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.”
Viki Sater of Viki’s Foods has figured out how to take her intensely granola granola and turn it into an indulgent snack with her new Granola Bark, which she’s offering in four scrumptious flavors: Banana Walnut Granola with Milk Chocolate; Blueberry Blast, which has white chocolate and blueberry granola; Orange Blast, which has semisweet chocolate and orange granola; and Original, which features dark chocolate with her Original Granola, which includes almonds, pecans and sunflower seeds.
“It’s a snack, and it’s granola, and everybody loves chocolate,” Sater said, after recommending that this is a treat that will make a perfect little break in the day along with a cup of coffee or tea. It’s a little better-for-you and a little indulgent, and Viki’s will be launching it in fall in time to head back to school in lunchboxes or to be served at holiday get-togethers.
Two package sizes will be offered. The single-serving size will retail for about $1.50 to $2, while the larger 4.5-ounce bag will retail for about $5.49. Depending on the retailer, this product can be merchandised in either the candy and chocolate aisle or with the packaged snacks.
DAGOBA Organic Chocolate, an artisan chocolate brand that has been crafting organic chocolate from responsibly-sourced ingredients since 2001, is celebrating World Rainforest Day with a new look, new delicious flavors and a nonprofit initiative to empower women living in communities that source DAGOBA cacao beans.
Sixteen years after it was founded, DAGOBA chocolate remains true to its original mission to craft chocolate that both Tastes Good, Does Good. DAGOBA responsibly sources its ingredients and supports the cacao communities by using only USDA certified organic cacao beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms as well as Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients.
As the brand expands its presence nationally, DAGOBA chocolate has continued to embody its mission by supporting infrastructural, educational and women’s self-empowerment initiatives within cacao communities with the launch of the One for All Cacao Project.
“DAGOBA has always embraced the belief that chocolate has a deeper purpose, and we continue to explore the many ways we can support that purpose as we evolve,” says Susie Picken Burch, Senior Brand Manager for DAGOBA Organic Chocolate. “The One for All Cacao Project allows us to shine a light on the unique challenges and opportunities facing the women who grow and harvest our cacao and recognize their potential to transform their communities. DAGOBA will invest in grassroots programs to support these women, empower them to implement change within their community’s infrastructure and sustain the viability of their village resources.”
The One for All Cacao Project is a nonprofit fund that invests in infrastructure and education while continuing to drive women’s self-empowerment in cacao communities in Peru, Tanzania, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic that source DAGOBA chocolate’s cacao beans. In 2017, the fund will provide resources to the community of San Juan De Cheni, Peru for initiatives specifically identified by the women who live there.
“We’ve had the privilege of meeting with the women of San Juan de Cheni to better understand their challenges and hopes for their community,” says Katrina Briddell, Manager of Philanthropy and Community Engagement with DAGOBA Organic Chocolate. “As a continuation of those conversations, the One for All Cacao Project will invest in a community-led gender and development roadmap that identifies barriers to and opportunities for economic growth. The initiative will host workshops to identify potential solutions that will empower all community members in San Juan de Cheni – especially women – to thrive for generations to come.”
In addition to its commitment to sustainability and women’s empowerment, DAGOBA embraces its legacy as a pioneer of quality, organic chocolate that incorporates unique flavor infusions, blending combinations of fruits, herbs and flowers into rich chocolate to create delightful chocolate experiences.
Four new chocolate bars with crowd-pleasing flavor infusions are available only at Target stores nationwide: DAGOBA Organic Extra Dark Chocolate with 84% cacao, DAGOBA Organic Picante Chocolate with Chilies and Nibs with 74% cacao, DAGOBA Organic Ginger Lime Milk Chocolate with 37% cacao, and the brand’s first white chocolate, DAGOBA Organic Raspberry Mint White Chocolate.
“Our commitment to create strong cacao communities and empower the women who live in them inspired our partnership with Target stores,” said Picken Burch. “Shoppers are sure to find a favorite among these new bars. Even more importantly, they can indulge in each bite knowing that behind each DAGOBA Organic Chocolate bar, there’s a woman transforming her community and protecting cacao farming for future generations.”