It's about one year since Unreal candy hit store shelves, and in that time the company has come to learn a few things about what consumers want.
And now they’re responding with some big changes — a package redesign, new product names and brighter colors on some of the chocolates.
Co-founder Chef Adam Melonas says the changes are all just part of the company’s mission to continually evolve.
“None of our products are ever considered complete,” he explains. “We’re going to revisit our existing products frequently to try to make them better.”
The most noticeable change for consumers who see the candy on store shelves will be the redesigned packaging and logo.
Developed with Crunch Brands, the new design still features the company’s signature black as the primary packaging color for boldness, and for consistency with its previous packaging.
However, the wrappers now feature new product images and a clean logo. The previous Unreal logo letters seemed to be inspired by a QR code, while the new letters feature crisp lines.
“The original packaging that we launched could be misconstrued for something a little bit more techy. It wasn’t so obvious in the beginning what it exactly said,” Melonas says. “So we took a lot of time to come up with beautiful illustrations, which are based on photos. And we actually went through a logo change. We had to really call out Unreal on the front.”
They also got rid of the numbering system they were using to name the candies. So whereas the candy-coated chocolates previously were labeled as UN41, they are now The Gimmie Ones.
The other new names include: The Nutty Ones (candy-coated chocolate peanuts), The Smooth One (chocolate caramel nougat Bar), The Loaded One (chocolate caramel peanut nougat bar), and The Double One (peanut butter cups).
Melonas says the company originally went down the number route because a lot of other products on the market were doing the same thing, but Unreal’s numbers just never caught on.
“We’ve always had some internal names for the products and I, myself, could never make the numbers stick,” he says. “And internally we had names like The Smooth One, the Loaded One. And we thought, there must be some value in that.”
Once consumers open the new products, they’ll see much brighter colors on the The Gimmie Ones and The Nutty Ones.
Originally the colors were a little dull because the company decided against using titanium dioxide, which would create a super white layer for colors to be applied on. While the Food and and Drug Administration technically classified titanium dioxideas a natural ingredient, Melonas says it just didn’t sit right with them to use the chemical.
They still don’t use the titanium dioxide. However, Melonas says he and his team have gotten better at formulating the natural colors to make brighter hues.
“The colors have literally been evolving since the day we launched,” he says. “They are made with exactly the same ingredient, but with a little more product intelligence. It’s exactly the same product, we’re just really strengthening that technique.”
Boston-based Unreal claims to sell “unjunked” candy that offers a healthier alternative to many of the confections on the market. The company replaces “all of the junk with real food ingredients, including reducing the sugar, responsibly sourcing ingredients and making it taste better.”
The candy currently is available at 15,000 stores nationwide, including Target and CVS. Melonas says the candy’s distribution is strongest in the Northeast, but they do have a national strategy and they are gaining new partners on a daily basis.
As for new products, Melonas says that while they have a few candies in the works, the timing isn’t right to launch anything new.
“Innovation never stops, that’s the beauty of it,” he says. “There a lot of things in the pipeline, as soon as the market tells us that they’re ready.”