Goo Goo Assorted Can

Despite turning 100 years old this year, Goo Goo Clusters continue to appeal to modern-day candy lovers.

The round nut, caramel and marshmallow-filled candy bar is celebrating a century as a Southern staple and national novelty, and Lance Paine, executive vice president of Goo Goo Clusters, LLC. is pleased by how it’s endured.

”Ultimately, the fact that we’re still here is the biggest endorsement of the product that you can have,” Paine says. “At the end of the day, what you’re looking at is the fact that (we’ve had) uninterrupted production over 100 years. It’s kept on keeping on, and that’s the part I’m most impressed with: the people who have been involved were able to sustain the brand in this way for this long.”

Created in 1912 by Standard Candy Co., the Goo Goo Cluster — supposedly the country’s first combination candy bar — has had an unusual history. Reaching its peak in the early 1980s, the Nashville-based company has since worked to bolster the brand, including making Goo Goo Clusters a subsidiary of Standard Functional Foods and hiring Paine in 2010.

Now, Paine and the Goo Goo Clusters team are in the midst of a long lineup of celebratory events.

Specifically, the chocolatier with sponsor Nashville Lifestyle’s Most Beautiful People issue and a  “Jog & Hog” race set for October in which participants run, eat Goo Goo Clusters and run some more.

“We’re having a lot of fun with the centennial and promoting the product this year,” Paine says. “The Spradley family (owners of Standard Functional Foods) has been very generous in their financial support of the things we’re pursuing to spread the word.”

For customers not located in Nashville, Goo Goo Clusters will also host a month-long social media “scavenger hunt,” in which participants can win candy and prizes. However, Paine says plans for the project are still in progress.

In addition to the centennial celebration, the chocolatier also earned a 2012 American Package Design Award from Graphic Design USA for last year’s retro re-styling of the Goo Goo Clusters brand and packing.

“That was really gratifying,” Paine says. “The new look of the product is resonating with people.”

And while the last 100 years have been filled with ups and downs, Paine is happy with the brand’s development.

“It’s been a really challenge, but I really like the direction that the brand is headed,” he says.