getting fresh: Candy LandingCall it an occupational hazard, but everywhere I go, confections follow.
Take yesterday, for instance, which for me began in Chicago and ended in Pennsylvania. Along the way, candy kept popping up, from the Lindt Lindor Truffle commercial on the TV in my hotel room last night to the Starlight Mints by my bedside.
Then there was the reading material on United Airlines. As an editor, I’m obviously a fan of all magazines, whether trade or consumer. My favorite: Entertainment Weekly, where my friend and former colleague Jennifer Armstrong has been a staff writer for several years now. I still get a little thrill out of seeing her byline in the popular publication, to which I subscribe. (Truth be told, I still get a little thrill out of seeing my own byline in Retail Confectioner, too.)
And although I dislike airports and flying as much as the next person (especially when the economy parking lot is nearly full, the security line is backed up and I get stuck with the middle seat, like this week), I do enjoy the in-flight magazine on the plane. So it’s no surprise that the current issue of United’s Hemispheres was the first thing I reached for after stowing my belongings the other morning.
What was surprising is what I found inside: confections, of course.
In the News section, I encountered a tidbit about the massive gingerbread village erected every December at Dallas’ Rosewood Crescent Hotel. According to Hemispheres, the village is made from 800 eggs, 100 lb. of flour and 100 lb. of candy. (Wait until I tell my nephew. We build our own gingerbread house each year … using significantly fewer ingredients.)
Next, I read an article about Riviera Maya on the Yucatán Peninsula, featuring a sidebar on the “food of the gods.” Hemispheres reports that “the Mayans are believed to have been the first people to use the cacao (a.k.a. chocolate) bean, in a dish called xocolatl, which was a fiery mocktail meant to please the gods.” The drink was made from ground up corn meal, honey, cacao and chili peppers, and although it’s now difficult to find in Riviera Maya, “it’s worth the effort,” the magazine asserts. (Perhaps another business trip is in order …)
In an ad for Overstock.com, my eyes landed on a Festival of Goodies Gift Basket containing old-fashioned salt water taffy, Ghirardelli chocolate squares, Stickletti pretzels and Comfort Collection Truffles, among other sweets. (Yum.)
Toward the back of the magazine, I hit the crossword puzzle (a wordsmith’s dream -- and worst nightmare). The clue for No. 64 down: Chocolate source. My answer: Cacao. (Now if I could only figure out the rest of that darn thing …)
Last but not least, in the in-flight entertainment section, I saw that one of this month’s movie selections is a personal favorite: “Elf,” starring Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human being who’s raised in the North Pole by Santa’s toymakers, who have a penchant for, you guessed it, candy. (“We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.”)
Yes, confections follow me wherever I go. And after today’s plant tour, I suspect I’ll still have them on the brain (as well as in my carry-on).
I suppose there are worse occupational hazards.
Editor’s Note: Check out the cover of Candy Industry’s January issue for a look-see at what I was doing in Philly.
Wilbur celebrates 125 yearsThis year marks Wilbur Chocolate’s 125th anniversary in the chocolate industry.
The company got its start in Philadelphia back in 1865 as Croft & Wilbur, a confectionery business that produced molasses and hard candies that were sold to railroad boys to resell to passengers. In 1884, its founders parted ways, and a new company was created to specialize in chocolate and cocoa: H.O. Wilbur & Sons. In 1894, it introduced Wilbur Buds chocolate to consumers. By 1934, operations had relocated to Lititz, Pa.; the same factory continues to produce chocolate, chocolate chips and other chocolate products today.
Following several mergers with other confectionery manufacturers, including Suchard Societe Anonyme of Switzerland and Brewster-Ideal Chocolate Co. of Lititz, Wilbur became a wholly owned subsidiary of Cargill, Inc, in 1992. It now operates factories in both Lititz and Mt. Joy, Pa., as well as Burlington, Canada, which together produce millions of pounds of chocolate products, including fine quality chocolate coatings, and various other food ingredients each year.
For more information about Wilbur Chocolate, visit www.wilburchocolate.com.
Spangler gets 'Unwrapped'Spangler Candy Canes from Spangler Candy Co., Bryan, Ohio, will be featured on a Dec. 4 segment of “Unwrapped” on the Food Network.
Jim Knight, vice president of marketing, and Lynn Wieland, director of manufacturing at the plant, will be included in the episode, which was filmed on Aug. 24 and includes production footage and historical facts about the product.
Additional air dates for the segment include Dec. 12, 13 and 21.
For more information about Spangler and its products, visit www.spanglercandy.com, www.dumdumpops.com and www.saftpops.com.
For more information about the Food Network, visit www.foodnetwork.com.
Barry Callebaut appoints new vpKen Cotich has been named vice president of operations and supply chain organization in the Americas region for Barry Callebaut. Previously, he served as vice president of sales-corporate accounts. Cotich joined the company in 2004. Prior to that, he held operations and engineering positions with D.F. Stauffer Biscuit and Frito Lay.
In other news, Barry Callebaut has promoted Ben De Schryver to vice president of corporate accounts for North America and Johanna Beauregard to pricing director for North America.
For more information about Barry Callebaut, visit www.barry-callebaut.com.
Dorval names new sales managerDorval Trading has hired a new sales manager: Tom Coccio. Based at the company’s Nanuet, N.Y., headquarters, Coccio will be responsible for all channels of distribution in the Eastern United States as well as managing the company’s brokers in that region.
Coccio has more than 20 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry and extensive confectionery category knowledge. Previously, he held sales management positions at Lindt & Sprüngli (USA), Con Agra Foods, Kraft Foods and Del Monte.
Steve Broderick will continue to handle all sales efforts in the Western United States.
For more information about Dorval Trading, visit www.dorvaltrading.com.