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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Eat with Your Eyes: Polly

Sockerbit, the Swedish candy shop in New York City, finally opened a West Coast store ... and it’s walking distance from my office.

Sockerbit - Polly

The past couple of times I’ve been over there, I’ve picked up a scoop of Polly. They’re little nougat nuggets dipped in chocolate. They’re cute, kind of like Milk Duds in the consistency of the chew but with a rum note to them. Here’s my original review of selections I picked up in the New York City store.

There’s a world of candy out there ... what are you eating this summer?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:44 pm     CandySwedenHighlightShoppingComments (5)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Eat with your Eyes: Spearmint Starlights

Coastal Bay Starlight Mints Spearmint

Though it’s easy to find starlight mints, they’re not exactly the most desirable candy out there. It’s just a dependable little mint. It’s fun to see them changed up with a slightly different flavor tweak. I’m rather fond of Spearmint Starlights, which actually go with fruit flavors a little better than peppermint ... if you were pairing your hard candies.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:13 pm     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (0)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Candy Tease - Sweets & Snacks Part 2

Pissa Candy BlocksName: Candy Blocks
Brand: PISSA
Description: Build, Imagine, Taste!! Multicolored Building Blocks of pressed dextrose and the kids imagination is all you need to take full advantage of the new generation of didactic candies. Candy Blocks do not only taste great but make a new and fun experience every time. Each pouch contains up to 50g of pressed dextrose candy in 3 different shapes and 6 mixed flavors.
Introduction Date: 6/6/2013
Notes: The announcement says that they’re already available, though I haven’t seen them in stores anywhere. Concord already makes a Lego-style candy block, which I appreciate aesthetically but don’t find them very tasty. These pieces look rounded, and narrow, which may be better for eating instead of the pointy ends of the other variety.

Demet's Dark TurtleName: Dark Chocolate Almond Turtles
Brand: Demet’s Candy
Description: Made with 60% cocoa dark chocolate, salted almonds and homemade caramel, the item joins original, cashew, sea salt caramel and hazelnut varieties.
Introduction Date: October 2014
Notes: It’s about time turtles came in dark chocolate. Though it’s not a very dark chocolate, I’d love to be able to pick up a caramel nut patty with nuts that’s just a little less sweet.

Starburst FaveRed MiniName: Starburst FaveREDs Minis
Brand: Wrigley’s (Mars)
Description:
Starburst Minis are being extended to include Starburst FaveREDs Minis, which means all the best Starburst red juicy flavors will be available in smaller and unwrapped chews for a perfect sweet snack. Starburst FaveREDs Minis include: strawberry, fruit-punch, watermelon and cherry.

Introduction Date: December 2014
Notes: The unwrapped minis were introduced over a year ago. They’re interesting, like some sort of uncoated Skittles, but lack the flavor intensity of the classic Starburst.
     
Name: Starburst Superfruit
Brand: Wrigley’s (Mars)
Description: Superfruit flavors combines your favorite juicy Starburst® flavors with delicious Superfruit flavors. Each pack contains mouthwatering Raspberry Pomegranate, Strawberry Starfruit, Passionfruit Punch and Blueberry Acai
Introduction Date: December 2014
Notes: I think jumping on the superfruit flavors now is a little behind the trend line ... and I don’t see any really interesting flavors in this list that aren’t just slight shifts or tweaks of already available flavors that Starburst has put out over years.

Name: Skittles Orchards
Brand: Wrigley’s (Mars)
Description: New Skittles® Orchards contain a delicious mix of fruit flavors that you might find on an Orchard. Each pack of Skittles® Orchards pack contains Red Apple, Cherry, Lime, Peach, & Orange fruit flavors
Introduction Date: December 2014
Notes: So lime is back in another mix. I wonder if this means that Darkside is going away.

Name: Skittles Mash-Ups
Brand: Wrigley’s (Mars)
Description: Skittles® will launch new Mash-Ups, combining two favorites flavors, Tropical and Wildberry, in one pack.
Introduction Date: December 2014
Notes: This is kind of confusing ... instead of 5 flavors, it’s actually 10 flavors? Are they going to do away with Tropical and Wildberry and just sell this combo pack?

York MinisName: York Minis
Brand: York Minis
Description: The uniquely refreshing taste of cool peppermint and smooth dark chocolate is now bite-sized.
Introduction Date: May 2014
Notes: These are just teeny, tiny peppermint patties. It’s a great idea, kind of like Junior Mints. I’d buy them.

All images courtesy of the respective company

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:29 am     All Candy ExpoCandyNew Product AnnouncementDemet's Candy CompanyHershey'sWrigley'sHighlightNewsComments (2)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Eat with your Eyes: Truffle Disks

Choxie Valentines

There was a time, a few years back, when Target used to have its own brand of chocolate called Choxie. They used a variety of companies to create their custom branded confections, so it turned out a little uneven.

Some of it was good, some of it wasn’t quite as well made. I miss the adventure of such a large new product line, but I think Target does a much better job of curating top brands than creating something from scratch like a whole line of chocolate products.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:23 am     CandyChoxie (Target)HighlightPhotographyComments (2)

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)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Eat with your Eyes: Dairy Milk Pebbles

Here’s something new I picked up in London that I’ll do a review of shortly: Cadbury Dairy Milk Pebbles.


Cadbury Pebbles

If you tried to flatten out your Cadbury Mini Eggs, they’d be crushed. Somehow Cadbury has magically made them into little skipping stones.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:09 pm     CandyHighlightPhotographyComments (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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