A look back at countless pages of detailed notes taken at the 2010 Sweets & Snacks Expo reveals a number of noteworthy trends and memorable products, not to mention celebrity sightings.




Smack, Crack, Bonomo!

Have you heard the buzz about Bonomo? There was an almost audible groundswell of support at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo, where Classic Caramel LLC - a wholly owned subsidiary of The Warrell Corp. - announced its reintroduction of the once-popular Turkish Taffy, to the delight of many. Vocal fans of the product, which has been out of production for 25 years, include Marc Summers, host of TV’s “Unwrapped.”

“I knew it was going to be big,” says Richard Warrell, marketing manager for The Warrell Corp. He just didn’t know how big.

“We were mobbed,” Warrell notes, citing Expo attendee reaction.

Candy.com is the first retailer to carry the retro treat, offering customers an exclusive chance to order all four original flavors (vanilla, strawberry, chocolate and banana), “while supplies last” (through July 21). Currently, the e-tailer is taking pre-orders for the product.

“So far, we have had a huge response,” says Greg Balestrieri, ceo of Candy.com. “There have been many customers that have been waiting for this product to come back, and they are thrilled.”

The site features old black-and-white commercials for the nostalgic confection explaining how to eat the stuff. One must slap a bar of Bonomo on a table or hit it with a hammer in order to break it into edible pieces, making it one of the first novelty products on the market, Warrell states. As the advertisements say: “You smack it, you crack it.”

For those who are unfamiliar, Bonomo was first introduced following World War II and was enjoyed for its long-lasting, melt-in-your mouth flavor, Candy.com reports. It was last owned by Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. back in the ‘80s, where it went through a number of reformulations before being taken off the market, Warrell notes. (For a full history, visit www.candy.com.)

Bonomo Turkish Taffy is available in its original bar format (S.R.P.: 79 cents for 1.5 oz.) as well as bite-size, individually wrapped pieces (S.R.P.: 15 cents), which come in an assorted changemaker tub and in straight flavor bulk. Shipment of the product will commence in July.

Bonomo is more than candy,” says Ken Wiesen, president and co-ceo of Bonomo; he’s also the New York attorney responsible for bringing back the beloved brand. “It’s a representation of a time when times were simpler and more wholesome.”

To that end, Wiesen went so far as to hire the man who originally formulated the flavors, Warrell notes. Now that’s commitment.

For more information, contact Classic Caramel at 1-866-810-8373. For more information about The Warrell Corp., visit www.warrellcorp.com.




Taking License



A silent feline, a mythically gifted child, a “fancy” little girl and an American tattoo artist are among the licensees unveiled at the recent expo. New lines help keep the novelties category fresh and exciting at retail, drawing attention (and sales) from fans of all ages - from the young to the young at heart.

• “The Last Airbender” -themed non-chocolate candies such as Baby Bottle Pop, Jump Push Pop and Juicy Drop Pop from Bazooka Candy Brands are constructed to create a 3-D look and feel, and feature characters from the original Nickelodeon cartoon. They include Prince Zuko and Aang, who also are featured in the upcoming film version of the popular TV series.

As part of a multibrand campaign utilizing the licensee, Bazooka will add an online destination at
www.candymania.com, which will house a major multilevel game featuring said characters. Retail initiatives also will be supported by extensive TV and online advertising via kid-oriented outlets.

• Hello Kitty and SANRIO Friends BobblePops are an extension of Nairn’s line of lollipops hidden in mini-bobblead toys. The collection will include global icon Hello Kitty as well as SANRIO characters Keroppi, My Melody and Chococat. Each 5-in.-tall BobblePop will contain a lollipop in assorted flavors: blue raspberry, watermelon, green apple and mixed fruity. Once the pop is gone, the collectible toy remains. BobblePops are available in display-ready boxes of 12: four Hello Kitty in a red outfit, four Hello Kitty in a pink outfit, two Keroppi, one My Melody and one Chococat. S.R.P.: $3.99 each.

“This assortment of SANRIO BobblePops is sure to capture the hearts of girls and women everywhere,” says Paul Leonhardt, president and ceo of Nairn. “It’s a brand with a huge following, popular with young girls, their moms and even their grandmothers.”



• New England Confectionery Co. (NECCO)
captures the fun of Harper Collins’ beloved children’s book series with new Fancy Nancy Sweethearts in “gorgeously glamorous colors” and four “delightfully yummy flavors” for seasonal and everyday use. The candies feature 24 expressions, written by author Jane O’Connor, such as “Merci” and “Tiara.” They’re available in theater boxes, treat bags, magical heart-filled wands and collectible storybook gift boxes and tins. S.R.P.: $3.29 for a 4-oz. Storybook Box; $4.99 for a 5-oz. Snowflake Tin.

Meanwhile, “Eclipse” is the third addition to NECCO’s licensed line of collectible chocolate and non-chocolate products designed around “The Twilight Saga.” Packages of new Sweethearts and Sky Bars are adorned with graphics from the movie, including photos of its main characters: Edward, Jacob and Bella. The products mean to “feed fans’ obsession.” Those fans include tweens, teens and even moms who’ve read the books and seen the movies.

“Twilight” series Sweethearts come in bags and theater boxes containing Midnight Melon, Boysenberry Bite, Jacob Black Cherry and Tangerine Tangle varieties, and featuring special messages such as “I  HEART EC AND “LIVE 4 EVER.” New Fire & Ice-themed Sweethearts come in Lime Frostbite, Raspberry Freezeout, Steamy Chocolate and Hotter Than Apple Pie flavors. Sky Bar products range from milk chocolate bars with three fillings - caramel, peanut butter and new chocolate truffle - to Heart’s Desire-themed milk chocolate hearts containing a new creamy peanut butter filling, available in singles and six-packs as well as new Bella’s Chocolate Truffle Heart. Other items in the “Twilight” chocolate and candy line include backpack clips, lunch box tins and heart boxes.

Among the other new licensed products shown were Ed Hardy brand candy-flavored tongue tattoos from Tung Toos Factory of Fun and Garfield’s Double Chocolate Cocoa & Cinnamon Bun Mocha from Fireside Coffee.




'Summers' time

The day before addressing show attendees at a keynote session on how to intrigue consumers with new products, Marc Summers - host of TV’s “Unwrapped” - spent some time with the media at a preliminary meet-and-greet. There, he discussed the events that led up to his involvement in one of the Food Network’s most successful programs and shared some of his best-loved confections, among other items of interest. (For instance, Summers regularly rubs elbows with chefs Paula Deen, Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse, calling them some of the nicest people he’s ever worked with.)

Interestingly, Summers pointed out that although only 30% of all “Unwrapped” episodes have to do with candy, they are among the most watched. The show, now in its tenth season, airs on Monday nights, but offers reruns both recent and older all week long. Summers also contributes to other Food Network programs, including “Ultimate Recipe Showdown” and “Dinner: Impossible.”

Little-known Facts: Once upon a time, Summers hosted Nickelodeon’s kid-centric,
slime-time game show, “Double Dare.” In addition, he penned a book about obsessive compulsive disorder that landed him on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Summers actually got his start as a magician, doing tricks for a pots-and-pans company at the Housewares Show right here in Chicago, for example. He’s also performed as a comedian at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, one-time home to talents such as David Letterman and Jay Leno.

In his career, Summers has worked for Lifetime Television and the History Channel, but he is most passionate about what he does for the Food Network.

“The impact of TV is great,” says Summers, who’s been performing in one way or another since age 5.
Summers’ favorite confections?

“I love Red Vines, but you can’t get them on the East Coast,” he complains. Summers also is a self-declared PEEPS freak. And he has a deep-seeded love of the Bun Bar, an old-time candy that’s available again due to continued interest in nostalgia - one of two reasons people enjoy “Unwrapped” so much, Summers suggests.

The other reason, he says: “Everyone likes to go behind the scenes.”

The Bun Bar aside, Summers was extremely excited to see the return of Bonomo Turkish Taffy, another retro confection, which appeared in the New Product Showcase at the show, courtesy of The Warrell Corp./Classic Caramel LLC.

“I don’t think nostalgia ever goes out of style,” he asserts, adding, “We all have our favorites.”



The Chuao Chocolatier Experience

If you’ve never had a taste test with Master Chef Michael Antonorsi, then you’re missing out. Lucky visitors to the Chuao Chocolatier booth got the chance to sit down with the Venezualan information-technologist-turned-artisan-chocolatier and arouse their senses through a sampling of his all-natural products - as well as discuss the link between chocolate and mood, texture and aroma.

“Unusual, Unexpected and Delicious” are apt terms for Chuao Chocolate’s complex offerings, as its tagline states. Take the chocolatier’s latest introductions: Honeycomb (dark chocolate with carmelized honey), Coco (dark chocolate with toasted coconut, almond, cinnamon and coriander) and Coffee & Anise (dark chocolate infused with finely ground espresso and star anise). New for spring, all flavors now are available in 80-gm. bars and 11-gm. mini-bars called ChocoPods.

In the end, you have to “connect” with the right chocolate, Antonorsi states. Not a difficult assignment ...




New Products Worth Watching

Keep your eyes on new Handmade Fudge Squares covered in Belgian Chocolate from Fudgie Wudgie Fudge & Chocolate Co. The bite-size, individually wrapped, all-natural treats contain one-third less sugar than traditional fudge. They’re made in hand-stirred, small batches by copper kettle. Available in 10 flavors, one of the latest introductions is Pumpkin, enrobed in 70% dark chocolate.

Then there are new Hershey’s Drops from The Hershey Co., bite-size drops of “Hershey’s Happiness” in little drops of chocolate for snacking and sharing. They come in two flavors - Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, available in 8-oz. re-sealable pouches and 2.1-oz king-size packages, and Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Crème, available in an 8-oz. re-sealable pouch.

Let’s not leave out new Cherry RAISINETS from Nestlé, made with premium, whole dried Montmorency Tart Cherries and paired with Nestlé dark chocolate. The resulting combination is sweet and creamy, juicy and tangy. Both the real fruit and the dark chocolate are natural sources of antioxidants, making Cherry RAISINETS a better-for-you treat. They come in 4-oz. re-sealable stand-up bags.