By Deborah Cassell
Executive Editor
Candy Industry,
Retail Confectioner

getting fresh: Love is in the 'air'

Sports fans look forward to Super Bowl commercials almost as much as they do the big game. They laugh and groan at the best and the worst ads (not to mention football plays), and often spend the next day chatting with coworkers and e-mailing friends about which ones were most memorable, sharing YouTube links to instant replays not of their favorite quarterback’s fancy footwork, but of Pepsi’s latest campaign, for example.
I enjoy the Super Bowl as much as the next person, but as I’ve mentioned before, I rarely pay attention to commercials on a daily basis. Truth be told, I’d rather fast-forward past them while catching up on my favorite DVR’d TV shows. But before I’d even received a press release regarding Lindt’s latest ad spot, I’d already stopped to watch and chuckle over it.
The recently aired commercial, dubbed “Airport,” follows Swiss tennis star Roger Federer through an airport security screening, where he’s stopped by two female security agents who recognize him and insist on searching his Lindor Truffle-filled duffle bag. The 30-second promo culminates in the agents taste-testing the chocolates and ultimately confiscating them for further “investigation.” The new creative will air through Sept. 12, coinciding with the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.
 I love it.

As regular readers know, I’m a tennis fan (and player). I’m also a fan of chocolate (surprise, surprise). Which is why Lindt’s decision to name Swiss tennis star Roger Federer its “Global Brand Ambassador” in 2009 seemed to me, as the company says, “the perfect match” -- a “winning combination” that I’ve written about in the past.
The new Lindt ad spot does something that few commercials outside of the Super Bowl succeed in doing: It makes me laugh. Check it out yourself at and see if it doesn’t bring a smile to your face.

In related news, Lindt has unveiled a special partnership with the Roger Federer Foundation (RFF),, to help raise awareness and funds for the non-profit in conjunction with the Grand Slam tournament currently going on in New York. To start, for every match Federer wins during the Open, Lindt will donate $1,000 to the RFF, whose primary focus is Africa; the foundation offers charitable grant-making opportunities to address the critical challenges in education for disadvantaged children. Chocolate lovers can get in on the action by visiting The Perfect Match Fan Giveaway at for the chance to win a Nike duffle bag filled with Lindor Truffles every time Federer wins a round.
 “Our new television campaign allows us to showcase our signature smooth melting Lindor Truffles in a fun way, using Federer’s likability to further extend the Lindt message,” says Thomas Linemayr, president & ceo of Lindt USA. “We are also happy our support of the Roger Federer Foundation encourages fans to rejoice in Roger’s success not only because he is a great tennis player, but also because every win will help disadvantaged children.”
Federer is equally pleased with the partnership.
“I am excited to continue to grow my partnership with the leader – and my top choice – in premium chocolate,” he says. “I am also thankful to Lindt for their support of the Roger Federer Foundation. This is a cause I am very passionate about, and it is great to know my potential success on the court will have a positive effect on children in need.”
The U.S. Open is in full swing (pun intended) at the moment. Tonight, Federer will take on fifth-seed Swede Robin Soderling. Soderling’s beaten Federer before. But it’s never easy taking on the No. 2 player in the world, especially when he’s won the tournament five out of the last six years. Win or lose, Federer can always enjoy some Lindt chocolate after the match. I’m pretty sure he’s got a lifetime supply at his fingertips.
Editor’s Note: For more information about Lindt, visit

Kraft names marketing head to oversee category teams

According to a report published by the Chicago Tribune this morning, Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods has selected Mary Beth West, chief marketing officer, to oversee its confectionery and biscuit global category teams.
The global category teams work within the business units in ensuring best practices, a Kraft spokesperson explained to Candy Industry. West will not, however, be involved in running the business units, which encompass Cadbury's recently acquired gum, candy and chocolate segments as well as its pre-existing chocolate and European biscuit businesses.
Prior to taking over marketing duties at the company, West ran Kraft’s North American beverage divisions. According to the Chicago Tribune report, West is “widely credited with restoring Kraft’s marketing credentials.”
For more information about Kraft Foods, visit

Blommer Chocolate wins award for Canadian specialty coatings plant

Blommer Chocolate’s specialty coatings facility in Campbellford, Canada, was recognized by the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) with an Award of Excellence at the association’s national manufacturing conference earlier this week. EMC, Canada’s largest manufacturing consortium with more than 900 manufacturer members, cited the Campbellford plant for its lean manufacturing, leadership and cultural excellence.
Since its purchase in 2006 from World’s Finest Chocolate, Blommer has expanded the 85,000-sq.-ft. facility threefold. During that time, by embracing lean manufacturing methodology, the company has made substantial productivity gains and performance improvements. Those gains include the following: process waste reductions of up to 70%, process productivity improvements up to 109% and an order fulfillment rate consistently in excess of 98%.
“I credit the employees, their strong work ethic and their commitment to the kind of culture evolving here as the key to the company’s success and growth,” says Doug Harper, Blommer’s general manager. “For any manufacturer looking to be more productive and competitive, they need to engage the human side of their organization. We significantly reduced our labor and overhead costs while increasing our capacities and capabilities.”
Harper, who heads up cultural development and lean manufacturing efforts at all four Blommer plants, points out that “the culture is built around driving decision making throughout the organization so decisions are made by those best able to make them, where and when they need to be made. Employees are empowered and are part of the solutions towards continuous improvement every day.”
“Blommer Chocolate and Doug Harper really stood out as the winner for this year’s EMC award for excellence in lean, leadership and culture,” adds Al Diggins, president and general manager, EMC Canada. “The company’s accomplishments clearly speak of their success, and equally as important is the culture established for the employees. People are happy to go to work there, and it shows.”
The company’s specialty coatings include colored and flavored compound coatings, high-protein coatings, white/yogurt coatings and all natural and unique coatings to meet specific customer needs. The Campbellford facility has the capacity to produce smaller runs for special products and specific projects. Blommer Chocolate Company is the largest cocoa processor and ingredient chocolate supplier in North America.
For more information, visit

Siblings launch Indian-inspired bite-sized chocolates

Devnaa, a London-based confectionery operation, has combined traditional techniques and flavors associated with Indian sweets with modern, artisan chocolate making to produce a range of unique bite-sized confections.
Launched by brother-and-sister team Jay and Roopa Rawal, Devnaa represents an evolution of Indian sweets into chocolate. The two siblings, who decided to enter the sweets business after relatives and friends praised Roopa’s homemade Indian desserts, researched both worlds prior to formally going into business.
After Jay travelled to India to search out the best authentic sweets and Roopa completed her study of artisan chocolate at Slattery School of Excellence, the two met back in London to share their experiences and ideas. This led to the development of an all new collection of sweets and desserts, which quickly earned them two consecutive Gold Great Taste Awards for their products, the most recent being for their chai masala milk chocolate truffle.
“We like to think of each one of our creations as an irresistible masterpiece, made with the same love and dedication as the inspiring sweet makers in India,” Jay says.
Available in collections of 16, 32 and 48 pieces, the product is packaged in unique “tiffin”-style boxes that feature a bold “mango” design, which takes inspiration from the iconic paisley print popular across India.
Devnaa donates 10 pence from all chocolate boxes sold and five pence from all chocolate bars sold to HEAL, a charitable organization committed to providing shelter, support, education and healthcare for children in India.
For more information, please visit

Candy entrepreneur Babiarz dies

Candy importer and manufacturer David E. Babiarz passed away peacefully at home on Sept. 1 from complications of diabetes. He was 61.
Babiarz, who succeeded his father, Emil, at the family’s Dae Julie Co., in Des Plaines, Ill, in the 1960s, evolved the company into a leading confectionery importer. At one time, industry sources estimated that the company handled up to 15% of all U.S. candy imports.
In 1990, he founded Candyland Candies, Inc. and built a 120,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Des Plaines. After selling the company to Favorite Brands in 1997, Babiarz re-entered the confectionery industry several years later with a new company, Candy Tech LLC. The Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based business established a candy-manufacturing operation in China. (See Candy Industry, Jan. 2007).
Babiarz is survived by his wife Barbara (nee Berger), daughters Barbara Jane (Lennart) Steiner and Jennifer (Scott) Morvig, son David Jr. (Katie) Babiarz and sister Julie (Christopher) Lopatowski.

sweet of the week: Sconza Lemoncello Almonds

New Lemoncello Almonds from Sconza Candy, Oakdale, Calif., are the latest addition to the company’s premium packaged line. Inspired by the fragrant lemon groves of Sorrento, Italy, this unique confection was created by members of the third-generation of the Sconza family to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of their parents, Jim and Carolyn Sconza. Lemoncello Almonds are lightly roasted California almonds drenched in white chocolate and featuring the flavor of fresh lemon cream. They are packed in 5-oz. bags, which will retail for $4.99, and 12-ct. cases. Sconza also offers a Lemoncello Almonds shipper display featuring 24 Lemoncello bags.
For more information, visit