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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Candy Tease - Sweets & Snacks Part 1

Next week is the annual Candy and Snack Expo in Chicago. It’s the even of the year for candy companies, as they introduce their new products. Here are a few new items that caught my eye with some already hitting shelves. There’s lots more in store, so I’ll be posting a few over the next two weeks.

Peeps MinisName: PEEPS Minis
Brand: Just Born
Description: This brand new item is available in flavors of Sour Watermelon, Strawberry Creme and Chocolate Creme. PEEPS® Mini’s available in 3.4 oz. Stand-Up Bags and Trial Size Packages.
Introduction Date: 05/15/14
Notes: Some folks are seeing these in stores already. It will be interesting to see how well they stand up to being tossed in a bag together. Peeps are generally more moist and easily squished than Campfire. A Christmas version featuring the Despicable Me Minions will also be on shelves in November.

Ferrero Golden GalleryName: Ferrero Golden Gallery
Brand: Ferrero
Description: A refined gallery of confectionery masterpieces expertly crafted by Ferrero. An assortment of exclusive recipes, a series of unique and irresistible flavors. The gift that makes every occasion feel special. Flavor Descriptions: • Manderly: A crunchy specialty with a velvety hazelnut cream filling, a sweet prelude to the unmistakeable taste of almond. • Cappuccino: A creamy, luscious filling combining the intense flavor of coffee and the delicate taste of milk. A surprising delight encased within a crunchy shell. • Rocher: ROCHER® chocolates are a tempting combination of luscious, creamy, chocolaty filling surrounding a whole hazelnut, within a delicate crisp wafer… all enveloped in milk chocolate and finely chopped hazelnuts. • Rondnoir: Rondnoir® fine dark chocolates are a unique combination of a creamy dark chocolate surrounding a hazelnut within a delicate, crisp wafer…topped with crunchy dark chocolate morsels. • Tenderly Nougat: A creamy nougat filling with a hint of citrusy notes meets the intense crunchiness of a whole hazelnut encased in milk chocolate. • Tenderly White: The smoothness of white chocolate and a whole hazelnut combine to create a perfect harmony.
Introduction Date: November 2014
Notes: I enjoy Ferrero Rond Noir and I’m happy to see some more expansion of their items. Most of these are available in Europe, though under different names, so it’s nice to finally see them here.

Queen Anne Cola CordialName: Queen Anne Cherry Cola - Cordial Black Cherries
Brand: World’s Finest Chocolate
Description: Traditional cola flavor with cherry essence along with a blend of citrus and spice with sweet, black cherry flavor.
Introduction Date: November 2014
Notes: This sounds completely odd, but I’m actually curious to see if it’s successful. In a market where everyone is putting in bacon or srirarcha, this actually sounds unique. Personally, I don’t think much of the quality of the Queen Anne line, but it still might work.

Apple Pie Candy CornName: Brach’s Apple Pie Candy Corn
Brand: Brach’s (Ferrara Candy Company)
Description: Apple pie flavored candy corn, made with real honey.
Introduction Date: September 2014
Notes: What’s as American as Apple Pie? Must be candy corn flavored like apple pie, but made in Mexico. My guess for new flavors: Root Beer Float, Creme Brulee and Peanut Butter Banana.

Wonka RandomsName: Wonka Randoms
Brand: Wonka (Nestle)
Description: A mix of soft, jam-filled, and dual-layered gummies in delicious fruity flavors in a variety of random fun shapes and colors! Millions of possible combinations, so you will never get the same bag twice!
Introduction Date: April 2014
Notes: This is another extension of the morselization process, where everything can now be mixed together. Wonka Randoms are already available in the UK and come in gummi mixes as well as chocolate and gummi combos. Many of the Wonka gummi items are also made with natural colorings, but there’s no word whether that’s the case with these.

All images courtesy of the respective manufacturer

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:44 am     All Candy ExpoCandyNew Product AnnouncementHighlightFeatured NewsComments (5)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Eat with your Eyes: Monopoly Gummi Cars

Monopoly 3Dees Cars Gummis

The New York Times had an interesting story about the resurgence of board games. Maybe folks should swap out their Monopoly pieces with gummis, though.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:47 pm     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (2)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mars challenges Hershey’s over the use of the name Malteser in US

In the battle for marketshare in the confectionery sector, it seems that some candy companies are more interested in getting our business by eliminating competition than gaining brand loyalty with exemplary products.

Malted Milk Balls

The latest battle involves old rivals Hershey and Mars, this time over malted milk balls. Mars makes Maltesers and Hershey’s makes Whoppers. But Hershey’s is also trying to assert the exclusive right to also make something called Malteser in the United States.

I don’t have the figures, but I’m going to guess that Hershey’s holds more than 70% of the market in malted milk balls with their Whoppers brand, but not necessarily because they’re the best but because they’re ubiquitous. Though I don’t have current figures, I’d estimate the brand is worth about $40 to $50 million in sales a year.

Mars Maltesers

Here’s a little history. Mars Maltesers were first sold in the United Kingdom in 1937. They were created as a diet candy; a chocolate candy with less chocolate and therefore less fat and calories. They’re also sold in Canada, New Zealand and Australia and exported to many other European countries. They can be purchased in shops that specialize in UK imports. Based on the number of brand extensions I’ve seen for Maltesers on my recent trip to London, I’d say that the candy is a much more important brand to Mars than Whoppers are to Hershey’s. Which may make them appear a threat.

Hershey's Whoppers

In 1939 an American candy company called Overland, introduced a malted milk ball candy sold under the name Giants, as they were larger than earlier versions called Malt-ettes. In 1949, two years after the company was sold to Leaf Inc, they were renamed Whoppers. There were many other companies that came and went that sold malted milk balls, but Whoppers have been made continuously ever since, even if their corporate overlords have changed.

Leaf Inc was once a formidable sugar candy company, the fourth largest in the US. They acquired many favorite American candy brands, including Jolly Rancher, Hollywood Brands (maker of Payday bars), Heath Bar, and Now and Later. Sometime in the 1960s Leaf started making something called Malteser and even registered a trademark for the name in 1962. I doubt they were widely distributed or advertised, as I can’t find any record of them . In 1983 Leaf was bought out by Huhtamäki Oyj, a Finnish company, which maintained the trademark registration. Mars sued Leaf over this trademark in 1993 and later settled out of court (so we don’t know the details) but Leaf retained the trademark.

For reasons I don’t quite understand, Leaf Inc divested and sold off many of its best brands, most to Hershey’s: Whoppers, Payday, Jolly Rancher and Heath Bar.
So, Hershey’s didn’t invent malted milk balls, and as far as I know, never had a national brand of their own until acquiring one.

Hershey Webstore - MalteserFast forward and lately Hershey’s has been releasing a product called Matleser: a malted milk ball that in all ways except packaging is identical to Whoppers. Though it’s a singular in the name, not Maltesers as the Mars product is, it’s also packaged in red.

The way trademarks work, not only do you need to register the trademark in all territories you plan to exercise it, you also need to use it. So if Hershey’s wanted to keep Mars from using Malteser in the US, by claiming it was an abandoned trademark, they had to demonstrate that Hershey’s wasn’t using it. I was able to find Hershey’s Malteser for sale on both the Hershey’s site and Amazon. I bought a box to confirm that they are just Whoppers in a different package. (They are.)

Hershey's Malteser

Mars contends that not only is Hershey’s squatting on the trademark in the United States, but that their packaging is intentionally confusing consumers to think that they’re purchasing the Mars version. I admit, they do look similar and even though I’m the candy blogger, I couldn’t remember of the top of my head if the Mars version was plural or singular until I started this research.

American trademark law is governed for the most part under the Lanham Act which covers trademark infringement and false advertising. The act was also revised in 1999 to encompass cybersquatting, the practice of registering domain names and then sitting on them or directing them to a competitor.

While Hershey’s practices up to the point where they created similar packaging were probably within the letter, though not the spirit of the law, my opinion after looking at the history, reading Mars’ brief on the case leads me to conclude that Hershey’s is just acting scummy. Whoppers are known by 300 million people in this country ... and if it’s not a favorable brand then Hershey’s should improve their quality, price point or packaging to the point where people are loyal to them.

Maltesers & Malteser
(Mars Maltesers on the left and Hershey’s Malteser on the right.)

I tried both again, just to check. Neither is great, but the do differ. Both have a mockolate coating, though the Mars version does have some cocoa butter in there. The centers, though both malty, have different textures. The Mars version is more honeycombed and has a easier crunch. The Hershey’s version is more milky tasting with a firm crunch that dissolves nicely. Both are excellent centers ... both have disappointing coatings. I prefer the Mars Maltesers.

Maltesers
(Mars Maltesers package circa 2005 which exhorts it’s “no ordinary chocolate”)

I’m a extremely curious if Mars were to introduced Maltesers in the United States if they would change the coating to real chocolate, as they do not make any mockolate products for the American market. However, Mars does not have a good track record for introducing the European candies to the US when there is another similar candy already on the market. They tried this with the Bounty bars, which are similar to Mounds and Almond Joy and they never took hold. Twix was a European launch that was then introduced in the US, but is a unique candy construction, which is how it established itself in its niche.

This is not an isolated issue in the candy business. Many candy companies go head to head in the courts instead of on the store shelves.

- The UK the courts have been deciding whether Cadbury should have exclusive rights to their shade of purple. Currently, the answer is no.
- The Seven Up Bar, which predates the 7-Up soda, ended up in a battle over the trademark of the name, which likely led to the demise of the bar when they sold the rights to the name, then licensed them back. (And a candy bar and a soda are two different categories.)
- Nestle owns the rights to the name Smarties everywhere in the world except the United States, where the name was already in use by the tangy tablets made by CeDe Candy. CeDe then had to rename their Smarties to Rockets when they introduced them in Canada.
- Nestle is trying to trademark the shape and construction of the KitKat bar in Europe, though it may be too late as there are already several knock off products.

For more reading on the issue, here are some other trade articles on the case:
Candy Industry: Mars Sues Hershey Over Trademark Infringement
Law360: Mars Not Sweet on Hershey’s Fake Maltesers Candy
Confectionery News: Hershey ‘tricking US consumers with fake Maltesers,’ claims Mars
Trademarkia: 1962 US Trademark registration for Malteser
Collecting Candy: The Visual History of Whoppers (via candy wrappers & advertising)

Related Candies

  1. Mars MaltEaster Bunnies
  2. Ovomaltine Chocolate Bar
  3. Hershey’s Whoppers
  4. Target’s Market Pantry Malted Milk Balls
  5. Eat with your Eyes: White Malteasers
  6. Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Malted Milk Eggs (Plus a Bonus)
  7. Mighty Malts
  8. Jelly Belly Chocolate Malt Balls
  9. Mars Maltesers

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:41 am     CandyHershey'sMarsMaltMockolateUnited KingdomUnited StatesHighlightNewsComments (5)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Cadbury Dairy Milk Pebbles

Cadbury Dairy Milk PebblesThe trend of making little poppable versions of popular candies extends to Europe, so when I saw these new Cadbury Dairy Milk Pebbles in London, I picked them up. Cadbury already makes several morsel versions of their popular Dairy Milk chocolate. They make Buttons, which are little disks and of course the Easter version, the Cadbury Mini Eggs which have a shell.

Now Cadbury has a shell candy for all year round consumption, completing their entry into the world of morselization. I’ve also seen that Cadbury’s parent company, Mondelez (once part of Kraft) has created bagged mixes that include the Pebbles, mini Oreos, and Maynard’s gummi candies. Kind of like the M&Ms Sweet & Salty Snack Mix that came out from Mars.

Like most Cadbury chocolate products in the United Kingdom, this is not real milk chocolate. It’s what’s commonly called “family chocolate” which is a nice way of saying, “We don’t need to waste expensive cocoa butter on children, we’ll substitute some oil in there.” So it’s a quasi-mockolate product that uses some cocoa butter and some vegetable oil. Still, it’s not like it’s R. M. Palmer mockolate, it’s made from 23% milk content and 20% cocoa content ... then, you know, some sugar and a few oils, natural colors and shellac.

Cadbury Pebbles

Instead of going with the typical lentil shape, the pieces are like flattened Cadbury Mini Eggs. They’re kind of like guitar picks. The colors are plain, for the most part when I dumped them out of the bag they were a little chalky looking but polished up pretty easily with a paper towel. (I figured they deserved a little spa treatment after being carted partway around the world.)

Cadbury Pebbles

The yellow ones are a bit odd though, because of the all natural colorings, the ingredients on this particular one is a little odd. It’s kind of like curry ...a little grassy. The chocolate center is smooth, a little malty but with a thin punch of chocolate flavor. The shell is wonderfully crunchy, outside of the odd yellow one. The whole combination is really a great candy, I enjoyed eating them, though it certainly didn’t satisfy my desire for chocolate. I would be interested in trying these in some sort of mixed bag with mini Oreos and perhaps a few nuts.

I doubt that Cadbury will attempt to license this to Hershey’s for production under their deal. So American’s will have to content themselves with imports or just stocking up in the Easter version.

They contain milk, corn and soy. There’s no statement about nuts or gluten. Though Cadbury has started certifying some candies with sourcing information, the Dairy Milk Pebbles did not have a the Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance stamp.

Related Candies

  1. Sugarfina Beverly Hills & Trio of Goodies
  2. Snickers Unwrapped Bites
  3. Milka Bars, Milka Drops and some Li’l Milka
  4. Schluckwerder Fancy Marzipan Eggs
  5. Hershey’s Drops: Milk Chocolate & Cookies n Creme
  6. Hershey’s Almond Joy Pieces
  7. Cadbury Mini Eggs


Name: Dairy Milk Pebbles
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Cadbury
Place Purchased: Waitrose (London)
Price: £ 2.00 ($3.37)
Size: 4.94 ounces
Calories per ounce: 141
Categories: Candy, Cadbury, Kraft, Chocolate, Mockolate, 7-Worth It, United Kingdom

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:48 am     CandyMorselizationReviewCadburyKraftChocolateMockolate7-Worth ItUnited KingdomComments (2)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Equal Exchange Peanut Butter

Milk Chocolate Peanut ButterEqual Exchange, the cooperative that sells cocoa, coffee, tea and chocolate made with fair trade ingredients sent me some of their new candy bars. They really fit right into the candy bar sector, not the high end chocolate bars. They currently make three bars, I thought I’d tackle a review of the Equal Exchange Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Bar first, since it’s the one with the widest appeal.

The bar is 1.5 ounces, which is a perfect single serving size. The wrapper is orange, lots and lots of orange, which is the universal color to represent peanuts, just like blue is supposed to represent milk chocolate. The bars are made in Peru with cacao from Peruvian cocoa co-ops.

Equal Exchange Peanut Butter

The format of the bar is simple, it’s long and narrow with 7 segments. Inside the milk chocolate shell is a peanut butter filling. The ingredients are very simple: sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, peanuts, chocolate solids, sea salt and soy lecithin. (Organic where possible.) There are not additional oils in there, which is a nice change. Many peanut butter candies use some vegetable oils to stabilize the peanut butter.

Equal Exchange Peanut Butter

The bar smells sweet and a little nutty, but not terribly notable or enticing. The chocolate is smooth, rather sweet but overall has no real defining kick. The peanut butter center is firm, but melts well in the mouth. There’s no chalky grain like many American peanut butter candies. There’s a little hint of salt ... but it’s missing a roasted peanut oomph. I recognize this may be because the peanuts used for the peanut butter are not American (though the label doesn’t say their source). It’s a little grassy, but not much else. It’s kind of like Reese’s Pieces. The ratios are a lot more balanced, you can see there’s a lot of chocolate for the amount of peanut butter.

Overall, this is not a bar I would purchase. There are some good options out there in the peanut butter cup format for those looking for better ingredients and sourcing. For those in Canada, you can also find these bars under the Camino label. As far as Equal Exchange goes, I will still continue to eat the Milk Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt, it’s an excellent hybrid of high end chocolate and candy satisfaction.

Related Candies

  1. Equal Exchange Dark Bars: Raspberry, Lemon Ginger, and Coconut
  2. Equal Exchange Milk and Dark Chocolate Foil Eggs
  3. Nectar Nugget Peanut Butter and Almond Butter Cups
  4. Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt
  5. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  6. Sun Cups


Name: Organic and Fairly Traded Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $1.99 retail
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 173
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Organic, Peanuts, 6-Tempting, Peru

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:23 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewEqual ExchangeChocolateEthically SourcedKosherOrganicPeanuts6-TemptingPeruComments (0)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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COUNTDOWN

Sweets & Snacks Expo Starts

-103 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter

 

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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