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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)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Candy Made to Taste Like Cake

There are always flavor trends. Tropical fruits, pumpkin pie spice, hot pepper ... much of it is a pendulum that swings from novelty to the familiar in unfamiliar settings. One of the new flavor trends that has been pointed out by food industry writers is cake.

Cake Candy

Cake itself isn’t a flavor, it’s just an item you can make with some batter and an oven. There are a few different versions of the cake as candy flavors. The popular varieties are Red Velvet Cake, Birthday Cake and Carrot Cake. I gathered together a few that I’ve picked up in the past few weeks out of curiosity, then I thought maybe I should go through my archives and see how far back this goes and how successful this is as a flavor.

Red Velvet Cake has never been one of my favorites, so making a successful candy adaptation will probably always be lost on me.

Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa M&Ms Milk Chocolate Red Velvet Nutffles Red Velvet Truffle Godiva Red Velvet Cake Truffle

Birthday Cake, White Cake or Party Cake is another subset of the flavor, it’s usually yellow cake with some sort of vanilla frosting.

Godiva Birthday Cake Truffle Birthday Cake M&Ms Peeps Party Cake DSC_5276rb Cupcake Bites

Carrot Cake and Spice Cake are by far the most interesting of the lot, because they combine a series of flavors, both the lightly spiced cake with carrot added for texture and moistness then add in the tang of a cream cheese frosting. Mars has reissued their Carrot Cake M&Ms at Walmart again this year.

Russell Stover Carrot Cake Egg Brach's Carrot Cake Candy Corn Amella Carrot Cake Caramels Naked Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Malt Balls

So this week I’ll review: Peeps Party Cake, Brach’s Carrot Cake Candy Corn, Russell Stover’s Carrot Cake, Wedding Cake and Birthday Cake Eggs. If there are others you’ve seen in stores, let me know so I can track them down Stay tuned.

Related Candies

  1. R.M. Palmer Cake Batter Cup
  2. Birthday Cake M&Ms
  3. M&Ms Milk Chocolate Red Velvet
  4. Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa
  5. See’s Holiday Pie Truffles
  6. Godiva Cake Truffles
  7. Cupcake Bites

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:30 am     CandyHighlightShoppingComments (4)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Off to London

Union Jack Chocolate Bar

I’m traveling this week, picking up new colourful and flavourful things to review in the coming weeks.

Do you have a British favorite that I haven’t reviewed yet?

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! I was able to find a lot of the items, plus a few more I’m looking forward to trying. I have to photograph everything, but they’ll be reviewed in the coming months.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:30 am     CandyCANDY BLOGUnited KingdomHighlightShoppingComments (26)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day

HeartsinaBowl

What’s in your candy bowl this year?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:14 am     CandyValentinesHighlightPhotographyComments (5)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Candy Blog on The Nosh Show (Soggy Bits)

Oreo Macadamia Crunch Bar

Counting down the days to Valentine’s, I joined The Nosh Show Team (Marvo, Dubba, Ryan and Eric)

I should be back on the show to talk about Easter candy sometime later this spring.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:20 pm     CandyHighlightFun StuffComments (0)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Candy Blog is on Tumblr

If you’re on Tumblr, you might want to pop Candy Blog on your follow list. It’s just candy photos, posted a couple times a day. Think of it like a visual reminder of new reviews and a few revisits to the archive.

Tumblr - Candy Blog

You can also browse the archives for some tasty views:

Tumblr - Candy Blog Archive

You can also find Candy Blog on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Google +. But I spend most of my time developing the content here. Thanks for reading!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:35 am     Behind the ScenesCandyCANDY BLOGHighlightFeatured NewsComments (3)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Candy Spotting: Christmas 2013

Whack and UnwrapI’ve been prowling the store shelves since October to see what’s back this year in seasonal favorites and what might be new.

I’ve been pretty excited so see so many old favorites returning plus a few new additions. The flavor combinations of pumpkin spice, peppermint bark and gingerbread continue strong showings with a few egg nog and chili pepper items out there, too.

This is by no means a definitive list, but I’ve tried to actually find the announced products in stores before adding them to my list.

Candy Cane Kisses

Hershey’s

Twizzlers Tree Shaped Cherry Candy (new)
Hershey’s Candy Cane Bar Mint Candy with Candy Bits (new - review)
Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses (old review when they were made with real white chocolate)
Hershey’s Mint Truffle Kisses (review)
Hershey’s Cherry Cordial Kisses (review)
Hershey’s Mint Miniatures (white creme with nonpareils, Special Dark with mint and Milk Chocolate with mint - here’s an old review when the white chocolate was made with cocoa butter)
Reese’s Trees (just like the Eggs)
Reese’s Bells (foil wrapped bell shaped candies about the size of the regular miniatures)
Reese’s Snow Board Santa (kind of like the big Reester Bunny around Easter)
HersheyEts (review) - I’ve seen these at the Hershey’s store before in bags but also in those candy cane tubes at major retailers.
Hershey’s Collection Almond Clusters & Chocolate Covered Pretzels (new) - packaged in cardboard gable box
Giant Hershey Bars (1 Pound)
World’s Largest Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (1 Pound - review)
Hershey’s Kisses Santa Hat just a large kiss with red and white foil
Hershey’s Giant Kisses

Mike and Ike Holiday Medley

Just Born

Peeps Chocolate Covered Peppermint Trees (Milk & Dark Chocolate)
Peeps White Snowmen (I like the snowmen because they’re one of the few varieties that doesn’t have artificial colors)
Peeps Green Trees
Peeps Peppermint Chocolate Dips
Peeps Gingerbread Men
Mike and Ike Merry Mix

Perugina Baci (Nestle)

Nestle

Wonka Gobstoppers Snowballs
Wonka Frosty Nerds (watermelon, wild cherry & punch)
Wonka Nerds Holiday Rope (photo)
Wonka Holiday SweeTart Gummis (red & green and I think they’re shaped like Oompa Loompa faces - photo)
Nestle Butterfinger Jingles (review)
Nestle Crunch Jingles
Butterfinger and Nestlé Crunch Medallions kind of like coins, about an ounce, but not wrapped in foil
Wonka SweeTarts & Spree Candy Cane Tubes (new)
Wonka Pixy Stix Powder-Filled Candy Canes (new) these are actual hard candies filled with sour powder. Definitely an innovative item.
Wonka Candy Canes in Spree, SweeTart and Gobstopper flavors
Wonka Nerds & Fun Dip Fantastical Fun Books like the classic Life Savers story books
Wonka Giant Pixy Stix Giant Canes are just canes filled with the plastic Pixy Stix ... lots more plastic than candy
Perugina Baci (review) in holiday packaging - they’re much easier to find during the run up to the holidays than usual

M&Ms White Chocolate Peppermint

Mars & Wrigley’s

Life Savers Tin - holds 7 rolls of three different varieties - comes in Butter Rum, Cherry or 5 Flavor package design
Life Savers Sweet Story Candy Rolls and Gummies (the box that looks like a book and has a collection of Life Saver Rolls in it)
Life Savers Hard Candy Holiday Mix (cherry, apple & candy cane)
M&Ms Holiday Mint (revew)
M&Ms Cherry Cordial
M&Ms White Chocolate Peppermint (review)
Dove Peppermint Bark (in foil wrapped Promises & boxed bark review)
Dove Promises Snowflake Assortment (round pieces in milk, dark & caramel with snowflakes molded in them)
Dove White Chocolate with Creamy Center - I don’t think these are the same as the Promises I tried last year
Snickers Nutcrackers (review)
Snickers Peanut Butter Santas (review)
3 Musketeers Hot Cocoa with Marshmallows in minis size
Twix Santas like the Twix Eggs, they’re like a double wide Twix bar.
Twix Gingerbread (review)
Mars Heritage Tins - pencil box sized tins filled with miniatures - designed like classic candy bar wrappers - come in Snickers, M&Ms, Twix and Milky Way)
Skittles Holiday Mix - features Strawberry, Wild Cherry, Lemon, Grape and Green Apple in red and green.

Brach's Holiday Nougats

Ferrara Candy (Ferrara Pan, Farley’s & Sathers + Brach’s)

Brach’s Christmas Nougats in Peppermint & Wintergreen and Cinnamon (review)
Brach’s Gloria Mix (classic straw & filled candies)
Brach’s Holiday Mix (classic filled candies)
Brach’s Holiday Mints (pillow mints with a green minty jelly filling)
Brach’s Spicettes (gumdrops in green & red)
Ferrara Chocolate Oranges (review)

Candy Cane Tootsie Pop Drops

Tootsie

Tootsie Roll Candy Cane Pop Drops (review)
Tootsie Roll Candy Cane Pops (review)
Tootsie Roll Banks (Tootsie & Midgees)
Tootsie Roll Holiday Midgees (I have no idea what these are - the package doesn’t say)
Christmas Dots (review)
Andes Peppermint Crunch (white chocolate with crunchy peppermint candies)
Andes Cherry Jubilee Thins
Andes Toffee Creme Thins
Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch (review)

Russell Stover Santas

Russell Stover

Ribbon Candy (I suspect this is just a repackage of Sevigny’s)
Marshmallow Snow Man (large ones - come in regular milk chocolate covered and chocolate covered in milk chocolate)
Peppermint Bark Snowman - made with real white chocolate
Marshmallow Santas review
Coconut Wreath review
Strawberry Cream Santa- review
Milk Chocolate Coconut Santa - review
Maple Cream Santa in milk and dark chocolate now - review
Peanut Butter Santa - review
Gingerbread Santa (review)
Peppermint Cream Santa (review)

swedish

Cadbury/Adams

Swedish Fish (red & green) in bags or theater boxes
Sour Patch Kids (red & green) in bags or theater boxes
Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolate Balls (like the mini-eggs - sold by Hershey’s in the United States)

Ghirardelli Squares - Peppermint Bark

Ghirardelli Chocolate

Ghirardelli Hollow Chocolate Nutcracker
Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark (review)
Ghirardelli Squares Holiday Impressions milk chocolate squares with white chocolate “cameo” centers
Ghirardelli Holiday Squares - egg nog & peppermint bark (review)

Lindt Milk Reindeer

Other Items of Interest

Giant Toblerone Bars
Toblerone Snow Top - a milk chocolate bar with white chocolate cap on the triangles
Terry’s Chocolate Oranges (Milk with Orange, Dark with Orange and White with Orange)
Maxfield’s Assorted Chocolates (I haven’t tried these boxed chocolates yet, they’re less expensive than Russell Stover and probably on par with Elmer’s)
Fannie May Mint Meltaway & Pixies (individually wrapped - pixie review & meltaway review)
Ritter Sport Peppermint (review)
Florida Tropic Oranges in a variety of flavors - review
Zachary Confections Egg Nog Candy Corn (I add these to my list every year, but I still haven’t seen them in stores)
Zachary Confections Candy Cane Corn
Nips Egg Nog (review)
Dark Roca
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Roca
Mocha Roca
TicTac Holiday Twist either red and white or green and red Tic Tac mixes
Lindt Hollow Chocolate Santas, Snowmen & Bears
J&Ds Sriracha Candy Canes (spotted at Cost Plus World Market)
Au’Some 3-DEEs Santa Gummis

What are you looking forward to most? And what are you having trouble finding this year? What did I leave out?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:51 pm     CandyChristmasHighlightShoppingComments (6)

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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.

Halloween Candy Season Ends

-51 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:

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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