By Deborah Cassell
Executive Editor
Candy Industry,
Retail Confectioner

getting fresh: You are how much you eat

I’m a member of the Clean Plate Club … that is to say I rarely go without eating everything that’s put in front of me. (It’s just how I was raised.) The only exceptions are when I don’t like what I’m served (usually because it contains nuts, coconut or raw fish) and when I’m just not up to the challenge, in which case I am a firm believer in the doggy bag (woof).
I have the same problem with pre-packaged goods. Like many Americans, I’ve become a label reader; however, like those same consumers, I often overlook or find myself unable to follow the suggested serving size on the back of my favorite bag of chips, sleeve of cookies or pack of candy.
According to a recent article titled “What’s your portion I.Q.?” in the Chicago Tribune (part of its Environmental Nutrition newsletter), I am far from alone in my inability to control how much I eat.
“A number of studies indicate that portion size is more closely correlated with the number of calories you take in than is the quality or type of food you eat,” reporter Kitty Broihier writes. “And the reverse also seems to be true -- portion control yields more weight loss than changing the foods you eat or exercising more (though doing those plus paying attention to portions is best of all).”
Suggested solutions when eating out include ordering an appetizer as an entrée plus a salad or soup (unfortunately, that usually ends up costing more, and I’m also a member of the Frugal Spenders Society). At home, Broijier recommends choosing single-serve packages, “but only if you can stick to just one.” (Hahahaha … This also is a more expensive option. And as my colleague Pauline Hammerbeck, editor-in-chief of Brand Packaging magazine, might say, it’s not a very environmentally responsible choice -- too much packaging.)
The article also includes a pop quiz “to determine your portion control prowess.” It contains questions about whether you should stick to the serving size listed on a package (yes, no or it depends?); how big two tablespoons of peanut butter really are (a pair of dice, a ping pong ball or your pinky finger?); how many cups of popcorn are in an average movie theater serving (6, 9 or 11?); and whether people eat the same volume of food every day (true or false?).
In short, the Nutrition Facts serving size depends, “but it’s a good yardstick”; two tablespoons of p.b. pack a ping pong ball-sized serving of fat (16 gm.) and calories (190), but are at least nutrient-rich, with half the fat being mono; movie theater popcorn bags are anywhere from 11 to 16 cups in scope; and people generally take in the same amount of food on a daily basis.
My favorite query, of course: “How much more chocolate candy do you think people eat, on average, from a 1-lb. bag versus a 0.5-lb. bag?” (Answer options: about twice as much or about four times as much).
Care to hazard a guess?
“According to research conducted by Brian Wansink, when participants ate from a 0.5-lb. bag, they ate 71 pieces of chocolate vs. 137 pieces when dipping into a lb.-size bag,” the Tribune states.
That’s about twice as much, by the way. Phew! Not that eating two times the amount of candy in a 1-lb. bag is a good thing. Neither is 1,500 calories worth of butter-topped popcorn. But I was anticipating the worst.
The trick to portion-control, notes Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating,” is using small plates and bowls, and not eating out of the bag. And no refills!
Now what fun is that?
Seriously, as manufacturers come out with more single-serve, individually portioned products, one can only hope that they dole them out in reasonable amounts … and that people actually stick to one bag or serving apiece. As for bulk-size bags, especially those found at club stores like Costco, will power is the order of the day, given the battle of the bulge vs. the wallet.
As a member of both the Clean Plate Club and the Frugal Spenders Society, I will continue to challenge myself to manage both more responsibly.

Photo courtesy of  P Magee Enterprises.

Boutin receives Stroud Jordan award

Last night, at the American Association of Candy Technologists’ (AACT) Technical Seminar held in Lincolnshire, Ill., Robert Boutin, principal and president of Skokie, Ill.-based Knechtel, Inc., was presented with the association’s highest honor: the Stroud Jordan award.
Judy Cooley, principal scientist -- international research & development at The Hershey Co., and last year’s Stroud Jordan recipient, presented Boutin with a medallion featuring the image of Stroud Jordan, a renowned confectionery scientist and co-founder of the AACT.
Each year since 1951, the AACT presents the award to someone in the industry who’s contributed significantly in the area of education, organization or research.
Boutin, who was visibly moved with the presentation, told attendees he was “accepting the award with the understanding that I’m accepting it for everybody here. It’s about helping other people … Without the support and help of each other, we wouldn’t be as successful an industry as we are.”
Boutin -- whose career includes stints at the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute; Sunmark, Inc. (Willy Wonka Confections); Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. and Wilton Enterprise -- is a co-inventor of eight patents.
Knechtel Inc. provides food development and engineering expertise and support for confectionery, food and pharmaceutical products.
For more information, visit and

Unwrapped' to show retro Space Food Sticks at Richardson Foods plant

‘On Monday, Sept. 27, the Food Network will begin airing “Galactic Goodies,” an episode of its popular “Unwrapped” program, which will focus on Space Food Sticks -- a retro energy bar item that’s produced at the Richardson Foods, Inc. factory in Canajoharie, N.Y.
An Apollo-era space program phenomenon, “retro” Space Food Sticks first were created by the Pillsbury Co. in the late 1960s as a commercial spin-off of astronaut energy foods developed specially for NASA. These original energy bars date back to the early years of manned space travel, when keeping food fresh, tasty and safe presented a major hurdle for NASA technicians.
The Pillsbury Co., which had been providing its expertise to NASA, saw an opportunity to introduce space-related food into the marketplace; their efforts led to the creation of Space Food Sticks, a chewy energy product that captured the imagination of space-crazed youth across the country.
Described as a "non-frozen balanced energy snack in rod form containing nutritionally balanced amounts of carbohydrate, fat and protein,” the original energy bars came in several flavors and were wrapped in special foil to give them an added space-age appearance.
In 1973, a version of Space Food Sticks was used for eating experiments aboard the Skylab 3 mission. After gradually disappearing from supermarket shelves in the 1970s, Space Food Sticks sparked interest in Eric Lefcowitz, founder and head of Retrofuture Products, who joined forces with Kalman Vadasz of Richardson Foods to recreate the taste and texture of the original invention.
Since 2006, Richardson Foods has manufactured Space Food Sticks in chocolate and peanut butter flavors for Retrofuture Products. Today, these original “astro-treats” are available at retro candy stores, space museums and Disney World as well as online from the e-commerce headquarters of Retrofuture Products (
A portfolio company of Founders Equity LLC, Richardson Foods also manufactures Richardson Mints, Beechies Gum and Dryden & Palmer Rock Candy at its 180,000-sq.-ft. facility. Upon acquiring Dryden & Palmer Rock Candy in 2006, the company became the largest manufacturer of rock candy. In 2009, Richardson also acquired the Bogdon Candy Co., known for its unique premium Reception Stick.
For more information, visit

Carle & Montanari reorganizes with new leadership

Moreno Roncato has been named managing director of Milan-based Carle & Montanari SpA by the Sacmi Group, sole shareholder of the company. The Sacmi Group chose Roncato to steer the historic 103-year-old Carle & Montanari organization through the challenges of the future.
Pietro Cassani, general manager of the Sacmi Group, explains, “We have been debating for some time on what would be the best strategy for the future of Carle & Montanari. We even considered selling or merging with other companies, since this appears to be a trend in the industry. However, we decided the best way to proceed was to reorganize the company with a new leadership to face the challenges of this market.”
Roncato holds a degree in Engineering from Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy, and an MBA from Clemson University, Clemson, S.C. He brings experience in the design, manufacturing and sales of industrial equipment, mainly in textile, plastic and the chocolate industry. He has been working in various mid-size companies, most recently as president of Carle & Montanari USA in Raleigh, N.C.
For the time being, Roncato will continue to serve the firm’s customers in the North American market, returning to participate in major industry events.
Since the early 1900s, Carle & Montanari has been designing and building machinery and equipment for the transformation of cocoa and the processing, moulding and packaging of chocolate.
For more information, visit

Weber Distribution names Neverman its 'candy man'

Santa Fe Springs, Calif.,-based Weber Distribution, a leading third-party logistics and supply chain management provider for more than 85 years, has appointed Carl W. Neverman vice president, client solutions for the confectionery industry.
Neverman has more than 30 years of experience in the logistics industry, 17 of which he has dedicated to Weber Distribution. As Weber’s first “candy man,” Neverman is responsible for developing new business and managing the needs of Weber’s current accounts in the confectionery industry, including well-known companies such as Hershey, Nestle, Ghirardelli, and Godiva.
Neverman joined Weber in 1993 as a regional sales representative and was quickly promoted to manager, business development. He most recently held the position of vice president, client solutions overseeing Weber’s chemical division.
“Carl is the perfect ‘candy man’ and has a long and successful history with Weber and the industry,” says Marc Levin, Weber’s senior vice president, client solutions. “Our LTL network has grown substantially over the last few years, and we needed a true expert to manage the specific needs of this market. He has strong customer relationships in the confectionery industry and is a great fit for the new position as we look to expand our coverage and service solutions in this vertical.”
Weber offers a comprehensive pool distribution network for the confectionery market with temperature and humidity-controlled warehousing facilities and a nationwide fleet of refrigerated freight vans and trailers.
For more information, visit

sweet of the week: ZBaR S'mores

Clif Bar & Co. of Emeryville, Calif., has added a new flavor to its ZBaR line of the CLIF Kid brand: S’mores. The product will be made using organic and natural ingredients and contain 12 vitamins and minerals. Other varieties in the ZBaR line-up are Honey Graham, Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip and Blueberry. ZBaRs are USDA-certified organic and contain a blend of carbohydrates, protein, fiber and antioxidants, with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, no high-fructose corn syrup and no partially hydrogenated oils or trans fat; Clif Bar does not source genetically-modified ingredients. The suggested retail price is 89 cents per bar.
For more information, call 1-510-596-6300 or visit