Starbucks & Hershey Tie a Chocolate Knot
There won’t be any “kisses” involved, but Starbucks Coffee Company and The Hershey Company are aiming for a marriage made in chocolate.
This fall, the two companies will create and market new Starbucks-branded, coffee-flavored, premium chocolate products.
Executives with both companies are apparently eager to respond to the growing consumer demand for more premium chocolate in their unique way.
“Hershey’s chocolate expertise, distribution and selling capabilities, combined with the strength of the Starbucks brand, will help transform the high-growth premium chocolate segment,” says Christopher J. Baldwin, senior vice president at Hershey, and president of its North American Commercial Group.
“Chocolate is the perfect complement to coffee and tea, and has long been a part of the coffeehouse experience,” maintains Gerry Lopez, president of Starbucks Global Consumer Products Group. “We are excited to bring premium chocolate inspired by Starbucks coffee and café flavors to Starbucks customers and chocolate lovers.”
The companies offered that “expert chocolatiers” with Artisan Confections Company, a Hershey subsidiary, were working with Starbucks to develop the new line of “distinct” coffee-flavored chocolate products, combining premium chocolate with Starbucks beverages and café flavors, as well as fruits, nuts, herbs and spices.
Beyond innovative flavors, the line is reported to offer new forms and packaging — and will be available in a wide variety of channels, such as food, drug and mass retailers, across the United States. Starbucks may sell some of the confections in its stores, but hasn’t reported yet which ones.
A premium hot chocolate will be launched this fall. By early next year, other products expected to hit the shelves include chocolate bars, truffles and chocolate-covered coffee beans.
In developing the line, the two companies are also developing cocoa sourcing guidelines aimed at improving labor standards, making farming practices ecologically sustainable and boosting income for farmers.
“Starbucks and Hershey share a deep dedication to making a positive difference in the communities where they live, work and do business,” states Thomas K. Hernquist, senior vice president, global chief growth officer, at Hershey.
A Unified Mars
The company is currently known as Masterfoods in most markets, but by the end of this year, the regional corporate brands of Mars Incorporated, operating in more than 65 countries, will be unified under the single corporate brand name, Mars.
The idea is that a single corporate brand name “will consolidate and leverage the credibility and goodwill that Mars has earned world-wide through its famous product brands,” according to Paul S. Michaels, Mars’ global president. “By introducing a unified corporate brand name, we will reduce complexity, provide one point of reference and build greater awareness for our business,” he adds.
In addition to confectionery items, Mars is well-known for its food and pet care products.
Ring Pops Turns 30
Diamonds may be forever, but Ring Pops have been for 30 years. Created in August of 1977, Topps Confections’ Ring Pop celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Featured as a lollipop on a ring band, Ring Pops are among the top-selling non-chocolate confections. Since their debut, there have been an estimated 3 billion sales of the Ring Pop with uses from children’s snacking to marriage proposals.
Merci Makes ‘Thank You’ a Holiday
Gratitude will not be a lost art anymore. Merci Chocolates is sponsoring National Thank You Day, which will take place this year on Monday, September 24, and annually thereafter on the last Monday in September. National Thank You Day was inspired by a recent survey revealing that 90 percent of Americans feel they don’t say thank you enough, and 87 percent of Americans are bothered when they aren’t thanked.
In honor of National Thank You Day, the company developed the National Thank You Day Contest encouraging consumers to nominate someone whose good deed has gone a long way to help or inspire them. One grand prize winner will be awarded a thank you prize personally selected by his or her nominator with a value up to $20,000, and it will be delivered in person by Peggy Post, etiquette expert and best-selling author for the Emily Post Institute on September 24.
All nominators who submitted an eligible entry received two 8.8-ounce boxes of Merci — one to enjoy and one to pass on to the person whom they would like to thank.
Oral Fixation Goes Pink
It’s more than just a “pretty in pink” tin for Oral Fixation. The company will be donating 5 percent of all profits from the sale of its Fabulous Fruit Gourmet Mints during the month of October to the American Cancer Society.
The brushed metal tins, reminiscent of 1920s cigarette cases, will be highlighted by a pink hue in honor of the cause, and can be purchased at gourmet retailers. The company maintains that celebrity fans include Beyonce, Britney, Cate Blanchette, Carmen Electra, Gwyneth Paltrow, Janet Jackson, Jessica Simpson, Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Paris Hilton, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Tim Robbins and Whitney Houston.
Hershey Backs Olympics
The Hershey Company and the United States Olympic Committee recently announced that Hershey will be an Official Sponsor of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and will proudly support America’s top athletes at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
In the coming months and throughout 2008, some of Hershey’s confectionery products will bear the U.S. Olympic Team Supplier mark. A national promotion and advertising campaign highlighting the tradition of the U.S. Olympic team will also unite brands in the sponsorship.
Hershey has a tradition of supporting and partnering with elite athletes through its Hershey’s Track & Field Games, which marked its 30th anniversary in August 2007.
Anniversary Sparks Package Award
Herbert Candies was inspired by its 90-year history to look ahead — and think creatively with the box. The candy company developed a whole new boxed look for its hand-crafted confections and it went beyond expectations —winning it a prestigious packaging award.
The winning package, created by The Mason Box Company, earned the Excellence Award for General Superiority According to End-Use Confections, presented recently at the Annual Competition Awards of the North American Packaging Association in Orlando, Florida.