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The Hershey Company Names New Executive Team

The Hershey Company has announced the new executive leadership team that incoming President and CEO Michele Buck has chosen to lead the organization. The new team balances continuity in key positions through exceptional leaders from within the company and world-class talent from outside of Hershey.

“Hershey is an innovative snacking leader with its number one market share in U.S. confection and increasing breadth across U.S. snacking,” said Buck. “I’m extremely confident in the individuals who will lead our organization as we delight our customers and consumers with innovation and news in the marketplace and strive to deliver leading sales growth and margins across the food industry. This is a great team, with a range of experiences, expertise and backgrounds to accelerate our innovation, execute with excellence, instill a commercial mindset in all we do, and inspire our remarkable employees to achieve our goals.”

The following eight leaders will comprise Hershey’s new executive leadership team, effective March 1, unless otherwise noted:

Todd Tillemans, President, U.S. – Tillemans will join Hershey on April 3 to lead the company’s flagship U.S. business including core confection, its expanding portfolio across snacking, and its sales and go-to-market teams. Tillemans joins the company from Unilever, where he worked for more than 23 years. He has held multiple leadership positions, including leading Unilever’s skin care business in Europe and Russia, its personal care business in the United States, and most recently serving as President, Customer Development U.S.

Steven Schiller, President, International – Schiller, currently President, China & Asia is named President, International.  He will continue to oversee the China and Asia markets and will assume responsibility for the Americas region, India and Europe, Middle-East, and Africa.

Terry O’Day, Senior Vice President, Chief Product Supply and Technology Officer – O’Day, currently Chief Supply Chain Officer, will continue to oversee the company’s supply chain organization and will assume responsibility for Hershey’s productivity, information technology and enterprise connectivity initiatives.

In connection with these announcements, Chief Knowledge and Technology Officer Waheed Zaman will retire from the company effective March 31.

The Hershey Company has undertaken a search for a Chief Growth Officer who will lead Hershey’s insights and analytics, strategy, marketing excellence functions, innovation, research and development, mergers and acquisitions and The Hershey Experience. The company has identified an external candidate who is expected to join the team this spring.

Continuing in their roles are:

  • Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Patricia Little
  • Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Leslie Turner
  • Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Kevin Walling
  • Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Mike Wege

“These appointments reaffirm our commitment to creating opportunities for remarkable people to grow within the company and to attracting world-class talent from outside of Hershey. On behalf of the board of directors and management, I would like to thank Waheed Zaman for his work over the past four years to advance our technology, data and analytics capabilities,” Buck said.

Flavor Meets Feeling: Jelly Belly Mixed Emotions is a Rollercoaster of Emotions

Whether you’re having a happy day or a grumpy one, there’s a Jelly Belly® jelly bean for everyone in the new Mixed Emotions Collection. Favorite flavors of Jelly Belly beans are paired with an emotion, and finished with the imprint of a corresponding face to show off those feelings. Five flavors in all will be available this spring, giving candy lovers everywhere a new way to express themselves.

“We’ve toyed with connecting feelings and flavors in various ways in the past,” explained Rob Swaigen, Vice President of Global Marketing for Jelly Belly. “Emojis are a big part of how we communicate with each other through text, social media and in email, and their popularity gave new life to this idea.”

Traditionally, Jelly Belly jelly beans are stamped with the Jelly Belly name in white food coloring. In the Mixed Emotions Collection, instead of the logo, the Jelly Belly beans are stamped with a matching face to represent one of five feelings:

  • Happy tastes like refreshing lemon on a sunny day.
  • Playful teases the taste buds with sour apple.
  • Grumpy sears like sizzling cinnamon.
  • Sad envelopes you in berry blue.
  • Love warms the soul with Orange Crush®.

In keeping with the Jelly Belly tradition of thoughtful flavor experiences, enjoy each flavor individually, or combine to create your own delicious mix of emotions.

The Mixed Emotions Collection launches with a variety of packages, including snackable and shareable bags and a gift box.

Poco Dolce Packaging to Feature Fine Art

San Francisco based chocolate company, Poco Dolce Confections, is announcing an upcoming collaboration with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. In addition, Poco Dolce will be revealing new packaging for its line of bittersweet chocolate bars, including a new milk chocolate bar – Poco Dolce’s first milk chocolate product.

Poco Dolce’s partnership with the Fine Arts Museums will feature three exemplary products, including the addition of the new 37 percent cacao milk chocolate bar, to add to its selection of award winning artisanal confections. The new, limited bar packaging will showcase artwork celebrating the special exhibition galleries at the de Young Museum as well as the Legion of
Honor. The first, Monet: The early years, debuts February of 2017.

The new bars and bar packaging are featured in Poco Loco’s booth at the Winter Fancy Food Show. In addition to the collaboration bars, new and improved packaging for Poco Dolce’s bittersweet bar line will also be featured, which will include cacao percentage as well as a vivid color scheme to highlight each variety.

Davidson’s Organics Refreshes the Cup that Cheers

By Lorrie Baumann

Davidson’s Organics celebrates its 40th anniversary with rebranded packaging, a new line of tea jellies and a new line of specialty tea chocolates.

“Consumers today live very busy lifestyles. They’re looking for simplicity, value and health benefits – all in a simple format,” said Kunall Patel, Davidson’s Organics Owner and Director. “Our new package design meets all those needs while providing a very visual, trendy and high-profile look.”

While Davidson’s Organics has been in business since 1976, Patel and his family bought the brand in 2007 after the company, which had been growing organic teas in India since the 1920s, decided to vertically integrate by acquiring a business active in the North American market. Today, the same farmer cooperative of third-generation tea growers grows the tea leaves in India, and Davidson’s Organics imports them to its plant in Sparks, Nevada, where the teas are blended, manufactured, packaged and shipped to retailers.

“We’re the only tea company today that’s 100 percent vertically integrated from farm to cup,” Patel said. “This is different from the majority of other operations who outsource sourcing, blending, manufacturing and distribution. We do everything under one roof.”

dsc_3219The company currently offers about 300 flavors of USDA-certified organic and kosher-certified tea – the largest product range of organic teas on the market. They include 11 distinct product categories: black, green and white teas; dessert teas that mimic the flavor profiles of classic desserts without the calories; honey teas that contain real organic honey inside the teabag that dissolves out into the cup as it’s infused; tulsi “holy basil” teas; rooibos-based red teas; holiday teas inspired by the season but available year-round; decaffeinated teas, chai; and traditional favorites – the Darjeeling, Ceylon and Irish Breakfast teas. They’re available in tea bags, as loose leaf tea and as brew bags designed for iced tea.

“The brand’s new packaging is designed to stand out on the shelf and portray the products’ clean-label health benefits, company story, key certifications and simple ingredients that are easily and quickly assimilated to influence buying decisions,” Patel said. “The consumer has very little time to analyze a product,” he said. “To engender loyalty you need something more than just price.”

davidsons-earl-grey-jellyThe celebration continues with a new line of tea jellies, the first of their kind on the market. The tea jellies are made by infusing real tea leaves, grown by the farmer cooperative of third-generation tea farmers in the Darjeeling region of India who grow the company’s other tea products. Pectin and cane sugar are then added to make the jelly. The jellies come in four flavors that reflect the four best-selling Davidson’s Organics teas: Earl Grey, White Pomegranate, Classic Chai and Coconut Vanilla.
“The jellies reflect the true flavors of the tea blend,” Patel said. “There are a lot of jellies out there. There’s no other real tea jelly that’s made out of infused organic tea.”

The Earl Grey Tea Jelly pairs very well with meat or cheeses, according to Patel. “It’s a wonderful addition to any backyard barbecue or dinner,” he said. “It makes a perfect combination of salty and sweet at the same time.” Consumers would use the Chai Tea Jelly as they might use a pumpkin butter in a holiday feast – as a complement to bread or cheeses. White Pomegranate Tea Jelly is a tart and fruity spread that pairs well in spring-time treats, and the Coconut Vanilla Tea Jelly is perfect as an addition to scones or croissants.

Following along with the thought that tea need not be just for drinking, Davidson’s Organics is also introducing a new line of specialty tea chocolates made with certified organic dark cacao chocolate sprinkled with loose leaf tea, molded into bars, and then sprinkled with more tea. The chocolate comes from a cooperative of 400 third-generation cacao farmers from the Esmeraldas region of Ecuador.

“It’s a perfect marriage and celebration of three generations of organic agriculture,” Patel said. He noted that although there are cultural differences between the two groups of farmers – the tea growers in India and the cacao growers in Ecuador —the partnership has benefited from a shared respect for each other’s agricultural tradition.

The 70g bars are 65 percent dark chocolate in three flavors: Earl Grey Lavender, Classic Chai and Coconut Vanilla. They retail for about $6.99.

Sally Williams Fine Foods of South Africa Launches in U.S.

Sally Williams Fine Foods of South Africa, a premium purveyor of gourmet, hand-made soft textured nougat and related confections has opened offices in the U.S. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with plans to introduce and distribute to American consumers. Trevor P. Shevil has been named Chief Executive Officer, Sally Williams – U.S. Sally Williams, and will run its American operations.

In business for more than 20 years, the South African company currently sells its award-winning products at some of the most prestigious retailers throughout Europe

According to Trevor P. Shevil, “We chose Fort Lauderdale for the site of our U.S. headquarters because of the area’s easy access to the eastern corridor. Since we plan to launch Sally Williams on the East Coast first, the Florida area seemed a logical choice. We have also secured warehousing and distribution, outsourced to industry experts in strategic locations throughout the U.S.” Sally Williams opened its U.S. branch in September 2016 at 1234 NE 4th Ave, Suite B, Fort Lauderdale.

Sally Williams Fine Foods will make its debut in the U.S. at Kosherfest 2016. Kosherfest is the largest North American kosher food show, being held this year November 15-16, at the Meadowlands Expo Center, Secaucus, New Jersey.

Globally, Sally Williams is recognized as one of the most prestigious confectionery brands, particularly recognized as a purveyor of the finest honey nougat and chocolate offerings available today. It is a recipient of the International Great Taste Awards, acknowledged as the benchmark for fine food and drink and described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world in the United Kingdom. Currently, Sally Williams is distributed widely in more than 20 countries and is sold at many of the finest retailer food halls, including Harrods and Selfridges in the UK.

Line up of Sally Williams Products:

  • Luxury Almond, Macadamia, Cranberry and Almond Nougat combinations
  • Decadent Belgian Dark Chocolate Enrobed Almond Nougat
  • Decadent Belgian Milk Chocolate Enrobed Almond Nougat
  • Belgian Dark Chocolate Bars with Roasted Nougat
  • Belgian Milk Chocolate Bars with Roasted Nougat
  • Indulgent Crispy Nougat Treats in Belgium Milk or Dark Chocolate

Sally Williams Fine Foods products are manufactured using only the finest all natural ingredients, free of preservatives, colorants and gluten, and are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. They are available in both non-dairy and dairy varieties. Sally Williams Fine Foods is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with offices in London, United Kingdom and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Jelly Belly Trolls Collection Debuts

The hair-raising excitement over the DreamWorks motion picture Trolls continues as Jelly Belly Candy Company introduces the Trolls Collection. This new line, inspired by the movie’s heartfelt story and the Trolls’ fun and unique personalities includes a variety of delightful packages of Jelly Belly® jelly beans featuring the pint-sized stars of the film. The Jelly Belly Trolls Collection is available now.

The 4.25-ounce Jelly Belly Trolls Gift Box is bound to be a hot holiday item. Each compartment is filled with Jelly Belly beans to represent a lovable lead character: a mix of Berry Blue and Cotton Candy for the fashion twins Satin and Chenille, Mixed Berry Smoothie for practical Branch, Jewel Very Cherry for exuberant Poppy, Orange Sherbet for upbeat DJ Suki, and Blueberry for adorable Biggie and his sweet companion, Mr. Dinkles. Shipping in 12-count cases.

The 1-ounce bags in their playful packaging are wonderful treats for any occasion. Each bag, perfectly sized for on-the-go snacking, features one of four main characters: Poppy, Branch, DJ Suki or Biggie with Mr. Dinkles. Shipping in mixed 24-count caddies.

Both the 2.8-ounce Grab & Go® bags and 7.5-ounce Gift Bags make wonderful gifts for the upcoming holidays and beyond. The Grab & Go bag showcases whimsical character art of Poppy, Branch and Biggie with Mr. Dinkles. The Gift Bag features lead duo Poppy and Branch, and the bag’s vibrant pink foil-like finish appeals to shoppers as a truly special gift. The Grab & Go bags ship in 12-count caddies, and the Gift Bags ship in 12-count cases.

All bags in this charming collection are filled with the Hugfest Mix, an assortment of Berry Blue, Jewel Very Cherry, Lemon, Lime and Orange Sherbet Jelly Belly bean flavors.

Ethel M Chocolates Sweetens Factory and Flagship Store

Ethel M Chocolates is sweeter than ever with reimagined designs and new features after an extensive upgrade to its factory and flagship store. The Henderson-based chocolate factory has reopened its door with a fully enhanced guest experience, an updated look, new interactive elements, expanded retail space and additions to its café menu.

To commemorate the special anniversary and factory reopening, Ethel M will be holding a special family-friendly grand reopening celebration on National Chocolate Day, Friday, October 28. The event will be held at the factory from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature door prizes, live entertainment, free chocolate samplings, and more.

“Ethel M has been a staple in the Henderson community for 35 years, and while our cherished family recipes haven’t changed in more than 100 years, we wanted to give our customers a modern experience,” said Oren Young, General Manager of Ethel M Chocolates. “We believe in the connective power of sharing an unexpected experience, and that is what we are committed to do with the newly reimagined factory and store.”

New Factory Store Experience
The redesigned store showcases a new ambiance and atmosphere, highlighting colors and materials that represent the factory’s original copper kettles and signature botanical cactus garden. The upgraded Chocolate Tasting Room overlooks the cactus garden, where guests learn how chocolate is made and sample freshly made confections. The demonstration area features professional chocolatiers who prepare delectable combinations such as chocolate-covered strawberries and caramel dipped apples.

The self-guided viewing aisle, where guests can view how Ethel M Chocolates are made, has also been upgraded with digital displays that illustrate Ethel M Chocolate’s history and the sustainability efforts of Mars Inc..

The café space has been remodeled and now offers an extended menu. Light bites include dark chocolate ganache cupcakes, coconut macarons, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Specialty drinks include double hot chocolate, Aztec hot chocolate, and chocolate cappuccino. Adjacent to the café, in the enhanced 7,500-square-foot retail space, guests can find the entire line of their favorite Ethel M treats.

In addition to enjoying the new factory, guests can stroll through Nevada’s and one of the world’s largest botanical cactus gardens. The 3-acre breathtaking garden features more than 300 different species of drought-tolerant ornamentals, cacti, and other desert plants. The garden is open to the public 365 days a year.

Sonoma Brands Launches SMASHMALLOW

SMASHMALLOWSonoma Brands, a consumer products incubator and venture fund founded by Jon Sebastiani, the founder of KRAVE Jerky, is now launching SMASHMALLOW, a premium ‘snackable’ marshmallow brand that will make its exclusive retail launch at Sprouts stores nationwide and is now available on the smashmallow.com website. A broader West Coast launch in other retailers throughout the Pacific Northwest, northern and southern California is slated for November 2016.

Sonoma Brands launched in January 2016 as Sebastiani’s next entrepreneurial endeavor following the acquisition of KRAVE Jerky by The Hershey Company. “At Sonoma Brands, we seek to adapt to ever-changing consumer needs and cravings by invigorating sleepy categories, such as the $36 billion confectionery space,” said Founder of Sonoma Brands, Jon Sebastiani. “As an avid marathon-runner, I’ve often found myself indulging in a marshmallow or two from my cupboard when I needed a sweet fix, as a ‘better-for-you’ and fat-free option. Then on a trip to Paris, I was struck by the fact that bakeries in Europe have decadent marshmallows on display, alongside macarons and other gourmet treats. I knew then that we, at Sonoma Brands, could reintroduce the classic American marshmallow in a fun, delicious and healthier way, taking it far beyond traditional s’mores.”

SMASHMALLOW delivers taste and wow-factor beyond an ordinary marshmallow. The premium on-the-go treat marshmallows are made with organic sugar and all natural ingredients; nothing artificial. SMASHMALLOW ranges from 70-90 calories per servings and is a gluten-free, clean-label indulgence.

SMASHMALLOW comes in seven flavors, including Cinnamon Churro, Strawberries & Cream, Espresso Bean, Mint Chocolate Chip, Toasted Coconut Pineapple, Meyer Lemon Chia Seed and Root Beer Float.

Coming soon to Sprouts stores nationwide, 4.5-ounce SMASHMALLOW bags will be available for a suggested retail price of $3.99.

Salazon Chocolate Company Puts Beer in Chocolate Bar

Organic, salted dark chocolate and pumpkin beer together? Yes, please! Salazon Chocolate Co., a premium chocolate maker known for its line of organic salted dark chocolate bars is launching a new fall seasonal chocolate bar made with Flying Dog Brewery’s The Gourd Standard Pumpkin IPA.

The new fall release, 72% Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Pumpkin Beer (at a suggested retail price of $3.99), incorporates actual ingredients from Flying Dog’s fall seasonal beer, The Gourd Standard Pumpkin IPA, including German Noble Hops, Flying Dog’s custom pumpkin spice blend, and sea salt infused with The Gourd Standard Pumpkin IPA.

“We’ve all seen chocolate paired with wine, but it actually pairs just as well with craft beer,” said Pete Truby, Founder of Salazon Chocolate Co. “And we couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with one of the leaders in creative craft brewing, Flying Dog Brewery, which is also based in Maryland.”

“We view craft beer as an art form and jump on the opportunity to work with like-minded artisans,” Flying Dog Chief Marketing Officer Ben Savage said. “Creativity and commitment to the craft is something Salazon shares with us, and it yielded delicious results.”

The 72% Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Pumpkin Beer bar will be available starting in September at select Whole Foods Markets, Safeway, Earth Fare, MOM’s Organic Markets, New Seasons Markets, and a number of independent natural foods stores and online.

Chocolate Companies Do Good Deliciously

By Lorrie Baumann

Guilt is not among the ingredients for this year’s introductions of specialty chocolates. Along with interesting flavors, chocolatiers are bringing products to the market that have a good story to tell to consumers with a wide range of concerns about which chocolate treat they can enjoy in good conscience.

Chuao Chocolatier’s new Enamored line of organic Fair Trade chocolates in three fruit-forward flavors with floral notes: Raspberry Rose, Coconut Hibiscus and Blueberry Lavender. As their names suggest, Raspberry Rose is made with radiant raspberries sugared with rose petals, Blueberry Lavender is made with blueberries lightly infused with lavender, and Coconut Hibiscus offers creamy coconut with a hint of hibiscus.

The line was created by the brand’s Master Chef and Co-Founder Michael Antonorsi as a tribute to women. “With the Enamored Collection, we wanted to create a product that celebrated ‘you,’ because who you are is enough,” said Antonorsi. “Spreading joy is the intention behind everything we do, and with this new collection we hope to bring a moment of joy to every person who experiences it.”

The Enamored line launched in June, and a percentage of sales goes to Girls, Inc., which shares the brand’s ideals of empowering women. “Girls Inc. is focused on empowering girls to discover their strengths and thrive,” said Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO of Girls Inc. “This includes helping them build confidence and a positive self-image. We are thrilled to partner with Chuao Chocolatier as they launch this new line that celebrates women and inspires them to do just that.”

Chuao Chocolatier’s new line of bars are made with non-GMO ingredients. The suggested retail price is $7.00. For more information, visit Chuao Chocolatier’s booth at the Summer Fancy Food Show or visit www.ChuaoChocolatier.com.

Abdallah Chocolates is at the Summer Fancy Food Show with flavors we’ve seen before from the company, including its Caramel Almond Coconut, Sugar Free Caramel, Pecan Grizzly and English Toffee chocolates. The absence of a new flavor is due to the company’s construction this year of a new 90,000 square foot facility that’s been taking attention away from product development for the past several months, said National Sales Manager Madonna Schmitz.

The company is expecting to move into its new facility late this summer and to have the production lines running by the first of September, she added. For more information, visit the company’s booth at the Summer Fancy Food Show or visit www.abdallahcandies.com.

Sulpice Chocolat is a start-up company that’s sticking with the traditional flavors of a high-quality peanut butter cup but adding a boost of nutrition. A three-piece serving includes 7g of protein and 3g of fiber – attributes we associate more with nutrition bars than with candy, but this is very definitely a treat that feels like an indulgence. “We’re trying to make the candy aisle better for you,” said Anne Shaeffer, half of the husband and wife team that founded Sulpice Chocolat. For more information, call 630.301.2345 or visit www.sulpicechocolat.com.

Laima Chocolates’ Cheese Chocolate is made in Latvia with white chocolate and real cheese. The company also makes a full line of dessert-flavor chocolates, including Creme Brulee, Key Lime Pie and Tiramisu covered with dark chocolate. A 3.5-ounce bar of the Cheese Chocolate retails for $4.99. It’s been sold in the U.S. for many years in ethnic markets, and it’s been more widely offered by Aero-Cos for the past four or five years. Distributed in the United States by Aero-Cos International, the Laima Chocolates products are made by Orkla Confectionery & Snacks.

Heavenly Caramels Coconut Caramels, Pecan Caramels and Vanilla Sea Salt Caramels covered with chocolate are the newest product introduction from Utah-based J. Morgan’s Confections. A 4.2-ounce bag retails for $3.49 to $3.99.

The Heavenly Caramels line also includes several products that aren’t covered in chocolate and that feature flavors you wouldn’t necessarily associate with caramel, including Cinnamon Caramel, Old English Licorice Caramel, Coconut Caramel, Caramel Apple, Vanilla Sea Salt Caramel and Butter Caramel. Each 4.7-ounce bag of these varieties retails for $3.49. For more information, call 801.688.4999 or visit www.jmorganconfections.com.

This story was originally published in the June 2016 issue of Gourmet News.

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