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January 2011 Volume 176, Number 1
COVER STORY MANUFACTURER PROFILE 18 SERBIA’S TRAILBLAZER
Miroljub Aleksic, Pionir’s president and this year’s 2010 European Candy Kettle Club recipient, has set his sights on making the company the largest confectioner in the Balkans. SPECIAL REPORT 31 GLOBAL TOP 100
Candy Industry’s listing of the leading confectionery manufacturers showcases several acquisitions and mergers, resulting in several larger and more formidable companies. SHOW PREVIEWS 46 UPAKOVKA/INTERPACK SUPPLIER PROFILES
THIS ISSUE ... RC2
4 CANDY INDUSTRY January 2011
Associate Editor Crystal Lindell joins Candy Industry’s editorial staff and shares her confectionery preferences with readers.
Manufacturers of sugar-free candies seek to broaden the category’s audience by offering more Áavors and product types, providing an alternative to those seeking a healthier treat.
Trident’s Vitality threesome, ZonePerfect Cookie Dough bars, a Ginormous Gummi Bear, Ice Breakers Frost mints, Caltrate Soft Chews and Jelly Belly Chocolate-Dipped Jelly Beans are among this month’s featured introductions.
Industry Trends: Sugar-Free Candies
Cover Story: A Giant Step for Candy Giant Eagle looks to set a trend by creating an openair European market for the candy aisle, which includes making a variety of sweet treats on-site.
Contents D E PA R T M E N T S OPENING SHOTS
Power of Persona
Editor Bernie Pacyniak muses about Pionir President Miroljub Aleksic and his leadership abilities in rescuing the company from bankruptcy.
NEWS & ANALYSIS
Roark Capital Group Acquires Atkins Nutritionals
Plus: Whetsone Industries, Imperial Design Technologies forge a new chocolate equipment partnership; AAK USA’s Ed Wilson retires; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recognizes Cargill’s work with cocoa farmers.
Confectioners can tailor their products with sweeteners that meet a broad range of consumer needs, be it natural alternatives or simply sugar-free substitutes.
Kid in a Candy Store
For Joe Zanetos, working in the confectionery family business started at an early age. But the more he did it, the more he liked it. It continues to be his dream job.
6 CANDY INDUSTRY January 2011
Opening SHOTS Kristine Collins
The Power of Persona
particularly in an enterprise where both morale and money are lacking. Take that scenario and intensify it by operating a business in a country that’s slowly disintegrating (the former Yugoslavia) and one better understands the challenges. Follow that up with a civil war, and then a NATO attack, and it’s not easy being sweet, even for a candy man. Although I didn’t spend an enormous amount of time with Aleksic, I did have a chance to talk to people that work for him. This self-made millionaire has, to paraphrase that old Smith Barney commercial, “…made money the old-fashioned way, he’s earned it.” Moreover, Aleksic has done so honorably. Keep in mind that during the breakup of Yugoslavia, it wasn’t difﬁcult to look the other way at somewhat shady business dealings. Naturally, the situation has improved in modern-day Serbia. Still, it’s not perfect and temptations still exist. For Aleksic, self-interest does not replace integrity.
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By Bernie Pacyniak have to admit, upon walking into Miroljub Aleksic’s ofﬁce, I was immediately impressed. Now mind you, I’m not one to be that easily wowed by trappings of power. But not only was the size of the oval ofﬁce (and yes, that’s not a coincidence) overwhelming, but the art that was hanging on the wall proved even more spectacular. An avid art collector, Aleksic — who’s president of Belgrade, Serbia-based Pionir as well as the 2010 European Candy Kettle Club Award recipient — has quietly amassed an impressive collection, many of which hang in several of the company’s production facilities and ofﬁces. I believe his personal collection is worth about half a million dollars. But, as I trust you will ﬁnd out in reading our cover story on Aleksic and Pionir, I’m even more impressed with his turnaround effort of what was once a bankrupt candy company. Ask any turnaround artist in the business world, and they will tell you that it’s not easy changing a mindset and culture,
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Pionir President Miroljub Aleksic chats with Editor Bernie Pacyniak in the lobby of the Hotel Izvor in Arandjelovac, Serbia.
8 CANDY INDUSTRY September 2010
Printed in USA
2011 Kettle Nominees Pierson Clair President & CEO Brown & Haley Co. Tacoma, Wash. Only 16 at the time, Pierson Clair made his ﬁrst batch of chocolate for the Blommer Chocolate Co. in Los Angeles in 1964. It was the beginning of a long love affair with chocolate and candymaking. A graduate of Stanford University in 1970, he joined Blommer that same year and eventually became vice president for the company. In 1998, Clair took on the role of president and chief operating ofﬁcer at Brown & Haley, taking on chief executive duties in 2004. Since his arrival to Brown & Haley, Clair has focused on leveraging the company’s famed Almond Roca brand through a variety of innovative product launches, which has spurred sales and proﬁt growth. In addition, Clair has overseen a multi-million investment effort at the company’s 110,000-sq.-ft. plant in Tacoma to improve efﬁciencies and implement modernization efforts, all of which have lead to nearly a 30% increase in output. A long-time member of the National Confectioners Association (NCA), Clair was the co-author of the Yes on 1107 Initiative on the 2010 voter pamphlet in Washington. He was instrumental in leading the ﬁght this year to repeal Washington State’s food and beverage tax, which proved to be arbitrary and confusing to consumers and candy makers alike. Clair serves on the NCA’s Chocolate Council and is a member of the World Cocoa Foundation. He’s also been involved with the American Association of Candy Technologists as a former section chairman and been an active supporter of the Western Candy Conference, having served as chairman of the association’s program and golf committees for 15 years. A member of the Tacoma Public Liabary Foundation Board, Clair also serves as a board member of the Urban Waters Science Research Center in Tacoma.
Judy Cooley Principal Scientist, International R&D The Hershey Co. Hershey, Pa. Judy Cooley began her confectionery career with the Paul Beich Co. in 1978 as a quality assurance/R&D technologist. From that point on, the Illinois State University graduate had the opportunity to work with a variety of candy companies in quality assurance and/or research and development until she joined The Hershey Co. in 1986. As a key member of Hershey’s research and
10 CANDY INDUSTRY January 2011
development team, Cooley also found time to work with the National Confectioners Association (NCA), and the American Association of Candy Technologists (AACT). In addition to moderating several technical sessions during NCA’s various conferences and spearheading several roundtables, Cooley took on the chairmanship of the association’s Technical Committee during 2002-2005. She continues to remain an active member of that same committee. A long-time member of the PMCA, Cooley has worked tirelessly on various committees as well as participated in the association’s annual production conference, either as a moderator, a session ofﬁcial or presenter. She’s currently a member of the PMCA board of directors, chairs the Conference Program committee and is active in the Student Outreach and Nomination committees. Having presented several papers at the AACT’s annual conferences, Cooley continues to actively support the organization. She received the association’s highest honor, the Stroud Jordan Award in 2009 and serves currently as the 2nd vice president for the National Council. Cooley holds two patents, one in popcorn seasoning and one in breath freshening. Since 2006, she’s acted as “Mother, House Mom and Mentor” to several students from Zurich’s ETH who have been interning at Hershey as well as several young professionals in Japan and China. She received the Hotchkiss Scholar Award from Lake Forest’s Graduate School of Management and holds an MBA with high honors from there.
Dave Drehobl and Rick Drehobl Co-Chief Executives The Georgia Nut Co. Skokie, Ill. Brothers Rick and Dave Drehobl grew up helping their grandmother with her nut roasting and packing company located on the northwest side of Chicago. Working after school and over summer vacations gave them an up-close and personal view of running a business. Later as they were starting their careers, the Drehobls began to take the company in a new direction—candy manufacturing. The Georgia Nut Co. was founded in 1945 by Rick and Dave’s grandmother, Rose Musso, and today it has grown to be one of the largest family-owned panning and enrobing operations in the United States. The company operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility committed to the highest level of food safety and quality systems. Georgia Nut manufactures a full line of chocolate panned, sugar-panned, hot-panned, enrobed, brittle, and nut products. It services a diverse customer base from re-
baggers and bulk candy distributors to international CPG companies. With the fourth generation now starting to enter the business, the company continues its focus on developing solid business partnerships and new product innovation. The Drehobls have remained committed to the confectionery industry, and have opened their doors to numerous industry tours and technical seminars conducted by National Confectioners Association (NCA), American Association of Candy Technologists (AACT), PMCA, and Retail Confectioners International. Rick has served on the NCA board of directors and has been on the Peanut and Tree Nut Processors board of directors for more 15 years. Both are members of the Candy Production Club of Chicago.
Douglas S. Simons Owner and President Enstrom Candies, Inc. Grand Junction, Colo. Doug Simons represents the third-generation of Enstrom’s Colorado-based, family-owned business, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Having worked part time at Enstrom’s while attending Mesa College in the mid 70’s, Simons ﬁrst exposure to the industry was mucking out butter fat that had been tracked into the freezers. He later married Jamee Enstrom and joined the business full time in 1979. Doug spent his formative years in the confectionery industry learning the art of candy making under the watchful tutelage of his father-in-law, Emil Enstrom, and company founder, Chet Enstrom. He then worked his way through every aspect of the business, was named president of the company in 1986 and purchased the business in 1993. Simons was also the ﬁrst in the family to have any formal confectionery training attending the Retail Confectioners International (RCI)’s Candy School in 1982. Simons is credited with turning a “Mom and Pop” business into a competitive, high-quality producer of confections. Under his leadership, two plant expansions have been constructed and he has brought innovation through technological advancements to both mail-order and manufacturing. His quest for innovation eventually lead to the development of cutting-edge machinery to allow for continuous-production of Enstrom’s premiere product, World-Famous Almond Toffee. “Enstrom’s success is due, in large part, to our unyielding commitment to quality” says Simons. “You can sell anyone once, but premium quality products will keep them coming back time and time again”. He is currently the president of the Western Candy Conference and chaired last year’s conference in Hawaii. Simons served as a board member of RCI from 1991-2000 and was elected president in 1999. He also served on the National Confectioners Association (NCA)’s Board of Trustees from 2005-2008.
Art of business
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U.S. Recognizes Cargill’s Work with Cocoa Farmers
he U.S. Chamber Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) has awarded its 2010 International Community Service award to Cargill for its work to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their families in Africa, Asia and South America. “This is a great example of the way Cargill goes above and beyond the call of duty, wherever it does business, and is one of the keys to its success and sustainability,” said U.S. Chamber BCLC Executive Director Stephen Jordan. “Cargill’s support for cocoa farmers illustrates how it does well by doing good. That’s why we’re proud to honor Cargill with the 2010 International Community Service Award.” The International Community Service award recognizes an honoree for contributing to positive economic and social development in a country outside the United States. “We’re honored to have our efforts to raise living standards and strengthen communities recognized by the U.S. Chamber,” said Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive ofﬁcer, accepting the award at the 11th Annual BCLC Corporate Citizenship Awards dinner held Nov. 30, in
Washington, D.C. “We want to acknowlenabling farmer cooperatives to achieve edge, as well, our partners in these efforts. UTZ Certiﬁcation in Cote d’ Ivoire, which Partnering with non-governmental helps small-scale farmers improve agriculorganizations, local governments, custom- tural, environmental and social practices ers and industry magniﬁes our efforts to in cocoa production. enrich rural communities.” Cargill is a major originator and processor of cocoa beans and producer of high quality chocolate. The company is training thousands of farmers in better agricultural practices in Brazil, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia and Vietnam in order to improve incomes and, as the result, the standard of living for farm families. The company currently Cargill CEO Greg Page, center-left, accepts the coordinates 300 Farmer Field International Community Service Award from Jeff Richardson of the Abbott Fund (left) and Stan Schools in Cote d’Ivoire. Harrell of the U.S. Chamber (right). More than 25,000 farmers will participate in various Cargillsupported training programs this year. The UTZ Certiﬁed cocoa program was The efforts will expand to support tens of co-founded by Cargill, along with the thousands of more farmers over coming Dutch development organization, Soliyears as part of a three-year, $5-million daridad, and others in the cocoa sector to commitment to support sustainable cocoa help ensure that cocoa is grown sustainin Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. ably. The Farmer Training Schools are also
AAK USA’s Ed Wilson Retires Ed Wilson, v.p. of sales & marketing for Newark, N.J.-based AAK USA, has retired. Wilson joined the AAK family (originally know as Aarhus Inc.) in September 1992 as a technical service representative, becoming one of the leading experts in the specialty fats and oils industry. He came to AAK after working in the chocolate industry for 15 years and helped establish AAK as a leading supplier to the confectionery industry. Wilson also assisted in the development of AAK as a leader in the food ingredient industry and was the recipient of the American Association of Candy Technologists’ Stroud Jordan award in 2007. With Ed’s retirement, AAK has promoted Dennis Tagarelli to the role of vice president of sales. Tagarelli has a long and established career in oil processing for the food ingredient and confectionery industries. He joined AAK in 2008 as director of sales to Ed Wilson, and has worked tirelessly to transform AAK to a valued added ingredient and service provider for the food industry.
12 CANDY INDUSTRY January 2011
News & Analysis
Consistency you can bank on
Roark Capital Group Acquires Atkins Nutritionals
R I N N O VAT I V E TECHNOLOGY - Can produce masses in a wide variety of consistencies and temperatures - Tight tolerance capabilities for accurate product weights and shapes - High capacity and flexibility - Wide range of product shapes - Customized design
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oark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity ﬁrm, announced last Friday that its afﬁliates have acquired Atkins Nutritionals, a leading international weight control and nutrition brand. Atkins’ management team, led by Monty Sharma, will remain with the business and invested alongside Roark Capital in the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not released. Founded in 1989, Denver, Col.-based, Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. provides the largest and best-known, scientiﬁcally supported, carbohydrate-optimization weight-management program in the world and is the second-largest U.S. weight management brand at retail. The company markets Atkins diet-compliant nutrition bars, shakes and better-for-you confections under the Atkins Advantage and Atkins Endulge brands. “We are very excited to partner with Monty Sharma and his team to help support the continued growth of the Atkins brand,” said Ezra Field, Roark’s managing director. “Atkins is consistent with our strategy of investing in leading consumer businesses with strong brands, differentiated market-positions and identiﬁable growth opportunities.”
HOSOKAWA BEPEX GmbH Daimlerstraße 8, 74211 Leingarten, Germany Tel.: +49 7131 907-0 Fax: +49 7131 907-301 E-mail: [email protected]
At Upakovka/Upak Italia visit booth 1C10, Hall 2 14 CANDY INDUSTRY January 2011
(From l. to r.) K. Korndörfer, former Hosokawa Bepex managing director; H. Kihara, executive director of Hosokawa Micron Corp.; W. Pförsich, Hosokawa Bepex’s managing director; and P. Krieg, Hosokawa Alpine AG’s president, celebrate the opening of Hosokawa Bepex’s Technology Center in Leingarten, Germany.
News & Analysis
S U PP LIER NEWS
Whetsone, Imperial Design Forge Equipment Partnership
ank Whetstone, president of Whetstone Industries USA, and Rex Baker, president of Imperial Design Technologies (IDT), recently announced a partnership to design and manufacture a new range of chocolate enrobing and chocolate moulding machinery. In addition, specialized robotic packing systems will also be offered. “It has been long overdue to supply a quality, domestic-manufactured line of chocolate enrobing equipment for the bakery and confectionery industries,” the two chief executives assert.
IDT, located in Grand Rapids, Mich., has long been a provider for confectionery extruders, chain-driven chocolate moulding equipment, and other related machines to the industry. The new line of St. Augustine, Fla.-based Whetstone Industries’ designs for chocolate enrobing equipment and loose mould, chocolate moulding plants will now provide a natural addition to the IDT existing lines, the executives add. The Whetstone family has a long history in the chocolate confectionery industry relating to both equipment manufacturing and the actual production of chocolate
items for the private label business. These experiences helped in the new designs for sanitary, accessible and operator-friendly equipment. A newly formed relationship between Bainbridge Associates and E. Klein Associates will make up the sales force. Both Bainbridge and Klein are veterans in providing equipment for the bakery & confectionery industries. “Rex and I could not ask for a better way to help promote our new lines of Grand Rapids, Michigan-manufactured equipment to the industry,” adds Whetstone.
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Good ideas need good company
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Trailblazer Miroljub Aleksic, Pionir’s president and this year’s 2010 European Candy Kettle Club recipient, has set his sights on making the company the largest confectioner in the Balkans.
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood, and probably will not themselves be realized.” Daniel Burnham, famed Chicago architect, at the turn of the 20th Century.
By Bernard Pacyniak
iroljub Aleksic didn’t plan on purchasing a confectionery company. Yes, the telecommunications engineer turned banker had a passion for both ﬁnance and production, and was interested in ﬁnding an enterprise worth rescuing. But in 1998 he hadn’t yet decided on what kind of company would meet his criteria for a turnaround in then economially depressed Yugoslavia. Thus, when Aleksic had agreed to his attorney’s request to attend a meeting in Subotica, Serbia, about 180 kilometers north of Belgrade, his primary goal was to see if he could collect on debts Pionir owned his bank. Accompanied by his lawyer, the casually clad entrepreneur was advised to “stay close to the door,” ld b because the meeting most likely would be tempestuous, Aleksic recalls. Having lapsed into bankruptcy, the company’s future hung in the balance. On that day, Pionir’s managers were being grilled by more than 900 angry workers about how they allowed a once-proud and proﬁtable company to go belly up. After 10 minutes of “not so polite” discussions, one of the workers admonished the group for their rudeness, saying there were important guests in the meeting hall, including a banker. All eyes turned to the two individuals sitting toward the back of the room. “Everyone assumed that my lawyer was the banker, since he was dressed in a suit and tie while I was only in jeans and a T-shirt,” Aleksic explains with a wry smile. www.candyindustry.com
Taken aback by the young and casually dressed ﬁnancier, the workers then asked Aleksic what he would do with the management team who had plunged Pionir into a ﬁnancial black hole. Speaking softly to quiet the room, the young banker told them that he would never allow the management team to set foot in the factory again. Asked what he would do to rescue the company, Aleksic went on to say he’d use “shock
therapy,” namely a self-evaluation of all workers in the company by the workers themselves, thereby establishing a cadre of experienced and motivated employees. Inspired by his candor and realism, the workers urged Aleksic to purchase the company and rescue it from bankruptcy. “‘How can I purchase the company without evaluating its assets, brands, debts?’ I told them,” he says. Within minutes, the ledgers were brought out and Aleksic found himself immersed in ﬁgures and facts. On Nov. 22, 1998, Alco Bank, the ﬁnancial institution run by Aleksic, purchased Pionir for 47 million Deutschmarks. There was only one other company bidding on Pionir and it fell well short of Aleksic’s bid.
The purchase set off a three-year turnaround program, one whereby the company was “reconstructed, refurbished and re-equipped” and transformed into Serbia’s leading confectionery company. Determined to make a go of Pionir, a company many of his ﬁnancial counterparts called a lost cause, Aleksic literally moved his ofﬁce to Subotica, living and working there ﬁve, six, even seven days a week at times. He trimmed the number of employees from 934 to 500, employing the self-evaluation process mentioned earlier. “I had looked at the company, which was founded in 1917,” he explains. “It had a few good brands, a very skilled, hard-working and disciplined labor force and weak competition. If I couldn’t make Pionir a better confectionery company than what was there in the market, I might as well ﬂush it all down the toilet.” Giving himself two to three years, Aleksic applied a simple philosophy to the turnaround process, one he says works for all enterprises. “You need to have a good organization, you need to estimate the opportunity, take advantage of the opportunity by being braver than your competitors and then simply execute,” he says. In the end, it’s all about taking the risk and having the courage to act out one’s convictions, Aleksic asserts. And like Burnham, he didn’t make any small plans. Having rescued Pionir from bankruptcy, Aleksic has now set his sites on making January 2011 CANDY INDUSTRY 19
(L. to r.) Zoran Boganovic, production manager at Pionir’s Subotica facility, checks on production of Lovely dessert products as Krsto Kerlec, production manager – chocolate, does a spot inspection of weights.
Pionir the leading confectionery company in the Balkans. During the past four years, the company has invested 104 million euros in infrastructure and production technology, installing six new production lines: hard candy depositing; snack and energy bars; a chocolate bar moulding line; a specialty marshmallow line; a wafer line; and a biscuit/cracker line. Several other production lines, such as an automatic panning and specialty baking line are in the process of either being installed and/or are on the drawing boards. In the end, Pionir has embraced automation and technology in a manner few other companies can compare. Perhaps what’s even more amazing is that this spending spree has come at a time when most companies have deferred investments and cut back R&D spending. But as he demonstrated at that fateful
meeting 12 years ago, and in the years that followed, Aleksic doesn’t believe in waiting on the sidelines. His push behind investments in technology and automation go beyond simply improving quality, enhancing efﬁciency and boosting outputs, although all those are part of the payback. The monies spent go back to Aleksic’s philosophy of maximizing the opportunity quickly and intelligently. As Zoran Bogdanovic, production manager at Pionir’s Subotica facility, the largest of four plants in the company’s network, points out, “We want to be the ones setting the benchmark for others. We don’t want to follow Kraft, Nestle, Ferrero. “Currently, the market in Serbia is in transition, especially since the borders have been opened to free trade,” he continues. “Our goal is to set standards for
our competitors by offering better value, more variety. It’s the marketplace that challenges us.” As a full-line confectionery company, Pionir carries a broad portfolio of products, more than 200 items encompassing four major segments: biscuits, candies, desserts and chocolates. In candies, which accounts for 37% of the company’s total volume, Pionir produces a broad range of hard candies, ﬁlled fruit candies, toffees and gummies. With such famed brands as Negro, Menthol and Karamela Lesnik, the company holds a commanding 58% share of the candy segment. Its recent launch of Look multiﬂavored (Strawberry & Cream, Caramel & Cream and Cherry & Cream) swirl hard candies stems — in part — from the company’s investment in a new Candymaster
The Lovely dessert items begin with a biscuit base topped with a fruit dollop, followed by a marshmallow crown, which is then enrobed in chocolate and decorated with a white chocolate drizzle.
20 CANDY INDUSTRY January 2011
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ALMOND BRAN See how this high potency ingredient compares to whole almonds. Almond Bran contains: • Less than half the fat • Nearly 4 times the dietary Ƥber • More than 13 times the antioxidant capacity • About 3 times the calcium Visit www.Nut-trition.com for more detailed information on this innovative new almond product. Product of the USA. Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Nut-trition, Inc. products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
New functional Ƥber can be used in a wide variety of confectionery applications. Almond Bran is 100% almond skins. Because many healthful beneƤts of the almond are due to substances found in its outer skin, Almond Bran provides many of these healthful beneƤts — with less than half the fat. Almond Bran adds insoluble Ƥber, natural color and a mild nutty ƪavor to all types of confections, cakes, bars and other products. It binds easily with fruit concentrates, nuts, grains and other ingredients; and can be easily formed into a nut-like bit that is useful in reducing both cost and fat calories associated with whole-nut ingredients. Almond Bran can provide antioxidant, anti-inƪammatory, and heart-healthy beneƤts for snack food formulators seeking to create nutrition-dense products that provide more than just between-meal energy.
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hard candy depositing line supplied by Sollich and Chocotech. The push toward new product development parallels the company’s intense investment policy, with 40 new products having been launched in 2010. Recognizing that its broad range of products enables the company to target consumers from the youngest to the oldest, Pionir has emphasized development of confections that meet market and consumer needs. One of its most ambitious launches, Lovely, integrates new technology and innovation into an affordable and decadent
sales (80%) cover countries within former Yugoslavia, but do encompass a total of 31 nations within Western Europe, North American, Eastern Europe and Russia. Conscious of the growth in premium chocolates in mature global markets, as well as its emergence in Serbia and the Balkans, the company just recently launched the Diamond line featuring ﬁve chocolate varieties: 65% Cacao Dark Chocolate; 65% Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs; White Chocolate with Cinnamon & Ginger; Milk Chocolate with Almond and Honey Crispy; and Milk Chocolate. Not so coincidently,
healthy and better-for-you confections and snacks. And while Aleksic recognizes that not every new product launch succeeds — as he says, “Every bullet doesn’t kill.” — he’s conﬁdent that enough shots will hit their target. “Perhaps 15 out of 60 survive,” “Aleksic says. “But we’re in a different position than the multinationals. We’re operating in a smaller market, say 600 million consumers. We can take the risks.” Moreover, those risks are delivering on the rewards. The new brands haven’t been shooting blanks; they’ve generated
A Sollich Conbar line, also at the Subotica plant, produces a variety of snack and energy bars. Here, the mass is fed into a roller former, cooled, separated into strings and then cut into bars.
dessert item. Featuring a biscuit base that’s topped with a fruit dollop (orange, strawberry or apricot) and a marshmallow crown that’s enrobed in chocolate, the new product was enthusiastically embraced by consumers throughout Serbia. More importantly, the product has universal appeal, Aleksic explains. “When we presented the Lovely product in April to our U.S. buyer, he virtually purchased all production capacity we had for the item,” he says. As it stands, Lovely’s sophistication and price point has great appeal to the export market, a segment that’s critical to the company’s future growth and success. Currently, exports comprise nearly 70% of Pionir’s sales, which topped €80 million in 2010. The bulk of those export 22 CANDY INDUSTRY January 2011
the Diamond line is being produced on the company’s new Knobel moulding line, another one of the four major lines installed this year. The Diamond line launch dovetails with a broad-based media campaign involving television, print, outdoor billboards (present throughout Belgrade), radio and point-of-purchase. Another major marketing campaign that coincides with another new product launch is Vitanova, an energy snack bar that has Serbian swimming champion Nadja Higl as its spokeperson. The Vitanova energy snack bars, available in corn and apricot as well as corn and raisin varieties, represent another push by Pionir to take advantage of emerging global trends, such as
a 20% sales increase. As a recent treatise published in the Czech journal Perspectives of Innovations, Economic & Business detailed, Pionir was the most successful of three leading Serbian companies in launching new products. It placed 85% of its products, giving it a 70% cost effectiveness percentage. According to the survey conducted by authors Victorija Bojovic, Ljubomir Pupovac and Maja Strugar, of the nearly 55 products developed, 45 made it onto market shelves. From those 45, 40 became part of the existing product mix. Expect more to come, albeit at a somewhat slower pace, next year, say Pionir marketing and production teams. Current projections call for Pionir to roll out more than 30 new items for 2011. www.candyindustry.com
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For product information or to request a catalogue, talk to your Callebaut sales representative or go to callebaut.com. If you are inspired by chocolate and would like ideas and tips, contact the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy at 800-225-1418 or visit chocolate-academy.com.
At a Glance Pionir d.o.o. Headquarters: Belgrade, Serbia Plants: Subotica (candies, chocolates, desserts, biscuits); Zemun (extruded, coated snacks); Paracin (wafers, cookies, crackers); and Hissar (Chocolates, pralines, desserts, jams and marmalades) Employees: 866 Sales: €80 million ($133 million) Output: 32,000 tons Products: Hard candies, fruit-Àlled candies, toffees, gummies, chocolate bar, pralines, snack and energy bars, biscuits, wafers, cookies, Swiss roll cakes, specialty dessert products, snack crackers, jams and marmalades. Product Mix: Candies – 37%; chocolates – 23%; biscuits – 21% and desserts – 19%. Brands: Pionir, Look, Menthol, Karamela Lesnik, Diamond, Galeb, Kidy, Mony, Lesnik, Choco O’clock, Vitanova, Lovely, Medeno Srce (Honey Cake), Rola la!, Choco Ola la!, Negro, Minjon, Picanto, Mania, Sun Mill, and Napolitanka. Management team: Miroljub Aleksic, president, Zoran Denic, sales manager; Branimir Kopilovic, investments manager; Radisa Nikolic, director; Slavica Jovanovic Kunji, marketing manager; Ildiko Kovac, export manager; Ljiljana Lalic, R&D manager; Zoran Bogdanovic, production manager - Subotica
(From top to bottom) At the Paracin, Serbia facility, a Hebenstreit wafer line turns out a wide range of wafer products while an Imaforni biscuit/cracker line produces both confectionery and snack items.
24 CANDY INDUSTRY November 2010
In doing so, the company looks to target Eastern Europe and Russia for a major export initiative. Aleksic also told Candy Industry that he plans to enter the German market with a new line of Swiss roll cakes and a new specialty marshmallow product. He’s conﬁdent that the products will capture consumer interest with the same mixture of “rafﬁné” and value that underscores Pionir’s ongoing transformation. It also ties in with the company’s continuous improvement program that’s prevalent in all four plants. In addition to the Knobel chocolate moulding line installed for the Diamond launch, the Subotica facility had three additional lines put in: a Sollich Conbar line for energy and snack bars; a Chocotech marshmallow line for Lovely production, and an Imaforni Swiss roll line. In Paracin, the company put in a Hebenstreit wafer line and an Imaforni biscuit/cracker line while the Zemun facility is in the process of starting up a new Dumoulin automated panning system designed to produce another new line of confections, Choco Herz, Choco Pearls and Choco Cubes. www.candyindustry.com
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Having overseen the installation of four new lines in 2010 in Subotica, Bogdanovic’s goals for 2011 revolve around three key points: reducing energy costs, reducing the amount of handwork in packaging, and launching new products. “We’re looking to realize energy savings through improved monitoring of our usage,” he says. “In addition, we want to better manage and optimize our water consumption.” As far as automating packaging, the company looks to install primary robotic systems on the Lovely line as well as secondary packaging investments such as carton-erecting and carton sealing equipment. Several of the new product introductions planned in 2011 revolve around product extensions for the successful Lovely, Diamond, Look and Vitanova debuts. “With Lovely, we’ll be introducing a
new variety that includes a sour cherry placed atop the fruit ﬁlling,” Bogdanovic says. As for Diamond, there will be new varieties added to the brand, some with inclusions involving hazelnuts, almonds and other ingredients. Here, too, Pionir beneﬁts from its production network as well as it being a subsidiary of the Alco Group. For example, at Zemun, cereal items are shipped to Subotica for the production of energy and snack bars as well as for use as inclusions in chocolate bars. Biscuit bases produced in Paracin are also shipped to Subotica while compound coatings, chocolate and creams manufactured in Subotica are transported to Paracin. And fruit ﬁllings made in Hissar ﬁnd their way to Subotica. Another synergistic complement of being part of the Alco Group involves two important subsidiaries: Tipoplastika,
which fabricates and prints packaging material; and Cobex, which procures raw materials, such as cocoa, sugar, milk powder and other ingredients critical to confectionery production. Both subsidiaries have proven critical in helping Pionir remain competitive and innovative. They also play an integral role in Aleksic’s self-fueling growth vehicle for Pionir. “Thanks to lower ingredient and packaging costs, we’re able to plough our proﬁts back into the company, which allows us to invest in new lines and develop new products,” he explains, illustrating the concept on a yellow note pad. He then looks up and shares some proprietary information with the reporter about plans for the future. Indeed, Aleksic’s conﬁdence underscores his ambitions for Pionir. Again, he’s made no small plans.
(Clockwise) At Subotica, a Sollich Candymaster unit conveys Look swirl cream hard candies toward packaging. Members of the European Candy Kettle Club inspect hard candy production. Honey Hearts come off the baking line, cool and then head toward a Ilapak bagger capable of handling 150gram pouches at a rate of 100 per minute.
26 CANDY INDUSTRY January 2011
Kettle Award ECKC RECEPTION
month before the gala reception for the 2010 European Candy Kettle Club (ECKC) reception on November 26, 2010, an army of workers were working frantically, putting the ﬁnishing touches on the newly built hotel and spa, the Hotel Izvor in Arandjelovac, Serbia. Everything came together, however, as the hotel hosted hundreds of guests, including the Prime Minister of Serbia, Mirko Cvetkovic. The attendees enjoyed an evening of ﬁreworks, local Serbian folk music, a sumptuous buffet dinner and dancing past midnight in honor of Miroljub Aleksic, president of Pionir and the 2010 ECKC Award recipient. Prior to the reception, members of the ECKC as well as representatives from Candy Industry’s Kettle Committee attended a welcome dinner for Aleksic and members of his management team at Palich Lake near Subotica, Serbia. On the day following the reception, the ECKC and American Kettle Committee members toured the St. George Church in Topola, which towers atop Oplenac Hill and houses the tombs of 22 members of the royal Karadjordjevic family, as well as the Aleksander winery.
Miroljub Aleksic, president of Pionir, proudly holds up the European Candy Kettle Club (ECKC)’s 2010 Kettle Award.
Members of the ECKC are formally introduced at the reception. (Visit www. candykettleclub.eu for a complete members list.)
Necdet Buzbas, representing Marat Ulker, chairman of Yildiz Holding and the ECKC 2004 recipient, congratulates Aleksic and the Pionir company.
28 CANDY INDUSTRY January 2011
Francois Adele, president of the ECKC and managing director of Dumoulin, presents Aleksic with the Kettle Award.
Dee WakeÀeld, vice president of the ECKC and European marketing manager for Candy Industry, explains the history of the award to guests.
(Clockwise) Pionir’s management team at the Thursday night reception at Palich Lake. Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic, Miroljub Aleksic and Vlada Gajic, mayor of Arandjelovac, await the formal ribbon-cutting of the newly opened Hotel Izvor. Guests join in the celebration and show off a few dance moves. The ECKC and American Candy Kettle representatives tour St. George church in Toplana, Serbia. Jim Bourne (left), president of Hillard’s Chocolate System and member of Candy Industry’s Kettle Committee member, together with his wife, Sandy, share some travel stories with Editor Bernard Pacyniak. An overview of the spa and pool area in the Hotel Izvor, part of the Alco Group properties.
30 CANDY INDUSTRY January 2011
Sweet beginnings By Crystal Lindell Associate Editor
ello candy world! My name is Crystal Lindell and I’m the new associate editor for Candy Industry magazine. I’ll be overseeing the Retail Confectioner section, while also contributing to the weekly e-newsletter. My ﬁrst impression is that this job is going to be pretty sweet. I’ve been a journalist for about ﬁve years, but this will be my ﬁrst gig at a magazine. Before this, I wrote mostly for daily newspapers throughout the Midwest, including stints in Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin and the Chicago suburbs. I’m looking forward to switching out late-night school board meetings for candy conventions and house ﬁres for new product write-ups. I’m 27 years old, which the Internet tells me makes me a Millennial. I remember the world before Google could answer all my questions, but just barely. I like Twitter, text messaging and status updates. I sleep next to my Droid X cell phone, I think watches are for fashion only, and I impulsively buy a candy bar every time I’m in the check-out line. Also, the ﬁrst year it was invented I signed up for Facebook, where I currently have 396 friends, about 250 pictures, and countless detailed status updates. I’m happy to see that companies RC2 RETAIL CONFECTIONER November 2010
are ﬁnally harnessing my generation’s love for sharing too much information. Everyone I’ve ever met – from my college roommate to my mom – now knows that I “LIKE” Target, Pretzel M&Ms, and the Zac Brown Band. Moreover, as the web makes it easier and easier to make brand recommendations, the marketing powers behind it become more and more evident.
always gone back to is the timeless Fannie Mae Trinidad. Something about that yellow candy coating with the smooth chocolate inside makes them a little bit like heaven mixed with rainbows and awesomeness. When Fannie Mae almost went out of business a few years ago, I went through all the stages of grief. “Surely there’s been a mistake! Fannie Mae can’t close!” Then, “Stupid shoppers! Why aren’t they buying those Mint Meltaways!” And then, “Maybe I could scrape together some money and buy the company myself!!” That was closely followed by a lot of crying. Luckily, I never had to get to the “acceptance” stage because Alpine Confections swooped in and saved the day! Of course, now they are run by 1-800-Flowers, but as long as I can ﬁnd them every time I go to the grocery store or when I pass their shop at the mall, I don’t really care who distributes them. I can’t wait to get to know everything there is to know about confections by working here. And don’t worry, I’m more than willing to taste test if that’s what the job calls for. It’s a rough life, but I think I’ll manage.
The one candy in my life that I have always gone back to is the timeless Fannie Mae Trinidad. I should have always known I’d end up at a confectionery magazine. Back in the day, I was a master trick-or-treater, going up and down blocks and blocks and blocks of neighborhoods streets, come rain, or snow, or sleet, to get candy that somehow tasted earned. Seeing as I’m how I’m a woman and all, I obviously favor chocolate above all else, but Pixy Stix and Fun Dip also have a special place in my heart. I’ve gone through my Twix phase, my M&M’S phase, and my SNICKERS’ phase, but because I’m a native of Chicagoland, the one candy in my life that I have
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“34 degrees whole grain crackers” 34° Crispbread, Denver, Colo. www.34-degrees.com 1-303-861-4818
Touted as the ideal complement to cheeses, salads and soups, these single-serving cracker snack packs are available in Natural and Whole Grain varieties. These wafer-thin crackers are baked without oil and made from a handful of natural ingredients. Each snack pack contains eight to 10 crackers packaged in a protective cardboard sleeve and enclosed in a moisture-proof ﬁlm. Ingredients: (Whole Grain) Whole wheat ﬂour, natural cheese ﬂour, salt. S.R.P.: 89 cents for a 0.5-oz. snack pack
Trident Vitality’s Threesome Kraft Foods Inc. Northfield, Ill. 1-800-524-2854 www.kraftscompany.com
The newly launched Trident Vitality line features three feel-good ﬂavors: Vigorate, Rejuve and Awaken. The new ﬂavors add a little piece of delicious well-being to the gum-chewing experience, with Vitamin C, ginseng or white tea infused into each delicious piece. Vigorate contains a burst of citrus and strawberry, delivering 10% of the daily value of Vitamin C. Rejuve offers a refreshing blend of luscious mint and white tea, while Awaken provides consumers with a peppy peppermint that features a dash of ginseng. The innovation of new Trident Vitality goes beyond ﬂavor, incorporating sleek and stylish packaging that features a unique, fun “click” when open or closed. Additionally, the packaging is a full box, with a blister pack inside, and conveniently closes to ensure the blister pack does not slip out. This is unlike traditional blister packaging, which is cut open on both sides. Ingredients: Isomalt, gum base, syrup, maltitol, natural and artiﬁcial ﬂavoring, sorbitol; less than 2% of acacia, acesulfame potassium, aspartame, candelilla wax, glycerin, sodium ascorbate(vitamin C), soy lecithin, sucralose, titanium dioxide (color), xanthan gum, Yellow 5 Lake and Yellow 6 Lake. Phenyketonurics: Contains phenylalanine. S.R.P.: $1.29 for a single-pack and $2.89 for a three-pack. RC4 RETAIL CONFECTIONER January 2011
Zone Perfect Cookie Dough Bars Abbot Labs, Abbot Park, Ill. www.zoneperfect.com 1-800-390-6690
ZonePerfect Cookie Dough Bars are the ﬁrst-ever soft, chewy cookie dough nutrition bars offering antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as well as protein. A creative blend of taste, texture and nutrition, ZonePerfect Cookie Dough bars contain 17 vitamins and minerals and are rich in antioxidants (vitamins C & E, and selenium). Cookie Dough bars have 170-190 calories per serving and provide a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to help satisfy snackers on the go. They are available in three ﬂavors: Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Raisin. Ingredients: (Oatmeal Raisin) Brown rice syrup, corn syrup, sodium caseinate, rolled oats, raisins, soy protein isolate, oatmeal cinnamon streusel (brown sugar, unbleached and unenriched wheat ﬂour, oats, palm oil, cinnamon, salt, sodium bicarbonate, natural ﬂavor, nutmeg emulsion), fructose syrup, whey protein isolate, yogurt-ﬂavored coating (sugar, palm kernel oil, nonfat dry milk solids, yogurt powder [cultured whey protein concentrate, cultured skim milk, yogurt culture], soy lecithin, salt, natural ﬂavor), roasted soybeans, butter powder (butter [cream,salt], nonfat milk, tocopherols, ascorbyl palmitate), glycerine, pasteurized whole egg powder, brown sugar. Less than 2% of the following: natural ﬂavors, high oleic safﬂower oil and/or high oleic sunﬂower oil, salt. Vitamins and minerals: Calcium phosphate, ascorbic acid, d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, magnesium oxide, niacinamide, zinc oxide, calcium pantothenate, ferrous fumarate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin A palmitate, riboﬂavin, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, chromium chloride, biotin, sodium selenite, sodium molybdate, cyanocobalamin. S.R.P.: $1.53 for a 45 g. bar www.retailconfectioner.com
Extraordinary Belgian Chocolate Now...Widely Available
Chocolate-Dipped Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
Jelly Belly Candy Co., FairÀeld, Calif. www.jellybelly.com 1-800-323-9380
The newly launched Jelly Belly Jelly Bean Chocolate Dips come in ﬁve ﬂavors: Very Cherry, Raspberry, Strawberry, Coconut and Orange. Moreover, each Chocolate Dip contains just less than four calories. The Jelly Belly Jelly Bean Chocolate Dips are glutenfree, gelatin-free and certiﬁed OU Dairy Kosher. Ingredients: Corn syrup, dark chocolate (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, milk fat soy lecithin [an emulsiﬁer], vanilla), sugar, modiﬁed food starch, citrus pectin, natural & artiﬁcial ﬂavors, citric acid, lactic acid, sodium citrate, confectioner’s glaze, coconut oil, black carrot concentrate (color) carrot concentrate (color). S.R.P.: 2.8-oz. bag is $1.99.
Ginormous Gummi Bear Taste of Nature, Santa Monica, Calif. 1-310-396-4433 www.candyasap.com and www.sharicandies.com
Imagine a massive half-pound gummi bear on a lollipop type stick! Each Ginormous Gummi Bear is approximately 100 times larger than an ordinary gummi bear. Available in two ﬂavors, Strawberry & Blue Raspberry and Cherry & Green Apple, the gummi bears are packaged in a blister pack that is also peggable. “We are very excited about the launch of our Ginormous Gummi Bear,” says Scoot Samet, copresident of Taste of Nature, Inc. “Now people who love gummi bears have a new way to eat them in a unique, delicious and fun format!” Samet points out that the giant gummies are the “perfect combination of ﬂavors and best of all they come on a stick so they can be enjoyed like a lollipop.” Ingredients: Corn syrup, gelatin, dextrose, sorbitol, citric acid, maltodextrin, artiﬁcial ﬂavor, vegetable oil, carnuba wax, artiﬁcial color (FD&C Red 40, FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C Blue 1). S.R.P.: 8-oz package ranges between $3.99 and $4.99.
Milk Chocolate Crackle Toasted Hazelnut Dufﬂet, Toronto, Canada 1-416-536-1330 www.dufﬂet.com Well, Toronto’s Queen of Cake, the famed Dufﬂet Rosenberg, has reinvented the classic Florentine cookies with her Milk Chocolate Crackle toasted hazelnut product. Winner of several SOFI awards, Rosenberg has come up with another winner with her milk chocolate hazelnut variety. These delicate pieces of textured ﬂavor offer up “crisp, sumptuous and intense” joy, particularly those who love chocolate and hazelnuts. Made without any preservatives, artiﬁcial colors, artiﬁcial ﬂavors or hydrogenated fats and oils, these “small indulgences” modernize a European standard with a bit of Canadian élan. Ingredients: Belgian milk chocolate (sugar, whole milk powder, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural ﬂavor), sugar, hazelnuts, butter, non-hydrogenated vegetable oil shortening (canola oil, palm oil), corn syrup, milk, cocoa, natural ﬂavor, salt. May contain peanuts and/or other nuts. S.R.P.: $9.99 (Canadian) for 150gram box. — Bernard Pacyniak
RC6 RETAIL CONFECTIONER January 2011
Mini Chocolate Pretzels and Banana Split Snack Mix
Caltrate Soft Chews
Tropical Foods, Charlotte, N.C. www.tropicalfoods.com 1-704-588-0400
Product Snapshot: Tropical Foods expanded its Grabeez line of snack products to include mini chocolate pretzels and a banana split snack mix option, which is a blend of roasted salted peanuts, dried pineapple pieces, chocolate chunks, caramel bits, cranberries, banana chips and marshmallow bits. Ingredients: (Banana Split Snack Mix) Peanuts, pineapple, sugar, sulfur dioxide, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, whole milk, soy lecithin (an emulsiﬁer), salt, vanilla, cranberries, citric acid, natural cherry ﬂavor with other natural ﬂavors, elderberry juice concentrate, sunﬂower oil, corn syrup, evaporated non-fat milk, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, whey (from milk), artiﬁcial ﬂavor, bananas, coconut oil, natural banana ﬂavor, dextrose, modiﬁed corn starch, gelatin, artiﬁcial and natural ﬂavor, sodium hexametaphophate, peanut oil. S.R.P.: $1.99 to $2.49 for a 4-oz. bag of pretzels and a 4.5-oz. bag of snack mix
Breaking the Ice with Frosty Mints The Hershey Co., Hershey, Pa. 1-800-468-1714 www.ice-breakers.com
PÀzer Consumer Healthcare, Madison, N.J. 1-888-797-5638 www.caltrate.com
On the heels of the Institute of Medicine’s most recent recommendation for Americans to increase the daily recommended intake of vitamin D as a means of maintaining bone health, Madison, N.J.-based Pﬁzer Consumer Healthcare has launched Caltrate Soft Chews, a tasty and convenient way to help reach the new, higher daily vitamin D goals. Caltrate Soft Chews are available in Chocolate Trufﬂe and Vanilla Creme ﬂavors and can be taken with or without food, offering a portable, nutritious and delicious solution to help get the daily calcium and vitamin D3 needed to stay healthy, active and moving. Two daily Caltrate Soft Chews provide 1200 mg of calcium, roughly the same amount found in 17 servings of broccoli, and 800 IU of vitamin D3, roughly the same amount found in more than 6 servings of vitamin D-fortiﬁed, 2% milk or roughly the same amount of 134 half-cup servings of vanilla ice cream. Ingredients: (Chocolate TrufÁe) Calcium carbonate, corn syrup, sucrose, hydrogenated coconut oil, cocoa processed with alkali, nonfat dry milk, corn syrup solids, glycerin. Contains