6 States Pick Candy Corn As Their Halloween Favorite?

The polls are in! This halloween season, candystore.com took it upon themselves to amass 10 years worth of candy sales and organized them by state to find out every one’s favorite candy. Normally, such innocuous data wouldn’t be the source of any controversy but six states very selfishly ruined the list with their selections. Brace yourselves…through their purchases, Alabama, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Rhode Island and South Carolina have all elected Candy Corn as their favorite candy. I’ll give you a moment, as I’m sure you’ve just entered the same thick cloud of confusion that I did when I read the news. You may find yourself asking, with the vast selection of candy that Qcandy and the rest of America has to offer, why would anyone in their right mind choose the hard, waxy kernels of candy as their favorite? Despite my seething hatred of Candy Corn, I had to come to grips with the fact that it was the most mentioned candy on the entire list. This prompted a desire to investigate the origin of Candy Corn, if only to understand why it’s such a polarizing treat.

Candy Corn is primarily made of three ingredients: sugar, corn syrup and confectioner’s wax. The ingredients are melted down into a liquid candy which then goes through a cornstarch molding process before being dyed with its three signature colors (yellow, orange and white). There are a few urban legends out there about how candy corn came to be. The most accepted theory is that a candy maker from Pennsylvania invented Candy Corn in the 1880’s and originally called it “Chicken Feed.” The Goelitz Candy Company, now known as Jelly Belly Candy Co., introduced Candy Corn to the masses at the turn of the 20th century. Jelly Belly Candy Co., currently has the longest history of making candy corn. Get this, they still use the original recipe!

Perhaps people’s love for Candy Corn is rooted in nostalgia. After all, it’s been around for over a century and every year around 20 million pounds of the orange kernels are sold in the United States. Much like its Easter counter-part, Peeps, Candy Corn has become synonymous with Halloween and if I must say something positive about the waxy kernels it is this: Without Candy Corn Halloween would never be the same again.

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Don’t Take Candy From Strangers!

For a long time, the old cliché of never taking candy from a stranger because it could be dangerous was purely based on myth. Misattributions of poisoned candy after Halloween have caused many parents to grow wary of the treats strangers give their children. Thankfully, many of these poisoned candy stories were fabricated by sneaky parents seeking financial compensation or children seeking attention. Over the years, these misattributions have been picked up by the media and blown out of proportion.

Yet, just yesterday a Fort Collins woman found a needle in a piece of candy that was tossed to her at the Tour de Fat. Tour de Fat is a traveling beer, music and cycling festival. Betsy Welk, her friend and her friend’s three-year-old were attending when passing cyclists threw sweets into the crowd. Welk caught a piece of green, chewy candy and asked her friend if she could give it to her kid. The mother very shrewdly said no, stating that she didn’t know who threw the candy.

Betsy Welk unwrapped the candy and was about to enjoy it herself when she found what she described as a sewing needle inside the chewy candy. Naturally, Welk and her friend reported the incident but it was hard for police to do much about it since they didn’t know who threw it.

Fortunately, Welk was smart enough to check the candy before biting into it. “As a general precaution, it’s always a good idea to check any candy for tampering before you eat it if you didn’t get it from a store,” Welks said.

Most candy from strangers may not have something dangerous inside, but it’s probably a smart idea to still check. Make sure to keep up with our blog for more candy news. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

Nestlé Considers Sale of US Candy Business

A couple of months ago, Nestlé declared that it was considering selling its American candy business, as demand continues to fall. Nestlé is the Swiss giant responsible for treats such as Gobbstoppers, Nerds, Butterfingers and Crunch chocolate bars. Although no official reason has been announced for exactly why Nestlé are considering selling, it may have to do with some of the reasons we’ve discussed on this blog before.

Though Nestlé brought in around $922 million in 2016, they still had the following to say about their fiscal year, “The performance of confectionery in the US was disappointing, impacted by the competitive environment and low growth in the mainstream chocolate market.”

As Americans push for healthier snack alternatives and confections with organic ingredients, there is no doubt that candy companies will have to rethink how they go about their sales. This also makes me wonder if the growing popularity of online grocery shopping may be contributing to the decline of impulse item sales, as discussed in last weeks article.

Though Nestlé is still considering letting go of its American candy unit, it said that it will hold on to its international candy businesses, including the incredibly successful KitKat Bar.

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Will Online Grocery Shopping Affect Candy Sales?

Today, most things are accessible to us at a click of a button thanks to the wonders of online shopping. The use of the internet as a secure form of shopping started in the late 90’s and while most of us have ordered something online, there is a growing trend amongst online shoppers that may force candy companies to rethink how they market their treats.

An online grocer is a service that allows its clients to have their groceries delivered right to their door for a fee. Customers can select a wide variety of fresh produce and avoid the worry of making time out of their busy weeks to visit the grocery store.

The ever increasing popularity of online shopping has proven that people are willing to pay for convenience. Unfortunately, many candy companies rely on customers visiting physical storefronts for the majority of their sales.

Have you ever noticed how most of the candy in supermarkets is always right next to the registers? These are called impulse buy items. Right before you exit the store, you’re presented with all of these irresistible and very affordable choices. More often than not, you’ll leave the store with at least one unplanned pack of gum. In fact, many major candy companies consider impulse purchases a significant source of their sales.

Impulse candy sales may begin to suffer, as more companies like AmazonFresh continue to develop their grocery delivery service. In fact, according to this article by Quartz, sales in the chewing gum industry have been declining over the past decade. “The market for chewing gum, in general—which includes bubble gum, mint gums, and sugar-free varieties—sits at $3 billion, down more than 8% over the past decade.” Good thing we have an online store!

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Organic Colors in the Food Industry

As companies continue to opt for organic ingredients for their food products, they eventually come a cross a common problem in the organic food industry. Color plays a vital part in the perceived taste and quality of a food product. Recently, food companies such as Nestlé and General Mills have announced their plan to leave behind synthetic food colors and pursue plant based food dyes.

According to Carol Culhane, president of International Food Focus Limited, a Toronto-based firm that helps American and Canadian food manufacturers comply with food regulations, demand for natural food colors began to take off in 2007, after a study in The Lancet linked artificial food dyes to hyperactivity in children.

However, deriving food dyes from natural sources is much more expensive than synthesizing it in a lab. Much of this has to do with the availability of the necessary plant or vegetables.

Culhane explains, “in a factory, companies can make as much of a synthetic color as needed at any given time the exact same way, and keep the price consistent. But pigments in real vegetables can vary from field to field, region to region and year to year.”

So how exactly is color derived from natural sources. According to the Salt, the following companies are pioneering the search for natural food dyes.

California based company colorMaker, uses a wide variety of fruit and vegetable juices to create a spectrum of naturally colored dyes. However, in order to do so, they must import their juices from all over the world, including red cabbage from China and purple carrots from Europe.

Another company, Kalsec, has been deriving colors exclusively from different types of carrots for over 50 years. They’ve discovered a solution to another common problem found in natural food dyes. These dyes are not as stable as their synthetic counterparts and so Kalsec adds their patented Durabrite technology to protect the dyes from light, heat, oxygen and trace metals.

Companies like these will continue to scour the Earth for sources for their food dye, eventually making it possible for other companies to make the switch. As candy companies push towards organic ingredients, it will be interesting to see what methods they will adopt to color their confections.

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Organic Candy Drives Demand

It should be no shock to anyone that the demand for organic foods has steadily increased. Health conscious consumers seek transparency in their products and are increasingly concerned with the environmental footprint and quality of ingredients of the brands that they purchase.

Demand for organic snack foods is particularly high. In 2015, organic food sales reached $2.3 billion. That’s a 14% increase in sales from the year before. If you’re looking for evidence, it’s all around you. Pretty much every grocery store nowadays has an organic section. If not, there’s bound to be somewhere else close by.

This increasing demand for organic foods comes from consumers who fall into a particular category known as LOHAS. “Lifestyle of health and sustainability,” consumers are not restricted to a single demographic. Millennial, Gen X and Gen Y consumers of all genders help drive the demand for organic foods.

So what’s the big deal about organic food anyway? Organic food needs to come from organic ingredients. In fact, to be certified as organic, products cannot contain ingredients produced with pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or ionizing radiation. Overall, higher quality ingredients mean that consumers can indulge without worrying about what they’re putting in their bodies.

This is likely why the demand for organic candy continues to increase today. Laina Malnight, marketing manager for Chocxo puts it best, “Organic candy, for the most part, is giving consumers a permissible indulgence,” Malnight says in this article by Candyindustry.com. “You can buy the candy or the chocolate, but you feel a little better about it because it’s organic and you know where the ingredients come from.”

Keep an eye out for our next article, which will cover the issues that candy makers commonly encounter when making the switch to organic. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Facebook and Twitter!

Substituting Sugar in Sweets

“Organic” and “all-natural” remain the buzzwords amongst health conscious candy consumers. Many candy companies have responded to this demand by attempting to substitute the most vital ingredient in all confections: sugar. The function of sugar is two fold. Besides its obvious use as a sweetener, sugar also adds bulk to the candy. Developers must now find a way to match the perceived sweetness of their candy using healthier alternatives.

Whenever substituting an ingredient in sweets (especially one as essential as sugar) there is always a give and take. A couple of years ago, Haribo successfully substituted Stevia leaf extract in their cough jelly beans. The result was jelly beans with 40% less calories than the sugar version. In the past, Malitol syrup has been used as an alternative to sugar with similar sweetness and bulk. However, when consumed in large quantities, the syrup has a laxative effect.

Another common substitute, aspartame, has long been the center of controversy in the world of artificial sweeteners. However, according the American Cancer Society, “no health problems have been consistently linked to aspartame use.”

The race for the perfect sugar substitute continues. Another interesting topic that candy developers are working on is the development of organic dyes to stain their candy. Make sure to keep up with our blog for more candy news. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Facebook and Twitter!

Happy National Candy Month!

There are plenty of reasons to celebrate this month. Father’s Day is coming up and those of us in the East Coast are very aware that summer is upon us. However, did you know that June is also a very festive month for candy makers everywhere? This month has the special honor of being designated National Candy Month, a time to celebrate the men and women whose delicious treats have played a part in our lives for many years. I know you probably weren’t looking for another excuse to eat some more candy, but what better way to celebrate National Candy Month?

Those of you in the candy industry may be interested in the latest featured statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau. You’ll be happy to note that Americans sure seem to love candy:

– Americans eat about 22 pounds of candy a year, most of which is chocolate.
– There are over 1360 American firms making chocolate and other cocoa products that sell $16 billion worth of chocolate a year.
– There are 493 locations that make non-chocolate confections that sell $10 billion worth of candy a year.
– Over 61,000 Americans are employed in Candy.
– Over 2.2 million metric tons of chocolate are imported to America each year!

If this article put you in the mood for some delicious treats, make sure to check out Quality Candy Store. Make sure to keep up with our blog for more candy news!

7th Graders Ship Candy To The Troops

One middle school in the East Coast really knows how to embrace the holiday spirit.

7th graders in a New Hampshire middle school have collected over 400 pounds of Halloween candy and shipped it to troops over sea. A five year tradition, students at Hampton Academy have been shipping packages to troops since 2011. A couple of years later, the students began combining their trick-or-treat candy and sending it Afghanistan.

The students became inspired to support the troops while taking a class on the Middle East. Inevitably, the class discussion gravitated towards the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. The first year, the kids collected pencils, crayons and clothing to a parent stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, working with NATO forces. The supplies were used by Afghan women and their children

After that, the packages became an annual tradition. The teachers of Hampton Academy see the effort as a way to teach their students about helping others, no matter where they are.

In 2013, the children began piling their candy together and shipping it overseas. Every year the pile continues to get bigger. Last year, the 7th graders collected over 260 pounds of Halloween treats. This year, the pile increased by 140 pounds, which proved expensive to ship to the Middle East.

Every box filled with candy was about $15 dollars to shop overseas. In the end, the shipping bill turned out to be over $600, a hefty bill on a teacher’s salary.

The teachers turned to social media for help and the donations came flying in. One donor even donated $500.

It’s impressive how much candy one school alone can pile together. We’ll have to wait until next Christmas season to see how much larger the pile gets. For more candy news, make sure to keep up with our blog. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter


3 Strange Candy Cane Flavors

What piece of candy captures the Christmas spirit better than the candy cane?

This classic holiday treat is deeply rooted in tradition. The first recipe for the candy cane was published in 1844 but some sources say that the origin of the candy cane can be be traced back to a German monastery in 1640. You can read more about the mysterious origin of the candy cane here.

Sugar, water and corn syrup; that’s all it takes to make a candy cane. Originally, the candy was flavored with peppermint flavoring but, for some, peppermint has become passé. Recently, more and more flavors of the Christmas treat have entered the market. What’s interesting is that some candy makers have opted for more exotic flavors.

Here are three peculiar candy cane flavors that the more daring might want to try this holiday season:

Dill Pickle Flavored Candy Canes. I’m not entirely sure how this idea came to fruition. The description online says that these are meant for those who don’t particularly enjoy sweets. “Christmas can be a difficult time for someone who isn’t that into sweets. If you’re the savory sort, you might prefer the dill tang of our Pickle Candy Canes.” Not only do the candy canes taste like pickles, they also come with festive green stripes.

Gravy Candy Canes! Some people genuinely prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas. Reminisce about that delicious turkey feast whilst taking in the Christmas spirit. Now, I’ve never tried these but I’m not sure peppermint candy canes have too much to worry about.

Wasabi Candy Canes. Let’s be honest. Who hasn’t heard someone complain that their candy canes aren’t spicy enough. Maybe you’re the family prankster and want to trick someone with the green-striped candy. Imagine how disappointed your little sister would be if, while reaching for a delicious pickle-flavored candy cane, she was greeted with a mouthful of horseradish instead.

It’s always fun to spice up boring holiday traditions. I’m sure any of these three flavors would be a hot topic of conversation.

As for me, I’ll stick to “original.” For more candy news, please keep up with our blog. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Christmas is coming up! If you need any last minute gifts don’t forget to check out our online store.