Kay Tapped to Lead Sweet Candy Co.

M. Richard Kay, the great grandson of founder Leon Sweet, has been appointed president and chief operating officer of Sweet Candy Co., Salt Lake City, Utah. He is the fourth generation to preside over the family-owned company.
Kay joined the company in 2002 as director of business development, following a career with a commercial archive business he founded with his father in Denver. Prior to this appointment, he was executive vice president of Sweet Candy Company.
Sweet Candy Co. bills itself as the country’s largest manufacturer of salt water taffy and is known for its signature chocolate orange sticks and cinnamon bears, as well as 250 other candies in its product line.
Names in the News
Chong Bang, 44, Walgreens’ divisional merchandise manager of consumables, with responsibility for overseeing the candy category, has been promoted. His new position is divisional vice president and general merchandise manager of health and wellness.
He replaces David A. Van Howe, who was named to the position of vice president of purchasing.
Wendy Lyon has joined Spangler Candy Co.’s marketing team as product development manager. Her responsibilities include the coordination of all new product and packaging development with internal departments and vendors.
Current product development manager Scott Guilford, who has been with Spangler for 24 years, will retire in November of this year.
Irish Chocolate Maker Honored
Irish entrepreneur Mary Ann O’Brien of Lily O’Brien’s Chocolates has been recognized by Image magazine as Businesswoman of the Year. The award is dedicated to women who “do business with style” and was conceived to recognize leading women in Irish corporate and entrepreneurial life.
O’Brien began making chocolate in her kitchen in 1992, and since then her operation has grown to encompass a 33,000 square-foot production facility and 125 employees.
In addition to her business achievements, O’Brien was recognized for her commitment to The Jack and Jill Foundation, a charity she founded to help terminally ill babies.
Major Players Up Wholesale Prices
Both the Hershey Company and Masterfoods USA have announced increases in their wholesale candy prices, citing rising costs.
Masterfoods’ increases, which were effective March 23, affect singles, king-size and multi-packs of candy bars as well as gum. The increase will average about 5 percent, Reuters reported.
Hershey announced its increase of about 4-5 percent on April 4. The increase affects standard, king-size, six-pack and vending lines.  
Both companies last increased prices on these products more than two years ago.
AirHeads Catches the Wave
In anticipation of this summer’s release of Sony Pictures Animation’s “Surf’s Up,” Perfetti Van Melle, maker of AirHeads candies, is launching a special package of its AirHeads bars.
The Surf’s Up promotional AirHeads six-pack will feature a collectible premium showcasing characters from the film as well as a special limited-time “New Wave” flavor.
Premium Chocolate Report Available
Growth in the premium chocolate market over the past five years has been nothing short of astounding.
In a just-completed “Premium Chocolate” report, global market research firm Mintel has assembled a detailed analysis of this flourishing segment of the confectionery category.
The report measures interest in some possible brand extensions and chocolate activities, details findings from a comprehensive consumer survey, breaks out the market into segments, analyzes the activity of key players, forecasts future growth and much more.
For more information on the report, contact Mintel at 312.932.0400 or info@mintel.com