What’s New With Candy Packaging
By Jennifer Zegler
Here’s a close-up look at some of the ways creative candy purveyors are packaging their products.
In the new movie adaptation of the candy classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the hero, Charlie Bucket, says, “Candy doesn’t have to have a point. That’s why it’s candy.” As much as this is true, it’s also true that packaging can help give a point to the confections it contains. Packaging is not only functional, it can play a role in helping to set a candy product apart from all the sweet competition it faces.
A few candy makers are paving their own way and creating trends in packaging that are outside of the norm. Sweet Candy Company, Captain Muddy’s Tasty Treats and Impact Confections raise the bar on reusable packaging with value-added products.  Cap Candy and Sherwood Brands add interactivity to two new lollipop packages. And in the mints category, Martoon Inc.’s high-tech box for M-1 Mints and the discreet package for Jo Mints and Jo Citrus from Joco Brands represent two dramatically different ways of standing out from the crowd.
Beyond reusability
“The reusability thing is huge,” says Bill Goodwin, president and creative director of the youth-oriented Goodwin Design Group, Media, Pa. “There is the environmental concern as well as the economical pressure of it. We want to make it last because of the money you spend on candy, and then the candy is gone within a minute; it [reusability] adds value.”
Sweet Candy Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, enhanced the value of its salt water taffy with the Summer Time Fun Beach Pail. Not only is the nostalgic, traditional summertime candy in a handy beach pail, but it comes with a shovel, flying disc and inflatable beach ball.
“Salt water taffy has long been associated with summertime fun—beaches, picnics, parades and other events,” Rachel Sweet, vice president of marketing, explains.  “We know that many of our consumers take this nostalgic candy with them to events all summer. So we felt that the beach pail would be a great packaging alternative.”
Captain Muddy’s Tasty Treats, St. Petersburg, Fla., combined play value and educational value in its Little Learners. Little Learners is a candy worms ‘n’ dirt treat that comes in two sizes of plastic containers, both of which can be reused to catch real bugs. The bug catchers, available in tub and tube forms, come packed with chocolate cookie meal, candy ants and gummy worms.
Also going to the bugs is the Buggin’ Glow Pop from Impact Confections, Colorado Springs, Colo. The light-up, bug-shaped sucker comes in a Mason jar-style container that can be used to catch bugs after the treat is gone.
Pullable, poppable
Cap Candy’s Pull String Pop and Zypperz lollipops from Sherwood Brands, Rockville, Md., add interactivity to an otherwise calm candy —suckers. With these products, the fun is in the package.
Deirdre Gonzalez, vice president of marketing for Napa, Calif.-based Cap Candy says, “We like to create a little ‘harmless mischief,’” adding that this is her catch-all phrase for the sort of candy that might make mom turn up her nose.
That is a good way of describing Cap Candy’s Pull String Pop, which combines a lollipop with a janitor-style zip line attached to the belt loop. Once clipped, the sucker can be pulled back and forth on the zip line to the mouth creating that “harmless mischief” with the noise and sticky sucker.
Sherwood Brands created and patented a unique lollipop with a zipper stick for vending and then proceeded to develop the Zypperz candy novelty line around that concept for store sales.
The first Zypperz store products to be introduced are a unique collectible ring-shaped plastic holder and Zypperz lollipop that can be “zypped” out of the ring for licking and back in for storing, and a seasonal Zypperz Easter Hide and Seek Egg, each filled with an Easter Zypperz pop.
According to Paul Splitek, vice president of sales, the Zypperz concept was originally conceived for the lollipop un-friendly outlet of coin vending machines. “By offering the ‘magic’ of the Zypperz pop to consumers, Zypperz will create additional demand beyond that existing in vending for lollipops alone,” Splitek explains.
Wow factor vs. discretion
Two companies have created a premium product and hip packaging to help get their breath-freshening products noticed, although they went in opposite directions with their designs. M-1 Mints have a high-tech, attention-grabbing look, while Joco Brands, Corona Del Mar, Calif., opted for a sleek, but discreet package for its Jo Mints and Jo Citrus.
“We’re really attacking the mint category in a way that no one else is,” Marty Carmichael, president and creator of M-1 Mints, says. “We wanted to create a package so cool James Bond would use it. It looks so different and stylistic with the high-tech opening that it wows people.”
M-1 Mints from Martoon Inc., Kensington, Md., are ultra-premium mints packaged in a cosmetic-inspired sleek, black plastic container. The package uses an “autoglide power top system” that opens at the push of a button.
When creating Jo Mints and Jo Citrus, business partners and best friends Ashley Talbott and Heather LauBach wanted a product that was multi-functional and would appeal to both men and women. The subtle package with beveled edges and an interior mirror houses the upscale mints formulated with guarana to deliver an energy boost.
Joco Brands packages its Jo Citrus—made with zesty orange flavor and Vitamin C—in a sleek, platinum case with a mirror on the inside. The peppermint Jo Mint has a black package with a velvety texture on the top. With a suggested retail price of $3.49 and distribution thus far mainly in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Jo Mints and Jo Citrus are targeted to trendsetters.
Packaging Power: Why It Will Matter More than Ever
With all the innovative packaging to be found in the mints category, it sometimes seems that in this segment, at least, packaging has outdistanced the contents. Is the future of candy all about the wrapper?
“That’s where we’re headed,” contends Bill Goodwin, president and creative director of Goodwin Design Group, Media, Pa. “We’re in a situation where there is nowhere else to go. Other places can make the product cheaper than we can, and we can’t fight on price. So we do things they cannot do.”
The package provides an opportunity for companies to stand out from the competitive crowd. When it’s done correctly, Goodwin explains, the design process takes the way consumers shop into consideration. “We know that people shop visually and form that experience into a narrative and make the decision based on the visual. It is a critical part of communicating effectively on the package, especially with age. The visual depiction should be familiar and distinguish what it is and how it works.”