Jelly Belly sees opportunities in organic

by Keith Nunes
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Jelly Belly organic jelly beans
The Jelly Belly Candy Co. debuted its new organic jelly beans at the Winter Fancy Food Show.

SAN FRANCISCO — The introduction of organic jelly beans by the Jelly Belly Candy Co. may only be the first step as the company seeks new opportunities. The new product made its debut during the Winter Fancy Food Show taking place Jan. 17-19 in San Francisco.

Rob Swaigen, Jelly Belly
Rob Swaigen, v.p. of global marketing for Jelly Belly

“The organic marketplace has been growing consecutively during the last 10 years,” said Rob Swaigen, vice-president of global marketing. “It is a space we are not in and it’s an opportunity to reach new consumers.”

There are differences between organic and conventional Jelly Belly beans. For starters, the colors of the organic beans are not as vivid as the conventional counterparts.

“All of the ingredients are derived from natural, organic sources and that did affect some aspects of development,” Mr. Swaigen said. “This is a pectin-based bean and it does have a slightly different mouthfeel than our other beans.”

Development of the organic variety has been under way for the past eight months. Ironically, Mr. Swaigen said product formulation was not the biggest challenge the company faced during development.

“We had to get our Chicago plant certified organic,” he said.

Jelly Belly is not limiting itself to just organic jelly beans. As it worked to get organic certification at the Chicago plant, the company also invested in new equipment that will process a fruit-flavored snack line.

“We’re looking at a whole organic line for us,” Mr. Swaigen said.

Noting that organic foods have broad appeal, Mr. Swaigen said the new products will be made available in all markets and channels.

Jelly Belly organic fruit snacks
Jelly Belly also invested in new equipment that will process an organic fruit-flavored snack line.

“This will be relevant wherever we sell Jelly Belly,” he said. “We probably have less natural, specialty stores and now we have this. But this product has been developed to go well beyond the natural food channel. Everything is line priced for our grab-and-go line. We recommend retailers place the product in the candy aisle rather than if they have an organic food aisle.”

The new organic product comes in 10 flavors, including apple, berry, blueberry, cherry, coconut, lemon, orange, peach, pear and strawberry. There is also a sour flavor assortment that features such flavors as apple, cherry, lemon, orange and berry.

The organic fruit flavored snacks are available in bags with a mix of six flavors, including strawberry, berry, lemon, apple, orange and cherry.

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