VENTURA, CALIF. — The husband-and-wife team behind a new candy brand aims to expand the category with elevated, low-sugar offerings.
With its “welcome back to candy” tagline, Tidbits gummies are formulated with prebiotic fiber and fruit juice, while free from sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners and artificial coloring. A bag contains 4 grams of sugar.
“We’ve created the best better-for-you candy,” said David Vartanian, who co-founded parent company Stealth Health with his wife, Kristi. “From a formulation perspective, we wanted to make sure this product was compliant with the highest standards of natural grocery retailers in the United States. We looked at their banned ingredient lists.”
Whole Foods Market, for example, does not sell products containing hydrogenated fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and certain colors, preservatives and flavors. Tidbits recipes do not incorporate any of these ingredients, nor do they include allulose, which has not been approved for use in the European Union or Canada.
Rather than resembling traditional candies, Tidbits feature a small gumdrop shape.
“We didn’t want to give you a gummy bear, a gummy worm, a peach ring… They’ve all been done,” Mr. Vartanian said. “We don’t want consumers to go into it with an expectation it’s going to taste a certain way only to fail them because it doesn’t taste like the real thing.”
Flavors include acai grape, tropical citrus and wild berry.
“We didn’t want to give you the classic flavors you already know,” Mr. Vartanian said. “We wanted to be mainstream but with an elevated twist.”
The products are available online at Amazon.com and tidbitscandy.com and are slated to roll out to natural grocery retailers soon, Mr. Vartanian said.
Prior to launching the business, Mr. Vartanian co-founded, launched and scaled emerging brands for Constellation Brand Ventures, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s ZX Ventures and PepsiCo Ventures. He began his career with The Hershey Co. in progressive sales roles.
He described Stealth Health as a “permissible snacking platform” that may encompass additional brands and product categories.“We started with candy because it’s an easy one; people know it and like it,” he said. “But we wanted to do it in an undercover healthy way… That’s the big vision for Stealth Health.”