By Deborah Cassell
Executive Editor
Candy Industry,
Retail Confectioner

getting fresh: ECRM's Kid's Candy Choice awards

Children typically imagine growing up to be firefighters, ballerinas or doctors, depending on what toys they play with, what extracurricular activities they take up or what their parents do for a living. Me, I dreamt of becoming a writer. (I blame my mother, a high school English teacher.) That said, I had no idea I’d end up writing about candy for a living.
Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America might find themselves envisioning a career in the confectionery industry, as well, thanks to Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM). The organization’s third annual Kid’s Candy Choice program (previously the Kid’s Choice Awards), sponsored by Candy Industry and Retail Confectioner magazines, will take place during ECRM’s Candy Annual Planning meeting, to be held Sept. 26-29 at the Red Rock Resort & Spa in Las Vegas.
There, children ages 8-13 from the Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas will be given the opportunity to learn about being a professional candy buyer (and industry journalist) as well as taste-test and vote for their favorite new products based on entries from manufacturers attending the conference. The focus of Candy Annual Planning will be new confectionery products, marketing initiatives and promotional opportunities in two categories: everyday/non-seasonal and novelty.

Exhibitors interested in entering the Kid’s Candy Choice should e-mail ECRM Marketing Coordinator Maria Di Franco at no later than Sept. 10. Please include your company’s name, two contact names (including e-mail addresses and phone numbers) and a brief description of the product you intend to submit (limit one entry per company) . Said product must have been introduced this year or be launched in 2011.
Once an entry is approved, participating manufacturers will be asked to send at least 80 individually wrapped product samples for delivery by Sept. 24 to: Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, Attn: ECRM Candy Annual Planning, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, NV, 89135 (phone: 1-702-797-7777).
The results will be announced during lunch at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 28; entrants should have at least one representative on-hand at the awards presentation.

First place will receive a full-page ad in Retail Confectioner magazine. Second- and third-place recipients will be given free tile ads on the Retail Confectioner Web site, All three will get plaques in recognition of their success in winning over our young “judges” with their innovative packaging and satisfying flavors, among other factors.
After all, kids are hard to please, not to mention fickle – well, maybe not all of them (says the girl whose dream became a reality).
Editor’s Note: For a recap of this year’s Kid’s Candy Choice winners, be sure to check out October issue of Retail Confectioner at

Barry Callebaut challenges pros, students in recipe contest

Cocoa and chocolate giant Barry Callebaut is asking culinary professionals and students to submit their best recipes using the Cacao Barry brand of premium French chocolate for the chance to win more than $35,000 in prizes.
The Cacao Barry L’art du Chocolatier Challenge 2010, which runs through Nov. 30, is aimed at discovering new and inventive recipes that feature Cacao Barry products. Finalists in both the professional and student categories will be flown to Chicago to recreate their recipes at the state-of-the-art Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy the week of Jan. 10, 2011. Each finished recipe will be judged by a panel of chefs and Barry Callebaut representatives.
The grand-prize winner in the professional category will receive $10,000, a feature in a leading food publication and $1,000 in Cacao Barry chocolate. The grand-prize winner in the student category will receive $3,000, a feature in a leading food publication and $500 in Cacao Barry chocolate. In addition, 10 other prizes will be awarded in the contest.
 “The Cacao Barry recipe contest is designed to encourage chefs and soon-to-be chefs to express their creativity through the medium of chocolate,” says Parveen Werner, marketing director for Barry Callebaut’s Americas region. “Many people think of chocolate as an ingredient in cake and candy, but there’s so much more you can do with our fine chocolate couvertures. Our goal is to inspire possibilities and introduce true culinary talent to the world.”
Entrants may submit up to 10 recipes at no later than Nov. 30. All recipes in the professional category must feature at least three Cacao Barry products, while the student recipes need to incorporate at least one Cacao Barry product. Official contest rules and entry form are available at
Entries will be judged on the basis of sensory appeal, creativity, presentation, standardized method of preparation and photography of the finished product. Finalists will be announced on or around Dec. 15, and winners will be announced the week of Jan. 10, 2011, after finalists have created their recipe at Barry Callebaut’s Chocolate Academy in Chicago.
For more information, visit

Q.bel hits 2-million milestone

Nyack, N.Y.-based Q.bel Foods, LLC -- maker of Q.bel all-natural chocolate wafer bars and rolls -- celebrated the sale of its two-millionth candy bar today, slightly more than a year-and-a-half after its first sale.
All Q.bel products are made with all-natural ingredients and free from preservatives, hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors. Q.bel wafer bars are covered in Belgian chocolate; Q.bel wafer rolls have a crispy cookie inside. The company’s mantra -- “Be True. Be Honest. Be Good.” -- is printed on every package and reflects its commitment to making the world’s best tasting, all-natural chocolate candy bars.
"It didn't happen all by itself," says Q.bel founder Bahram Shirazi. "Sure, Q.bel fills a need unlike any other chocolate candy out there. But we've gone to great lengths, over and over again, to make shoppers aware of how special our chocolate wafers are."
This year, Q.bel added two new flavors to its line of all-natural candy bars: Double Dark Chocolate 70% (vegan) and Mint Dark Chocolate. These join existing varieties of Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Peanut Putter wafer bars and wafer rolls.
Q.bel wafer bars and rolls are available nationwide at Whole Foods Markets as well as in many specialty and natural food stores, and regional co-ops. They retail for $1.29-$1.59.
For more information, visit

Bear Naked introduces three new trail mix blends

Bear Naked, the La Jolla, Calif.-based natural food company, has introduced three new trail mix blends that combine the company’s signature, whole grain granola with a variety of hearty nuts, tasty dried fruits, crunchy seeds and other wholesome ingredients.
The 4.5-oz. trail mix blends, which are available in Cranberry Almond, Pecan Apple Flax and Chocolate Cherry, complement Bear Naked's 100% Pure & Natural family of granola, ready-to-eat cereals and Grain-ola bars.
The Cranberry Almond variety combines tangy cranberries, sun-ripened raisins, walnuts and almonds with Bear Naked Peak’s protein granola clusters. Pecan Apple Flax puts a twist on the average trail mix by including 200 mg. of the Omega-3 ALA in each serving through clusters of Bear Naked Peak flax granola, raisins, roasted sunflower seeds, pecans, pepitas, apple slices and flax seeds.
 For those with a sweet tooth, Chocolate Cherry blends the company’s Heavenly Chocolate whole grain granola clusters with cherries and almonds covered in cocoa.
"Bear Naked is all about enjoying a healthy and active lifestyle, so we look to create real food that meets the needs of individuals as passionate as we are about food and adventure," says Ryan Therriault, senior manager, brand marketing and innovation. "Whether you're hitting the trails, going for a run, or engaging in your favorite physical activity, our new, all-natural trail mixes provide instant energy on the go and simply taste great.”
For more information, visit

Oregonian to run Jelly Belly company for a day

Bend, Ore., resident Lisa Calorino has won the national Be the Jelly Belly Big Bean sweepstakes, Jelly Belly Candy Co. has announced. The online contest gave contestants an inside look at the workings of a candy plant and tested their ability to handle the pressure of running a candy company.
Calorino and her family will travel to Fairfield, Calif., where she will join fourth-generation candy man and company chairman Herman Rowland Sr., for an action-packed day at the helm of the well-known jelly bean manufacturer.
In addition to overseeing operations at the company for a day, Calorino will received a “paycheck” bonus prize of $10,000, hotel accommodations in San Francisco and a rental car to transport the “Big Bean” around town while she serves as Jelly Belly’s acting president.
“What a hoot!” Calorino exlaimed. “It is like a wonderful reward to visit the Jelly Belly factory during our never ending rollercoaster of life’s journey. How exciting.” Both her husband, Clark, and son, Eulind, will accompany Calorino during the executive adventure.
Upon arriving at Jelly Belly, Calorino will inspect the factory, taste new flavors in development, work on promotional concepts at the executive offices and generally experience life at the top. Calorino also will get a unique chance to represent Jelly Belly at a local charity, proving that running a company is as much about giving as it is about receiving.
Updates on Calorino’s day at Jelly Belly will be posted to
For additional information, visit

sweet of the week: Snickers Marathon Bars

Mars has rebranded its Marathon bar line of snacks offering both nutritious benefits and indulgent taste. Marathon Energy Bars contain 150-220 calories, 3-7 gm. of fiber and 10-14 gm. of protein, depending on the flavor. They are available in five varieties: Chewy Chocolatey Peanut, Chewy Peanut Butter, Crunchy Dark Chocolate, Crunchy Honey & Toasted Almond, and Crunchy Multi-grain. Marathon Protein Bars are made with a protein blend of soy, peanut, casein and whey, and contain amino acids needed to build and repair muscle. Available in two flavors, Chocolatey Nut Burst and Caramel Nut Rush, the bars provide long-lasting energy and are low on the list of Glycemic Index foods. The suggested retail prices are: (Energy bars) $1.19 per 1.56-oz. bar; $5.99 per 6-ct. pack; $10.99 per 12-ct. pack, $24.99 per 21-ct. variety pack (Protein bars) $2.29 per 2.82-oz. bar; $12.99 per 6-ct. pack; $24.99 per 12-ct. pack.
For more information, call 1-800-639-7630 or visit