By Bernard Pacyniak
Candy Industry,
Retail Confectioner

Getting fresh: Tis the season for lists

We all have lists these days. The influx of e-mails, phone calls and demands of daily life make it difficult to be organized - much less effective - without lists. I had to smile, however, when I read in Editor Dana Cowin’s column in Food and Wine magazine that she actually repeated things that she had crossed off on her lists simply because it felt good crossing them off again.
The lists I refer to in today’s headline, however, do not refer to any "Stuff I gotta do today" or "Honey-Do" lists. Instead, as 2010 drags itself to the ultimate Times Square sendoff, the lists I have are simply the "Best and Worst (fill in the blank here) of the year. Be it fashion or cinema, gaffes or witticisms, there will be a host of lists detailing winners and losers during the past year.
As it so happens, I received my first official list yesterday when known "Supermarket Guru" Phil Lempert released his 2010 Hits and Misses ( Naturally, I was curious to see whether any confectionery companies had made Lempert’s lists, be it good or bad.
Reportedly, Lempert samples 5,000 new products annually. And, as the press release relates, he "tests and judges each product based on eight specific criteria: taste, health, ingredients, appearance, sustainability, preparation, packaging, and value."
Using a 100-point scale, Lempert pronounces those products scoring an 85 or higher a "Hit," while those receiving a 75 and below are a "Miss." I guess when you’re dealing with food and new product launches, there’s no such thing as getting just a passing grade.
 In skimming over the hits and misses, I’m sorry to report that the confectionery sector only scored once in Lempert’s product evaluation, and even then it was a miss. It seems Lempert did not care at all for Wrigley’s Extra Dessert Delights Mint Chocolate Chip Gum, handing the product a 68.
To quote, ""Although the aroma is nice, it’s one of the dumbest ideas of the year -- to produce chewing gum that supposedly tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream! Not only is it a lame idea, but the gum tastes bad and the flavor does not even last very long; maybe that's the good news?"
Ouch! Of course, this immediately made me want to try it. I didn’t get a chance to score one this morning, but I’ll let you know next week. I’m disparaging Lempert’s assessment- I personally prefer less sweet confections myself - I just find it incredible that he couldn’t find one "hit" among all those products within the confectionery side.
Each month in Candy Industry, within the Retail Confectioner segment of the magazine, we typically list nine new products that confectioners have launched. In total, the confectionery industry rolls out between 1,000 and 1,500 products annually (It’s actually more, but I’m guestimating true new product rollouts).
So it seems that Lempert doesn’t have a sweet tooth. But heck, I’m sure that somewhere within those 1,000 to 1,500 products there has to be a hit, even for a gourmand like Lempert. And that’s the problem with lists, they always invite discussion and debate. Or maybe that’s a good thing.
So readers, tell me what do you think were the confectionery hits of 2010.

Roark Capital Group Acquires Atkins Nutritionals

Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, announced last Friday that its affiliates have acquired Atkins Nutritionals, a leading international weight control and nutrition brand. Atkins' management team, led by Monty Sharma, will remain with the business and invested alongside Roark Capital in the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not released
Founded in 1989, Denver, Col.-based, Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. provides the largest and best-known, scientifically supported, carbohydrate-optimization weight-management program in the world and is the second-largest U.S. weight management brand at retail. The company markets Atkins diet-compliant nutrition bars, shakes, and better-for-you confections under the Atkins Advantage and Atkins Endulge brands.
"We are very excited to partner with Monty Sharma and his team to help support the continued growth of the Atkins brand," said Ezra Field, Roark’s managing director. "Atkins is consistent with our strategy of investing in leading consumer businesses with strong brands, differentiated market-positions and identifiable growth opportunities."
Monty Sharma, Atkins’ ceo, adds "I'm very pleased to have Roark as a partner to support the continued growth of the Atkins brand. Their operational approach and the weight management sector experience they bring make them a terrific partner for Atkins and its management team going forward."
The company offers consumers its Atkins diet program, which was introduced in the 1960s and has helped millions of people lose weight since then, and a full suite of weight loss and weight management support tools online. The company sells its products in the nutritional aisle at approximately 30,000 retail outlets, across the food, drug, and mass-merchant channel throughout the United States and in over 20 countries around the world.
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Bubble Chocolate Donates Profits to Prevent Suicides

As part of its efforts to “give back” during the holiday season, Salem, Mass.-based Bubble Chocolate announced it is partnering with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The company will donate 15% net profit from every order from today through Dec. 22 to AFSP.
Bubble Chocolate’s donation will aid the Foundation, which engages in the following five core strategies: funding of scientific research; providing education programs for professionals; educating the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention; promoting policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention; and offering programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk.
Though great strides have been made in reaching AFSP's mission, more needs to be done the Foundation says,to drastically increase awareness of suicide and mood disorders (and reduce their social stigma), refine diagnosis and treatment options as well as provide support for survivors and intervention and hope for those at risk.
According to National Center for Health Statistics, more than 34,000 lives are lost to suicide yearly. It is the fourth leading cause of death among 18-65 year-olds and the third leading cause of death amongst 15-24 year-olds. Most importantly, 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable disorder at the time of death, most of which are treatable, the NCHS says.
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Surf Sweets Introduces Gummi Snack-Packs

Wheeling, Ill.-based Surf Sweets, a leading supplier of organically sweetened, gummi candies and jelly beans, has added Gummy Bears and Sour Berry Bears Snack Packs multi-packs to its growing line of candy products. Each Surf Sweets Snack Packs multi-pack consists of five 0.9-oz. Gummy Bears or Sour Berry Bears snack-size packs (six multi-packs per case) and will be sold for a suggested retail price of $4.49 this August.
“We think moms will agree that Surf Sweets all natural, snack packs multi-packs are a convenient and wholesome alternative to traditional gummy candies and fruit snacks,” says Bert Cohen, president and founder of TruSweets, LLC. “They not only taste great, but they’re made with real organic fruit juice, fortified with antioxidant Vitamin C, and they’re free of the ingredients that concern moms most including corn syrup, synthetic dyes and artificial flavors,” he adds.
Additionally, each 0.9-oz. snack-size pack of Gummy Bears and Sour Berry Bears contains only 80 calories offering both portion and calorie control. The company uses high quality organic and natural ingredients for its candies and all confections are free of corn syrup, synthetic dyes, artificial flavors and GMOs.
Moreover, the candies are gluten free; dairy and casein free; allergy friendly, meaning that they contain none of the most common food allergens (wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, shellfish); and Feingold-approved. All Surf Sweets candies are produced and packaged in a dedicated nut-free facility.
For more information, visit

Songstress Kimberly Cole Pays Sugar Factory a Visit

Riding a wave of popularity from her recent album, “Smack You,” popular singer/songwriter Kimberly Cole stopped by the Sugar Factory at The Mirage in Las Vegas last Sunday night. Dressed in a black and pink mini dress, she perused the confection shop's candy selection, causing a stir among customers at the famed sweet shop.
According to Sugar Factory reports, Cole loves the company’s famous Couture Pops and couldn't get enough of the red licorice ropes. Before leaving the establishment shop with two bags of candy on her arm, Cole gave everyone hugs.
Sugar Factory operates two Las Vegas stores, located at The Mirage casino and Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Early next year, Sugar Factory will celebrate the grand opening of their flagship store located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip at Paris Las Vegas.
For more information, visit

Sweet of the Week: Trident Vitality Gum

Kraft Foods’ Trident Vitality line features three feel-good flavors: Vigorate, Rejuve and Awaken. The new flavors add a little piece of delicious well-being to the gum-chewing experience, with Vitamin C, ginseng or white tea infused into each piece. Vigorate contains a burst of citrus and strawberry, delivering 10% of the daily value of Vitamin C. Rejuve offers a refreshing blend of luscious mint and white tea while Awaken provides consumers with a peppy peppermint that features a dash of ginseng.
The innovation of new Trident Vitality goes beyond flavor, incorporating sleek and stylish packaging that features a unique, fun "click" when open or closed.Additionally, the packaging is a full box, with a blister pack inside, and conveniently closes to ensure the blister pack does not slip out. This is unlike traditional blister packaging, which is cut open on both sides. S.R.P. $1.29 for a single-pack and $2.89 for a three-pack.
For more information, visit