Facts, Figures and the Thinking Behind all Candy Expo Changes

When the All Candy Expo is held in 2007, as most in the industry are now aware, it will be in the fall and will include cookies and snack products in addition to confectionery.
The decision to move the show and to expand the featured product assortment was based on surveys and focus groups conducted with buyers. That was a key message presented by the National Confectioners Association in membership briefings held around the country this fall.
According to NCA’s Jim Corcoran and Libby Taylor, surveys were initiated after 2005 All Candy Expo performance surveys of both manufacturers and retailers indicated some areas of decreased satisfaction with the Expo experience.
Next year’s show is slated for Sept. 17-19, 2007 (Monday - Wednesday). Product categories included will meet the global definition of confectionery, which is broader than the traditional U.S. interpretation. In addition to chocolate and non-chocolate candy and gum, product categories will include salty snacks, cookies, popcorn, biscuits, breakfast snacks, nutrition bars, meat snacks, fruit snacks, granola bars and nuts.
Multi-Faceted Approach for New Era
The company name says a lot about where Jeff Grossman, formerly of Flix/Imaginings 3 and Ragold, is headed with his new venture — New Era Brands, Northbrook, Ill.
“We’re firm believers in partnerships…be it with customers or with other brands,” says Grossman. “We’re trying to bring it all together and begin something new. That’s where New Era came from. Hopefully, what you’ll see from us down the road are better-for-you propositions.
“I think consumers are trying to make smarter choices for themselves and their kids,” he says. Thus it makes sense to introduce products that boast “added benefits” in the form of functional ingredients, he emphasizes.
“We want to build brands in categories where we believe it makes sense,” Grossman continues, adding that New Era’s first new branded entry will be in the gum/mints category.
Creating new brands represents one of the business’s three facets. The second is working with leading retailers on proprietary brands. The third facet is co-branding and licensing initiatives.
“We’re taking strong brands and bringing them into confections or other categories. We’re going to be doing confections, toys, and then, down the road, some food and beverage,” he says.
The company, which Grossman established with capital contributed by real estate developer Robert Kroupa, officially opened its doors in late June. “I’m enjoying it more than I ever thought I would,” says Grossman, 43.
One of the things he finds most satisfying is creating programs that have a charitable component. “I feel it’s my way that I can give back a little,” he says.
Next year, for example, New Era Brands will partner with the National Breast Cancer Foundation on some limited edition gums and mints.
Jelly Belly to AcquireBen Myerson
Jelly Belly Candy Co. has inked an agreement to acquire the candy manufacturing and trade name assets of Los Angeles-based Ben Myerson Candy Co.
Ben Meyerson Candy Co. manufactures the Christopher’s line of chocolates and is a licensee of Sunkist confectionery products including Sunkist Fruit Gems.
The transaction is expected to be complete in November.
Pop Rocks Gives Back
“You and Pop Rocks can make the difference” reads a line on the new display shipper now available from Pop Rocks. The limited edition sidekick display features Pop Rocks and Pop Rocks Dips, and the company is donating a percentage of profits from the sale of the featured products to Feed the Children.
Feed the Children is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting children, families and individuals who suffer from hunger and homelessness caused by famine, war or poverty.  Last year Feed the Children delivered 146 million pounds of food and other essential items to all 50 states and 57 countries.
“Through these efforts, Pop Rocks has joined the fight to help children and their families make a better life for themselves,” says Steven Style, company spokesman.
New Home for Seattle Chocolate
Seattle Chocolate Co. has completed the purchase of a new building and will soon be moving into the expanded space. The building includes almost 65,000 square feet for Seattle Chocolates’ manufacturing and offices and will triple the production and working space available for the company.
The move, which will take place in several phases, is expected to be complete by March 2007.
Lindt to Expand
Lindt USA, Stratham, N.H., will invest $30 million to add an additional 300,000 square feet of space to is U.S. headquarters and production facility. The company reports 30 percent annual sales growth since 2002.
The expansion will provide increased production and storage capabilities for the company’s Lindor truffle collection as well as the ability to produce its full line of chocolate bars, including Excellence and Lindor Milk, domestically. Currently the bar collection is manufactured exclusively in Europe. Construction on the facility is slated for completion next fall.
Fannie May Supports Breast Cancer Programs
Fannie May Candies introduced new limited edition Pink Confections and donated 10 percent of the proceeds from their sale during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to five Chicago area cancer support organizations.
Featuring the familiar pink ribbon symbol and packaged in pink gift wrap, the limited edition Pink Confections are available at all 52 Fannie May shops in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin as well as in other retail stores where Fannie May Candies are sold.
Perfetti P-O-P
Perfetti Van Melle, maker of AirHeads Xtremes Sweetly Sour Rolls, is offering retailers a colorful new Spanish language point-of-purchase kit designed to appeal to youthful Hispanic consumers.
In addition to the Spanish-language signage, the new P-O-P kit includes a “how to” guide.
Pretzels Are Her Passion
Thirty-four-year-old Gina Armenia pretty much fell into the business of making gourmet chocolate-covered pretzels.
In 2001, after owning an automotive aftermarket business for 13 years, she got married, left her business days behind, and had two children, Michael and Gia.
But despite the demands of the children, she had energy to spare, which she channeled into dessert making in the kitchen of her home. Seeking to buy Heath chocolate candy in bulk, she turned to her local Costco, where a manager agreed to ask one of the chain’s buyers to special order 150 pounds of the chocolate for Armenia, who was making chocolate-covered pretzels for a bridal shower. The buyer accommodated her, and as a thank-you gesture, she brought the manager a sampling of the pretzels. The manager passed some on to the buyer, and before you know it, Armenia received a phone call.
“They asked me if I could sell them by the pallet,” she reports. “I didn’t even know what a pallet was.”
That soon changed. With the help of her husband, she acquired a building, set up a manufacturing facility, and introduced her line of Indulge Gourmet chocolate-covered pretzels.
For 2006, Armenia expects revenues for her Elmont, N.Y.-based company, Gia Michael Confections, to total between $500,000 and $600,000. Even better, she anticipates that the business will be profitable by the end of the fourth quarter.
Indulge Gourmet pretzels are currently distributed by Haddon House Fine Foods and sold in Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s department stores and a variety of specialty retailers and upscale supermarkets, in addition to Costco.
CocoaVia Singles to Be Sold in C-stores
CocoaVia Heart Healthy Snacks will now be sold in convenience stores in single-serving units, Masterfoods USA announced at the National Association of Convenience Stores Show earlier this fall.
CocoaVia products are formulated with ingredients that help lower bad cholesterol and promote healthy circulation while delivering a rich, premium chocolate taste experience.
The line-up includes CocoaVia Original Dark Chocolate Bars, CocoaVia Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds and CocoaVia Rich Chocolate Indulgence Drink, a refrigerated beverage described as similar to a milkshake.
Too Tarts Name Will Move to The Beverage Cooler
Innovative Candy Concepts has inked a licensing agreement with American Beverage Corp. that will put the company’s Too Tarts SmartChoice candy brand name on a brand new juice drink.
Ready to ship on Feb. 1, 2007, Too Tarts SmartChoice Sourwave is an intensely flavored sour fruit drink that brings the sour flavor profiles of the candy into the beverage segment. The new drink is packaged in 10-ounce squeeze and squirt PET bottles with full shrink sleeve labels featuring the vivid images of the Too Tarts “Dudes.”
Sourwave will be sold in individual bottles and four-pack carriers. Four flavors – green apple, fruit punch, blueberry and strawberry – all will contain 100 percent of the daily value of Vitamin C, no refined sugars and only 45 calories per bottle.
American Beverage Corp. is supporting the launch with a wide array of point-of-sale materials including cooler door displays and colorful display shippers.
New Ventures from Jelly Belly
The colorful Jelly Belly imagery will soon be translated into additional product categories thanks to a new round of licensing deals brokered by The Licensing Company (TLC), a New York City-based licensing agency.
Coming soon is a line of Jelly Belly jelly bean-inspired women’s and juniors’ loungewear, sleepwear and underwear from MJC Inc. In addition, TLC has awarded a Jelly Belly stationery license to Jakks Pacific. A broad assortment of stationery items for teens and tweens will roll out to stores nationwide in spring 2007. It will include notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, erasers, Blopens, and a scratch-n-sniff sticker book and stationery set.
Through TLC’s other recently sealed deals for the Jelly Belly brand, the first licensed products to launch at retail will be colorful novelty pillows from Senario to be available this winter holiday season.
In separate news from Jelly Belly, the company has announced a national consumer promotion designed to capitalize on fans’ interest in concocting distinctive new Jelly Belly flavor combos.
The Jelly Belly Recipe Game will launch Jan. 2, 2007 and will invite consumers to create their own Jelly Belly recipe for the chance to win a grand prize of $10,000. The promotion will appear on six million specially marked packages with promotional game pieces, which may be entered online at www.recipegame.com for a chance to win the big bucks. In addition, instant win, scratch-off game pieces will offer more than 100,000 prizes. The promotion will run through July 31, 2007.