Halloween may not be over just yet, but the USA’s largest manufacturer of handmade candy canes is already having a busy holiday season. Hammond’s Brands, the parent company of Hammond’s Candies, Old Dominion Peanut Company, McCraw’s Candies, and Mellow Fluffs, has announced a December 15 deadline for wholesale orders of its popular line of stocking stuffer-worthy seasonal candies.
When consumers think of the holidays, thoughts of Hammond’s peppermint-flavored sweets aren’t far behind. The company’s small batch Candy Canes are made from the same old-fashioned recipes that the company began using almost a century ago. Packaged in cases of 48, the oversized 8’-inch, 1.75-ounce canes are delicately hand crooked with a beautiful shine and tempting flavors, including Classic Peppermint, which retails for $2.99, and Chocolate Cream Filled Peppermint, which retails for $3.49. Hammond’s line of canes features a total of 30 unique flavors.
In addition to its Candy Canes, Hammond’s gives its lollipops, hot chocolate and chocolate bars a refreshing, peppermint-infused update this time of year as well. Peppermint Christmas Tree Lollipops make a sweet and festive topper for gifts of all sizes. Peppermint Hot Chocolate Dunking Spoons give the gift of a warm and comforting beverage on the go. Candy Cane Crunch Bars combine dark chocolate and bits of peppermint for a tingly treat.
“For our wholesale partners, the holiday season starts long before Advent calendars do! Knowing this, we’ve made it a habit to always get a head start on our peppermint-infused treats,” said Andrew Schuman, Hammond’s President and CEO. “This year, we’re prepared to support wholesale holiday orders right up until December 15th so we can spread as much cheer as possible.”
Since fall will be here before we know it, Hammond’s Brands, the parent company of Hammond’s Candies, Old Dominion Peanut Company, McCraw’s Candies, and Mellow Fluffs, has its popular line of pumpkin spice and apple-infused treats now available for shipment. Many of the candies and snacks that have made Hammond’s Colorado’s favorite handmade confectioner undergo an autumnal transformation each year.
This year, Hammond’s is offering four seasonally-inspired specials:
“Snackers love the nostalgic, warm flavors that they associate with fall — in fact, pumpkin-flavored products accounted for $361 million sales last year alone and that number keeps growing,” said Andrew Schuman, Hammond’s President and CEO. “We’re excited to help retailers stock up, since appetites for pumpkin spice, apple, and other fall flavors start earlier and earlier each year!”
By Lorrie Baumann
Bissinger’s is offering two summery new flavors of its Gummy Pandas. Strawberry Mango and Tart Cherry & Lime join a line-up that already included Blueberry Acai, Pink Grapefruit with Grapeseed, Pomegranate White Tea, Raspberry Yumberry and Blackberry Hibiscus Gummy Pandas. “They’re well-liked by children, but they’re sophisticated enough for adults,” said Dave Owens, Bissinger’s Chief Chocolatier and Vice President of Taste. “They have a true-to-nature taste.”
Like the other flavors in the line, the new Gummy Pandas are gluten free, dairy free and contain no high fructose corn syrup. They’re packaged in a 3-ounce pouch that retails for $4.99.
Bissinger’s also debuted its Caramelized Blood Orange bar, which is 60 percent dark chocolate. Made with a blood orange-rosemary caramel with hazelnuts and cocoa nibs, the 3-ounce bar retails for $4.99. The bar is gluten free, and the early reviews are enthusiastic.
There are 10 bars in the line, including Coconut Caramel and Honey Pepita Caramel, which has roasted salted pepitas on the back of the bar, lots of honey taste and guajillo chili for a whisper of spice.
Bissinger’s Chocolate-Covered Wine Grapes are made from Muscat grapes that have dried into raisins on the vine. They’re infused with Shiraz wine and then enrobed in 60 percent dark chocolate. This is not a new product, but the packaging has been updated. They come in a 3.5-ounce pouch that retails for $5.99 as well as an 8-ounce gift box that retails for $14.99.
Many of these products originated in the kitchen of Chief Chocolatier Owens, who’s been Bissinger’s Vice President of Taste for nine years after coming to Bissinger’s after a 30-year career in the restaurant business. His assignment at Bissinger’s includes new product development, and in that role, it’s his responsibility to ensure that the legacy brought by the company’s 350 years of history is maintained as the product line also evolves to appeal to changing tastes. Doing that isn’t about responding to trends, Owens said: “We try to be in front of our consumers to know what they want before they want it.”
Like the days when Owens was developing a new dish to serve in his restaurant, a new Bissinger’s candy starts with a concept. Owens rolls that thought around in his mind until he can taste it, and then he goes into his lab to work on it. In the case of the Caramelized Blood Orange bar, it was the rosemary that got added into the recipe in the course of that work. Its herbaceous note adds a complexity to the bar that Owens really likes and that he thinks will resonate with consumers on the hunt for a new flavor sensation.
Though the other flavors change with the times, and many of them come and go in the product line, there’s one flavor that doesn’t change, and that’s the Bissinger’s chocolate. All of the chocolate that Bissinger’s uses is made in Europe – it all comes from one liquor, so that the milk chocolate and the different dark chocolates have common flavor notes. “It’s all cohesive,” Owens said. “That’s why we have customers for life…. We meet customers in their 80s who tell us they’ve been eating it since they were a small child. They can tell me more about the company than even I know.”