SAN FRANCISCO — The company behind Hammond’s Candies, a nearly 100-year-old brand known for its whimsical and innovative confections, is forging into the snack aisle with a new platform called Mellow Snacks. Over time, products may include sweet or savory varieties of popcorn, granola and chips, but the first launch is Mellow Fluffs, a line of snacking marshmallows.
“Hammond’s in general is very much known as a nostalgic candy manufacturer,” said Andrew Schuman, president and chief executive officer of Denver-based Hammond’s Brands, in an interview with Food Business News. “Our growth has been fueled by reinventing ourselves and bringing new product segments to the market that have made us more relevant year-round with things like caramel corn and popcorn and chocolate bars and cotton candy…
“But when you look at where food consumption is going, there is a lot of consumer focus on better-for-you. Snacking is growing at a crazy rate. As a company, how do we get into those segments that are seeing massive growth as another channel for us to continue at the growth rate we want to see?”
Marketed as a lower-calorie sweet snack, Mellow Fluffs will debut with six flavors: toasted coconut, birthday cake, vanilla bean, key lime, snickerdoodle and mocha latte. The line was unveiled at the Winter Fancy Food Show, held Jan. 22-24 in San Francisco.
“Every flavor has under 100 calories per serving,” Mr. Schuman said. “We feel this is going to translate with consumers as being a fun, sweet snacking type segment that we’re bringing to the market.”
In addition to Mellow Fluffs, Hammond’s Brands is introducing three chocolate bars. The Fortune Cookie bar features dark chocolate with cookie bits, plus a secret fortune and lucky numbers inside the wrapper. The Midnight Snack bar combines pretzels, cookie, cereal, marshmallow and brittle in milk chocolate. Cinnamon Churro has milk chocolate with cinnamon and a vanilla glaze filling. The new flavors join a lineup that includes Red Velvet Cake, Grasshopper Pie, PB&J Sandwich and Pigs N’ Taters, which has bacon bits and potato chips.
“Any employee can walk into the office and say, ‘Hey, I have a great idea,’” Mr. Schuman said. “In fact, someone else other than the product development team came up with Grasshopper Pie.”
The company also has revamped its line of Brittle Crisps with new branding and new packaging sizes, plus two new flavors: hickory smoked almond and cinnamon apple walnut. These join such varieties as coconut and spice, dark chocolate drizzle and sea salt and caramel drizzle.
In addition to product innovation, Hammond’s Brands is evaluating the marketplace for acquisitions. In recent years, the company acquired Old Dominion Peanut Co. and McCraw’s Candies.“We’re a company that will grow through new product launches, and we’ll also grow through acquisitions,” Mr. Schuman said. “That’s our goal moving forward.”