All Candy Expo
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Today is the start of All Candy Expo, the national exhibition of candy & snacks sponsored by the National Confectioners Association. Over three days over 450 exhibitors will sample their wares on the show floor while tens of thousands of candy store owners, chain store buyers, wholesalers & distributors will will walk the aisles. It’s an awesome and intimidating place to be, it makes me a bit giddy and also overwhelmed (there’s so much!). Once again my dayjob prevents me from attending so I’ll sit here and remotely broadcast items of interest.
Here are some new product announcements:
Name: Wee Glee
Brand: Gleey Gum (Verve, Inc.)
Description: In a brightly packaged box full of miniature pieces of mixed flavors of chewing gum, Wee Glee provides a fun-filled chewing experience sure to brighten the moods and tickle the taste buds of children and adults alike. Like the rest of the Glee line, Wee Glee is all-natural, vegetarian, additive-free, lactose-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, casein-free, egg-free, yeast-free, and nut-free with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Notes: I tried this at ExpoWest a few months ago. The little pieces are a bit thicker than Chiklets. I find their gum sticks to my fillings, but the flavor is much clearer than a lot of other gums (but dissipates quickly).
Name: Sour Patch Chillerz
Description: Leaving you with a long-lasting shock that’s Sour then Sweet (r), Sour Patch Chillerz(tm) is a soft and chewy Sour Patch candy creation that leaves a surge of cool at the end! Sour Patch Chillerz(tm) come in a movie-theater size bag with an assortment of delicious flavors including Berry Punch Chiller(tm), Frozen Lemonade(tm), Strawberry Shiver(tm) and Frosty Grape(tm). Each bite-size candy screams with out-of-this-world tartness.
Notes: There have been a few candies lately that have mixed this “cool feeling” of menthol and fruity flavors. Sometimes it works ... sometimes it doesn’t. I have a package and have to admit, they do look pretty cute.
Name: Black Forest Juicy Oozers
Brand: Ferrara Pan
Description: Get chomping on Cherry Gummy Sharks, the shark-a-licious wild cherry chews burst in your mouth with juicy centers and 10 percent DV Vitamin C. Or pucker up and try Sour Gummy Fun Fish, a pack of squishy, gushy sour flavored gummies that come in a variety of four different sea creature shapes and four fantastic juicy center flavors: Twisted Triple Berry, Screamin’ Strawberry Kiwi, Tangy Tangerine and Wacky Watermelon.
Description: Yes, if you make a gummi product in 2009 you must make a variation with a gooey center if you don’t already. It’s a law. Look it up.
Name: Goetze Gourmet Caramel Creams Licorice
Description: These marry the rich flavor of black licorice with our classic rich and creamy center. Naturally flavored with Real Licorice Extract, each serving of this wholesome confection is also fortified with 30% RDA of calcium and 11% RDA of fiber. These 9oz stand up bags are available in 12ct cases with a Suggested Retail Price of $2.99 per bag.
Notes: I was reading somewhere that Goetze used to make Licorice Caramel Creams, so I’m very excited at their return. I’m not sure what this whole “gourmet” part is, but I’m on board no matter what.
Name: Sour Punch Bits
Brand: American Licorice
Description: Packing a wallop, chewy Sour Punch Bits(r) is the perfect pairing of mouth-watering strawberry and watermelon fruit flavors rolled up into one bite-size soft candy chew. Scrumptious in Strawberry-Watermelon, the sweet-yet-sour Sour Punch Bits(r) will surprise your mouth!
Notes: I love little morsels as an option for candies that are usually in ropes or bars. The curious part about these is that they’re actually paired in each piece. I’m not sure I want them together in every bite, but I’ll give them a try (I have a box).
Name: Caramel Apple Pops
Description: If you’re a sucker for lollipops, try an Apple Orchard Caramel Apple Pop(tm), the delicious apple candy pop with smooth caramel coating. Enjoy the ripe apple flavor and creamy caramel taste with every lick, now available in Golden Delicious and green apple caramel apple flavors.
Notes: For several years now Tootsie has brought out the Caramel Apple Pop as a seasonal item (maybe it’s available all year round). Now they have a few new variations. I have some samples and will try to post about them late this summer.
Name: Werther’s Original Creamy Caramel Filled
Description: Featuring a smooth caramel shell, with a creamy caramel filling! Now available in peg and laydown packs.
Notes: These remind me a bit of Pearson’s Caramel Parfait Nips. But I don’t know if the caramel is hard or soft. It’ll be interesting to try.
Name: Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Chocolate
Brand: Ghirardelli Chocolate
Description: New Ghirardelli LUXE MILK chocolate bars and bags deliver the ultimate milk chocolate experience with rich and creamy Ghirardelli milk chocolate using simply delicious, all natural ingredients. As with all of our premium chocolate products, we hand select the world’s finest cocoa beans to create our proprietary bean blend and roast them to perfection. Then we slow-blend in the purest ingredients such as real cocoa butter and natural vanilla, to achieve our distinctively intense chocolate. Special packaging for Valentine’s Day.
Notes: The Luxe Milk line has been out since the beginning of the year. I was quite enamored of the crisped rice bar. I’ve tried the other varieties and found Ghirardelli’s milk chocolate flavor quite odd. More on that soon.
Brand: Landrin, USA
Description: Landrin Waferatto Perfections are a collection of gourmet confections available in five exciting flavors; all capturing the fine blend of a crisp wafer shell, smooth filling and crunchy nut, creating an unforgettable triple taste sensation. Landrin - Experience the delicate taste of Landrin Classic Waferatto, a combination of white chocolate and shredded coconut with a whole California almond and silky cream center surrounded by a crisp wafer. Or discover Landrin Waferatto Gold with its exquisite chocolaty hazelnut filling, embraced in delicate cream, wafer and the finest crushed hazelnuts.
Notes: These folks won’t leave me alone and seem to have captured all my email addresses from various trade shows I’ve attended. Basically they’re like Ferrero Rocher. I’ve picked up samples before several times but have yet to actually eat one. Soon, soon I’ll try them.
All photos courtesy of the manufacturers unless otherwise watermarked
- Candy Tease: April 2009
- Candy Tease: Spring 2009
- Candy Tease: February 2009
- Candy Tease: Autumn 2008
- Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #5
- Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2008 #4
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Here are the last few stories that have trickled in about All Candy Expo. I expect that after everyone has gotten a little sleep over the holiday weekend there may be some more wrap ups.
The AV Club at The Onion shows us how it’s done with their roundup up of All Candy Expo and note a few moments of poor treatment by booth-cops. (Enter the Octopus has a post about that, too.)
Chicagoist has a list of Five Items from All Candy Expo That Should Not Be Allowed to Exist. I have to admit, I have never reviewed any of the items on that list.
The Candy Podcast kids (and parents) also went to All Candy Expo and have an incredible set of photos available on Flickr.
Interesting news from the trade publications, this one about convenience stores from Convenience Store Petroleum magazine. The thing that caught my eye was this little factoid about how we approach the candy aisle: Shoppers shop first by segment (gum, chocolate, etc.), then by usage, then package type and finally by brand.
This makes perfect sense. I usually have something in mind like “I want something tangy!” and then go from there. I’m not sure what they mean by package type, I’m guessing size. (Though most convenience stores don’t have much choice in size of packages like grocery stores do.)
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Here are a few items I sampled, I’m probably not going to do a full review of them but I wanted to show them to you:
Chuao Firecracker ChocoPod
The newest addition to the ChocoPod line. I got this one in a simple little cellophane bag, so I didn’t think it was fair to give it the full tilt boogie review without final packaging.
It’s similar to the classic Spicy Maya ChocoPods, just a little cacao pod shaped disk of 60% dark chocolate, weighing in, I guess, at a little over a third of an ounce, it’s about two bites.
The inclusions make it a little bumpy in spots. The chocolate smells more like chili, but a little sweet and smoky. There are a lot of pop rocks in there, they’re completely unflavored, just lightly sweet little sugar bits ... that just so happen to pop. Some of the little bits, however, are salt crunches.
Some bites are pretty poppy, some bites are really hot, others are salty. It’s a noisy bit of chocolate (and even got a few sneezes out of me).
It’s a fun little diversion. I appreciate that it’s a small piece, not a huge bar, but I don’t think I’d want more.
Rating: 7 out of 10
PEZ Chocolate Candy
First, you’ll probably note that I don’t mention PEZ much on Candy Blog. I don’t like it. The candy just isn’t very good and the idea of collecting the little dispensers never thrilled me. But I fully applaud those who get into it.
PEZ has brought out a few other flavors of their candy tablets. Last year it was Cola and they have a Sugar Free version as well. This year they’re highlighting the Chocolate version.
As you can tell from the photo, they’re very light in color, which should give you an indication of the depth of the flavor. It tastes like I’ve inhaled some Cocoa Pebbles. Not actually eat then, just, you know, been near the Cocoa Pebbles dust. They’re sweet but have just a slight cocoa note.
Rating: 3 out of 10
Organic Confections Raspberry & Cream Bar
It’s an organic twist on classic tastes.
So just looking at it, with only the name to go off of, I thought, “this is a white chocolate bar with dried raspberry bits in it.” Which sounded pretty good in my head, kind of like the Hershey’s Limited Edition one a couple of years back ... but organic!
Hmm, somewhere I led myself astray. It’s not white chocolate, it’s a non-colored confection made of organic sugar, organic whole milk powder and organic fractionated palm kernel oil. And it’s crunchy. Those presumed raspberry bits are actually crushed raspberry flavored hard candy.
It took me a while to get used to the texture, but it wasn’t creamy enough for me.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Albanese Confectionery Cappuccino Biscotti
These little milk chocolate covered nuggets smell sweet and like a light coffee drink. They’re about the size of a garbanzo bean, though some are twinned (not that it keeps me from eating them). The nugget inside isn’t quite as hard and crunchy as a biscotti, but they’re plenty crunchy. They’re almost like graham cracker nuggets.
The combo is quite nice, easy to eat and keep munching.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Albanese Confectionery Dark Chocolate Cranberries
It’s not an illusion in the photo, these are very dark, like clumps of tar. The chocolate covered dried cranberries are not as flavorful as I’d hoped. Honestly, I’ve tried a few products over the years and none of them have really satisfied me. The cranberries, while soft and chewy, they’re just not tangy or flavorful. The chocolate is sweet, but not dark and flavorful enough ... though the texture combo of the creamy melt and moist chew is good.
They’re probably jam packed with antioxidants, but I’ll probably stick with chocolate covered raisins, if only because they’re cheaper and provide pretty much the same experience.
Rating: 6 out of 10
- Albanese Gummi Butterflies
- Short & Sweet: Fancy Food Bites
- Cookie Dough Bites
- Java Twix
- Best Regards: Craves
Thursday, May 22, 2008
As the All Candy Expo for 2008 comes to a close, writers from all over are heading home and this little trickle of stories is just the start of what will be a summer of fun coverage of new products & trends:
Jamie at Candy Addict has great observations on the new trends with dark chocolate, combining chocolate & fruit and chocolate & nuts.
Liz didn’t stay for the whole time, but has a pretty snazzy haul to show off (and a photo of Jacques Torres).
Faith at The Kitchen (Apartment Therapy) has a wonderful condensed version of Jacques Torres’ session on how to taste chocolate.
Caitlin at Candy Addict also wraps things up with a few closing notes ... and confirms that her haul was 45 pounds of candy. (What a bad year to have luggage surcharges.)
Brandweek discusses Mars push into more customizable candy. M&Ms can be printed with sayings, logos and now even your face. Dove bites can be wrapped in your own customized sayings. Someday maybe they’ll let me special order Marathon bars.
The Los Angeles Examiner actually has a caffeine columnist who gave the new Tootsie Roll Maxxed Pops a try.
- Caffe Acapella - Coffee Confections
- The Traveling with Candy Balancing Act
- M&Ms Line
- Jacques Torres
Name: Stainer Chocolate
Description: comprises one of The World’s Largest Selection of Gourmet Chocolate Bars. Our lines include unique flavors such as chili pepper, rose, world spices, green tea and jasmine, champagne, and many more. Our base chocolate includes organic, sugar-free, single origin, dark, milk, and white chocolate.
Release Date: 5/6/2008
Notes: This isn’t a new product, but their appearance at the All Candy Expo marks their move into the North American market. This Italian brand has lovely packaging and of course a huge array of flavors. I picked a couple up at Chocolate covered in San Francisco, so I’ll have some tasting notes in the coming months, hopefully as they start appearing more regularly in American stores.
Name: American Classics: Mississippi Mud Truffle, New York Cheesecake Ganache & Southern Pecan Chocolate Torte
Brand: Russell Stover
Description: Chocolate medleys inspired by some of America’s best-loved, homespun desserts.
Release Date: 5/1/2008
Notes: So far it only says that these come in little squares in single flavor packs (no mixed bags).
Name: Dan’s Chocolates
Brand: Dan’s Chocolates
Description: Dan’s Chocolates makes all natural individually wrapped chocolate bars and truffle bars by blending the finest chocolates and funky inclusions. With names like “Peppy-R-Mint,” “The Caffeinator,” and “Trail Hound,” we try not to take ourselves too seriously.
Release Date: 5/20/2008
Notes: The packaging is cute, with nice bright colors and pretty easy-to-understand but distinctive names, Dan’s is poised to at least raise some interest in the crowded premium market. No word on the retail price though.
Name: Yummiees LOW GI Natural Fruit Flavored Jelly Candy
Brand: Allseps & Capricorn Liquorice
Description: made with Natural Colours, Natural Flavours and do not contain Cane Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners. yummiees are sweetened with a Natural LOW GI Fruit Syrup and are also low in sodium. 4 varieties - Aussie Animals, Party Mix, Snakes & Frogs
Release Date: 1/8/2008
Notes: When someone says lower GI, I think lower gastrointestinal tract, not low glycemic index. (But that’s my baggage ... too many doctor shows.)
- Friday’s San Francisco Candy Adventure
- Brach’s Gummi+Plus & Tropical Gummis
- Russell Stover Private Reserve Vanilla Bean Brulee
- Lindt: 60% Extra Dark Truffles
I know I don’t do many gum reviews, I don’t consider myself a great connoisseur of the stuff. I’m perfectly happy with good old Peppermint Chiklets. But the All Candy Expo box included about 25 packages of gum, here are three that caught my attention:
Glee Gum Bubblegum Flavor: The natural pink coloring here is from beets and I can’t think of a more lovely way for a beet to be displayed. The little chicklets in this case are made with actual chicle, a natural sap from Manilkara trees native to the Americas. Very few gums are made with this natural base these days. Harvesting the gum from the trees is rather like tapping Maple trees for sap or Rubber trees for latex - it doesn’t harm the trees and helps to preserve forest & their inhabitants. (Though they harvest it by making huge gashes in the bark that allow the gum to ooze out for collection unlike the little metal spiked taps that they use for maple harvests, the trees are essentially unharmed.)
I’ve tried Glee before, it’s sold at the checkout at Trader Joe’s and the infectiously cute box tempts me every time. I didn’t care for orange, which seemed grainier and stuck to my fillings, but have had the peppermint a few times since then.
The crunchy sugar shell is lightly flavored, bubblegum flavor is usually fresh tasting, a little like cotton candy with a little dash of root beer. The sugary sweetness doesn’t last that long, then it’s a very mild flavor and a good soft & smooth chew.
I have had some of my amalgam fillings replaced with composite, so I’m not having the sticking problem I used to. I don’t think the bubblegum flavor is for me, probably because it’s not actually bubble gum. (See more about this all natural gum at the Glee Gum website.)
Rating: 7 out of 10
WOWzers Strawberry from Maxim International describes itself on the package as Explosive and Sour Powder Bubble Gum. I wasn’t really sure what it was. At first I thought it was a tube of something like Pixy Stix that you chew until it becomes gum (like a powdered Razzle).
Instead, it’s a long tube of bubble gum (strawberry flavored, in this case) about as big around as a bubble gum cigar. Inside it’s hollow and filled with a white crumbly, crunchy & grainy sour powder (a la Pixy Stix).
It feels overpackaged. It’s inside a long mylar wrapper, which has a little waxed cardstock tray that wraps around three sides of the product. The version I have is 1.2 ounces but the one I teased yesterday are 3.6 ounces (and probably about three times the length). They also come in Fruit Punch, Apple & Grape.
First, the product looks, well, a little odd out of the package. Kind of like a 9 inch long extremely thin hot dog. It’s not made into individual portions, which I’d figure is about 2 inches.
The bite is soft and easy, immediately tangy and grainy. The candy sand dissolves and dissipates pretty quickly. It’s sour and certainly gets the salivary glands working, much in the way the old Quench Gum did. After that wears away with chewing it’s a rather sweet and plain strawberry bubble gum. It’s a very soft chew which takes a while before it’s appropriate for bubble blowing.
These are made in China. I don’t think they’re for me, but it’s a fun new blend of confections and might please some kids.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Okay, I was kind of liberal with the “pink” part of the title. Hubba Bubba Glop Strawberry Gush is actually red when it comes out of the package. It gets pink when you chew it. It also comes in watermelon flavor.
These are already available on stores, I saw them at CVS in Hollywood earlier this week. They come in a hard plastic tube with a flip top. It seems like a bit too much packaging, though I can see a few ways to reuse the tube, which is coded 05 (polypropylene) for recycling. The outer wrap comes off, so it’d just be a plain red tube good for holding extra batteries, more candy, a very small portion of carrot sticks, condiments or some headphones.
Inside are five huge pieces. They’re shaped like footballs and are the size of a small pecan in the shell.
While most gumballs are hollow, the glop part of this gum fills that void. The gum has a hard crunchy shell, then the soft and sweet gum then a reservoir of sweet strawberry goo in the center. The goo is tangy and sticky, but pretty flavorful.
It’s a good chewing bubble gum. I don’t think I need the gooey center, but it’s interesting and as long as you know it’s going to be there, adds some more flavor. The bubbles were good, large without being too sticky. A single piece was a good portion for chewing.
(I’m really intrigued by this Cola version available in Australia - regular Hubba Bubba is also available in Cola flavor in other parts of the world.)
Rating: 7 out of 10
- Tiny Size Chiclets
- Gold Mine Gum
- Short & Sweet: Gums
- Sandy Candy
- Giant Pixy Stix
- Dubble Bubble Fluff
- Glee Gum: If You Like Stuff Stuck to Your Teeth
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Dave Simmer’s excited about the new Star Trek Pez (and the chocolate candy tablets ... we’re going to have to disagree there).
Chicago Sun Times has an excellent set of tasting notes (I have to disagree with a couple of items) including Crackheads, Crown Tequila Nuggets, the new M&Ms Premiums, Giant Chewy Wonka Nerds and more. Don’t miss the photo gallery and the separate story about customizable M&Ms that you can put your own face on! (photo by Keith Hale/Sun-Times)
Medill Reports adds a few comments on trends, and further info & a glimpse of the new M&Ms Premiums packaging.
Fellow candy writer Elizabeth LaBau who edits the candy section for About.com has some stellar coverage so far. Here’s her rundown from the first day but don’t miss her great photos, especially of Joseph Schmidt’s chocolate creations.
A big tip of the hat to Candy Addict and their notes from the floor:Candy Expo Day 1 - Brian’s Notes - I’m so happy to hear we’re finally getting Spearmint Mentos and his thoughts on the M&Ms Premium line.
Candy Expo Day 1 - Caitlin’s Notes - I completely understand how overwhelming it is (and it’s not a first-timers thing, I think it’s always like that).
And finally, just for fun, relive Cameron Gray’s Tuesday with photos as they were posted from the floor.
Name: Altoids Cr?me de Menthe
Brand: Wrigley’s (Mars)
Description: New Altoids Cr?me de Menthe delivers the quick hit of strong flavor you expect, but with a “sweet kick.” This new flavor is available in both the Curiously Strong Mint and Chocolate Dipped Mint varieties. Altoids - The only mint that freshens your mouth and your mind.
Release Date: 6/1/2008
Notes: I’m not sure what the difference between peppermint, spearmint and creme de menthe is, but I’m strongly curious.
Name: LifeSavers Gummies Tangy Fruits
Brand: Wrigley’s (Mars)
Description: Includes six great-tasting bold flavors and the perfect chewy texture that consumers love. The new Tangy Fruits roll pack include the following flavors: Tangerine, Watermelon, Lemon, Sour Apple, Tangy Cherry and Wild Berry Punch.
Release Date: 6/1/2008
Notes: I love tangerine. I will follow any LifeSavers tangerine product to the ends of the earth. Consider me a customer. (I’m wondering if these are like the sours, but without the tart sugar sand coating.)
Name: Loud Truck Energy Gummi
Brand: Loud Truck Energy Gummi
Description: Loud Truck Energy Fueled Gummies.Taste great. Contains Guarana Extract. Natural energy.Vitamins B12 and C. No crash Energy.
Whether your playing sports, stayin up late for school,at work or just need that extra boost of energy. 1 oz bags. 12 bags per case.
Release Date: 3/1/2008
Notes: I think this is the best name ever for a candy. I don’t know why, but it’s so crazily evocative (and I don’t care much for loud trucks) that I’ll probably end up buying a package just because.
Brand: Maxim Manufacturing and Marketing
Description: Sour Powder filled tube bubble gum
Release Date: 5/1/2008
Notes: It’s like a gum cigar, only with a hollow center with a strawberry Pixy Stix inside.
Name: Gummi Butterflies
Brand: Albanese Confectionery
Description: Bold colors and delicious flavors. Flutter away with the newest version of the World’s Best Gummi!
Release Date: 5/20/2008
Notes: I’ve already seen these and I have to say, they’re so cute I wish they made them when I was a kid. They’re also coming out with Theater sized boxes of their 12 Flavored Bears and Super Sour Neon Gummi Worms. (It would be cool to find their stuff more easily, it’s usually reall well priced.)
(images courtesy of the manufacturers’ press kits)
- Brach’s Gummi+Plus & Tropical Gummis
- Lifesavers Gummies Sour
- Mentos Plus Citrus Mix
- Chocolate Dipped Altoids
- Lifesaver Gummies
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