Mexico’s Sonrics Candy Has Arrived; U.S.
Retailers Welcome the Line
Already a $200-million
brand in Mexico, Sonrics candy now is poised to make a name for itself in
the U.S. marketplace.
Sonrics representatives, including national importer
Sweet Success Candy Co. of West Palm Beach, Fla., and Royal Brokerage
Group, Pompano Beach, Fla., report that response from the retail community
has been enthusiastic.
“We haven’t had one
retailer/distributor/wholesaler say that they are not interested,”
says Mitch Silverman, president of Sweet Success Candy Co.
In Mexico, Sonrics is marketed by Alegro
International, a division of Mexico City-based Sabritas, which is owned by
PepsiCo International. Having the marketing muscle of Pepsi behind the
venture has been a major plus, Silverman reports.
“Any time retailers are looking at a new
category, certainly there’s some trepidation. But if you’re
going to dip your toe into the water, having the Pepsi name behind you is
reassuring,” he reports.
The Sonrics lineup includes chewing gum, bubble gum,
lollipops and bagged candy mixes. Currently 15 items are being made
available in the United States, but that total will soon increase to 22.
Among the leading Sonrics SKUs are Rockaleta lollipops
with four chili layers built around a mango-flavored gum center; Magic
Rocks, candy-coated, rock-shaped candy with a chocolate center; and Magic
Boom popping candy.
Sonrics’ approach to the market is
multi-faceted. Not only are a variety of branded SKUs being offered, but
the company also is prepared to customize its offerings based on individual
“We’re not looking for a quick hit,”
says Silverman. “We’re flexible,” he continues,
“although we come in with ideas.”
How much the company delivers to its clients will
depend on that client’s needs. “We can come in and say,
‘give us the opportunity to help you create an Hispanic
set,’” adds Michael Czaja, executive vice president of sales
and marketing for Royal Brokerage, who is in the process of setting up a
nationwide sales network.
The company also is focused on targeting different
retail channels. “A supermarket is different from a drug store and a
drug store is completely different from a C-store and from a mass
merchandiser,” says Silverman. “Everyone has a different
To date, Sonrics branded candy has been rolled out or
introduced on a trial basis by a number of leading retailers and
wholesalers including Costco (L.A. Division); Kroger/Food 4 Less (Chicago);
and Bi-Lo, to cite just a few.
Chocolate Industry to Boost Program in West Africa
The World Cocoa Foundation announced “a new
public-private partnership” involving The Hershey Co., Mars Inc.,
Nestle USA, Cargill, the Chocolate Manufactures Association and the
National Confectioners Association, dedicated to “improving the lives
of West African cocoa farming families and their communities.”
Dubbed the Initiative for African Cocoa Communities
(IACC), the program will focus on enhancing education opportunities for
children as well as providing teacher training to cocoa-growing regions of
Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
“The future of the chocolate and cocoa industry
is linked to the future of the cocoa farmer and the well-being of farming
communities,” said Bill Guyton, president of the WCF. “The IACC
furthers our support for the 10 million West Africans who depend upon cocoa
for their livelihood.”
According to Susan Smith, senior vice president of
public affairs for the NCA, the programs encompass multimillion-dollar
commitments to West Africa over several years.
Sales ‘Force’ Teams Up to Offer Giant Star
Marty Faierstain (left, in photo) and Bill Gaussellin,
founders of Northbrook, Ill.-based SportsLine Distributors, developed a
line of giant limited edition Star Wars Pez dispensers to ride the wave of
the just-released Star Wars Episode III movie. The 12-inch figures play
music, feature memorable dialogue and, of course, dispense Pez candies.
Rick LeBlanc Named CSN Executive Director
Consolidated Sales Network (CSN) has announced the
appointment of Richard LeBlanc, former president of Kahler-Senders Group
Inc., as executive director.
LeBlanc has extensive experience in the consumer
CSN is an alliance of independent sales agencies with
a primary focus on serving all trade classes with fast-moving consumable
Masterfoods to Open Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge in
Hackettstown, N.J.-based Masterfoods USA will open up
a 1,100-sq.-ft. lounge in the entryway of Westfield North Bridge, a
Nordstrom-anchored mall located on Chicago’s famed Michigan Avenue in
July. Ethel’s, which is owned by the Gourmet Chocolate Group of
Masterfoods, will not only serve truffles, hot cocoa and chocolate fondue,
but wine and cocktails as well. According to a Chicago Sun-Times report,
the company expects to open several more lounges in the Chicago area. The
reason for the move: research shows that women really want a place to enjoy
chocolate in a place that allows them to sit and linger, Masterfoods says.
The Gourmet Chocolate Group had already opened up a non-alcoholic chocolate
lounge in Evanston, a northern suburb of Chicago.
Brown & Haley Former President Dies
Fred Haley, the son of J.C. Haley, the co-founder of
Tacoma-based Brown & Haley, passed away at the age of 92 in his home on
April 6. Upon his return home after serving in the Navy during World War
II, Haley took over the reins of the candy company, succeeding his father
In addition to opening up international markets for
the makers of the company’s signature Almond Roca candy, Haley was
known for being an ardent champion of civil rights, winning the William O.
Douglas award from the American Civil Liberties Union in 1985.
Haley’s son, Mark, took over as president of the
company in 1984.
Ragolds to Close After Brands Sell-Off
Karlsruhe, Germany-based Ragolds revealed that it will
shut down operations at the end of this year. The news follows the sale of
its top cough drop brands to German confectioner Storck. Confectionery
news.com reported that Ragolds said closure was “unavoidable.”