Kevin Gass lived in Europe for eight years, and while he was there, he noticed that every kid he met seemed infatuated with something called a Kinder Surprise.
Basically, it’s a chocolate egg with a toy inside. After doing a little research, he realized that A. Kinder Surprise was one of the most popular candies in the world. And B. It was impossible to sell Kinder Surprise in the United States.
That’s because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Consumer Protection and Safety Division (CPSD) prohibited selling candy with inedible objects hidden inside of it, specifically to safeguard against choking hazards.
But Gass and his friend Laurence Molloy weren’t discouraged by this challenge. And so, they thought about it and thought it about, until they finally figured out a solution.
In short: They have created a plastic capsule that goes inside of a chocolate egg and can be filled with any sort of toy. The plastic capsule is very special because it has a little ridge on the edge that makes it so two half chocolate eggs can go on either side of it, and kids can still see the bright neon plastic in between.
Technically, that means the toy isn’t completely covered in chocolate. And thus, New Jersey-based Candy Treasure was born.
“The very first time we went to a retailer and showed it to them, the buyer looked at it, and said, ‘You mean I can get this now?’” Gass recalls.
The products went national this past Easter and had an excess of 90 percent sell-through rates.
Gass says his company meets all U.S. safety guidelines, and only includes toys appropriate for all ages, to comply with the CPSD.
“We go so far out of our way to test safe for all ages,” he explains. “As long as there are rules, then I’m glad that they are enforced.”
The candy is manufactured in Turkey and the shells are made with Swiss chocolate, Gass says. They sell for a suggested retail price of between $1-$1.49.
The propriety capsule design is patent-pending, which Gass believes gives his company a great deal of protection.
But the company doesn’t just make eggs. There’s also sport balls, a Spiderman ball, and Christmas ornaments. Gass also adds the company is finalizing a very popular girl’s license. Each of the series have 12-24 toys, including things like puzzles, temporary tattoos, little figurines, and stickers.
One of Gass’ favorite moments happened at a recent Christmas. Of all the things Santa brought, the kids asked his mom for one of the Candy Treasure ornaments hanging on the tree.
“If you can make kids smile, that’s a pretty good day,” Gass says.