Bazooka Candy welcomes the addition of a healthy snack to its confectionery brand.   

The company has announced its acquisition of Sharkies Organic Fruit Chews from Sharkies, Inc. The company, known for iconic confections such as the Ring Pop and Bazooka bubblegum, hopes that the natural snack will expand its portfolio to include organic snacking options.   

“Consumer attitudes toward health and wellness continue to evolve and it was apparent that we needed to diversify our portfolio or products to offer our consumer and customers healthier snack alternatives,” says John Budd, v.p. of marketing for the Topps Company, Inc, which owns the Bazooka Candy Brands.

Budd says the 2011 sales projection for local organic foods includes a 25% increase from 2010.   

“The market is clearly booming and it’s consistent with consumers changing attitude to what they consider healthy food,” he explains.   

While this deal is a new venture for Bazooka, it isn’t the only healthy endeavor they’re taking on.   

A sugar-free version of the Ring Pop already exists, but Budd says they’re looking into an all-natural formulation. Budd made sure to note that with only 60 calories and no fat, the Ring Pop isn’t as unhealthy as a typical chocolate bar.   

For now, Bazooka has no plans to alter the Sharkies product. All of the Bazooka candies fall into what Budd deems the “edible entertainment” category, delivering a great tasting treat with an entertainment experience. Eventually Bazooka would like to incorporate Sharkies into that brand, but for the short term the snack will stay separate.   

“This product was born from the brain of an athlete,” says Budd. “We don’t want to jeopardize its authenticity or credibility with the organic, natural and athletic set.”   

Sharkies, Inc. started in 2003 after two competitive athletes and parents, Dwight and Kelly Sinclair, wanted to make a portable, healthy product for their kids. The couple developed a gluten-free and 100% vitamin C fruit chew made with only natural ingredients.   

The natural ingredients are key to Budd, who says that Sharkies will allow Bazooka to become prevalent in areas previously inaccessible, like the organic snack aisles.   

“It allows us an entry point into new channels, new accounts, and new store locations where we currently don’t compete,” exclaims Budd.   

 For more information visit www.topps.com and www.sharkiesinc.com

 -G.W.