As news got out Wednesday that Pearson Candy Co. had acquired theBit-O-Honey brand from Nestle USA, Inc., Michael Keller, Pearson’s president, said everyone who heard about it had this instant reaction, an “Oh! I used to eat that when I was growing up!” moment.
“There’s not a single person that doesn’t know the brand,” he says. “Everybody’s aware of it. It’s not a small brand or a regional brand. It’s very big news for Pearson Candy and for Minnesota.”
And it’s that kind of awareness that makes him confident his company can revitalize the candy, which is more than 90 years old.
“It’s a great product, an iconic product,” he explains. “We have this great portfolio of classic, iconic candy brands and we’re getting good at breathing some new life into brands.”
Keller’s referring to the efforts Pearson’s has made to its brands since being sold to the Brynwood Partners in August of 2011. Since then, it has successfully worked to revamp Pearson's Salted Nut Roll, Pearson's Mint Patties, Pearson's Nut Goodies and Pearson's Bun.
Keller says that while Nestle saw Bit-O-Honey as a small brand, Pearson will treat it differently.
“It couldn’t possibly get the attention that it could get at Pearson’s,” he explains. “Sometimes larger companies, they will divest in small brands. And you can’t focus on everything, which leaves opportunities for small companies like us."
But with Pearsons, that will change.
“In this case, we believe that with some focus on it — whether it's changes we make to packaging, new products, new packs — we can be successful. Our sales force will be super-focused on it,” Keller says.
The exact terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, but the deal is finalized.
Pearson hopes to be manufacturing Bit-O-Honey within its facility, but it still exploring all its options.
He added that they’ll definitely be representing Bit-O-Honey at the upcoming Sweets and Snacks Expo as well as other upcoming shows.