looking and cute too! Mellocreme flavors of Green Apple and Orange Sherbet put a fun twist on traditional yummy mellocreme candies. Eating your veggies never tasted so good!

Candy.com: Any other new products or Jelly Belly Jelly Bean flavors you’ll be launching at the Sweets & Snacks EXPO this May?
LRB: Jelly Belly is known worldwide for its product innovation and the exciting new confections coming out at the next Sweets & Snacks EXPO this May will not disappoint!  But, we have to keep some surprises for the show.

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