May 6, 2008

A Bittersweet Deal for Wrigley

0501_mz_34candy.jpgSelling the family business wasn't William Wrigley Jr.'s plan, but the Mars offer was too good to refuse

That's what Business Week reported this week. Here are some key nuggets from the article:

  • Wrigley had little choice but to sell. The industry is just too competitive, and the Mars/Wrigley combo would give them 14.5% market share and a distribution network in 180 countries. Cadbury, the bane of Wrigley's existence, would now be #2 with only a 10% share.
  • The Mars offer represented a 28% premium over Wrigley's price
  • Things might have been different if Hershey's had accepted Wrigley's offer to sell back in 2002.
  • Under William Wrigley Jr.'s watch, sales climbed to more than $5 billion from $2 billion in 1999--driven by snapping up competitors, stoking product development, and expanding globally.
  • At the press conference, Wrigley said, "It's a challenge because you always think of the generation before you," he said. "But you have to separate yourself from that to make the right decisions."
Photo Illustration by Sean McCabe (Jerry Lai/AP Photo, Bloomberg, PA/Empics, PhotoLibrary)
Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

May 1, 2008

M&Ms #1 & #4 in Ranking of April's Favorite TV Ads

mm-bench043008rr.jpgM&Ms ads (and the candy of course) have been pretty interesting for awhile. And apparently we're not alone in this assessment. IAG Research just put out its monthly Top 10 Most-Liked, Most-Recalled New TV Spots - and two M&Ms ads made the list, and one of those topped it.

Ad Age notes, "There are lots of reasons to like M&M's -- for instance, they melt in your mouth, not in your hands -- but if you were a squirrel in the park, you might have other reasons to be jonesing for an M&M."

The #1 ad: Pink peanut M&M is attacked by squirrels while trying to read a magazine on a park bench. View here

The #4 ad: Blue M&M in a laundromat loses her contact lens; a woman finds it easily due to large size; M&M loses her other contact.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 29, 2008

Hershey's, Cadbury Merger Rumors - Dogs & cats reported living together

1126leannebailey_taz.jpgMore candy merger news - with Mars agreeing to buy Wrigley with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway - the rumors have cropped up about another merger between candy rivals - Cadbury Schweppes and Hershey Co.

People familiar with the matter said the two companies are not in talks now. But Hershey executives Monday were examining potential next steps, and the two could resume talks after Cadbury makes a previously planned move of separating its drinks business from its candy business on Friday, according to one of these people.

More at the WSJ

Image by Leanne Baily

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 28, 2008

Mars & Warren Buffett Looking to Buy Wrigley

Warren+Buffett.gifTwo icons of the U.S. candy business may become one. Chewing gum legend Wrigley and Mars (makers of Snickers and M&M's, in case you live under a rock). The deal is rumored to be at the $22 billion mark, financed by none other than Bershire Hathaway, Warren Buffet's team.

Mars Inc. and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. were close to a pact to acquire Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. for more than $22 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, in a deal that would remake the global confectionery landscape.

According to the WSJ, "a deal could spark further consolidation in the global candy business. Hershey Co. and Cadbury Schweppes PLC, for example, could be forced to merge."

In 2005, Wrigley bought Kraft's Altoids and LifeSavers, for about $1.5 billion, and has also recently purchased a Russian chocolate company.

More than just the impact this merger could have on the global confectionery landscape, this could mean the end to one of two notoriously private and independent companies.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 10, 2008

Avoid Stale Candy from Hershey's and M&M/Mars

Ever get all excited to buy your favorite candy bar at the check out counter, you can't wait to rip it open and dig in, you finally do and all you find is a stale, crumbly, sometimes dry mass of chocolate, nougat or whatever? Have no fear, The Consumerist has filled us in with the magic codes to avoid stale candy from Hershey's and M&M/Mars:

For M&Ms and Mars candy, there's usually a 10 digit code of numbers and letters, but you only need to worry about the first three. The first number is the last number in the year (8 means 2008, 7 means 2007, etc) and the next two numbers stand for the week of the year (so, a number like 804 would be the fourth week of 2008: February 2008)

For Hershey's candy, there's a 2 character code for the month and year. The year is like the other code, with the number being the last number in the year, the second character is a letter that represents the month. A = January, B = February, and so on. So a code like 9A would mean that the candy expires January of 2009.

From The Consumerist via Braindump at rgov.org

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

April 1, 2008

Mom Catches Blue M&M Licking Himself

Awkward...

Need M&M's? Click here.

From AdFreak

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

MyTeam M&Ms Get In On Baseball's Opening Day

MLB_None_Chosen_lentils.jpgCustomized M&Ms aren't a new thing, but this is a fun way to show your team spirit this opening week for the professional baseball season. MyM&Ms is offering customized M&Ms with the logo and colors of your favorite Major League Baseball team.

7oz Bag of MyTeam M&Ms for $12.99

Dispenser with your chosen team's logo and three 7oz bags of MyTeam M&M'S® for $59.99

A ten pound bulk box of MyTeam M&M'S® for $269.99

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

March 17, 2008

Review: Snickers Marathon Energy - When candy brands go healthy

snickers energy.jpgLast week we looked at the PayDay Pro energy bar, and concluded that while it starts out like the PayDay's we know and love, it ends up tasting like a typical energy bar, which is to say it has a chemical/artificial taste. This week we looked at another energy bar from one of our favorite brands, this time it was the Snickers Marathon Energy Bar. Specifically, we tried the Peanut Butter version. The bar's made up of chewy peanut butter on the outside and peanuts, caramel, and chocolate flavored crisps inside. And it has the obligatory protein (14g of soy, peanut, casein and whey) and undisclosed carbohydrates for energy, and 16 vitamins and minerals.

From the get-go, this is an entirely different experience than the PayDay. First, it is a wide, flat bar, the shape you expect from a typical energy bar. Second, it tastes pretty darn good for an energy bar. It does NOT remind you of a Snickers bar, which is the key point. It is an energy bar that happens to be branded Snickers, not a candy bar that has been made healthy, like the PayDay Pro. It makes all the difference. If it looks like a PayDay, initially tastes like a PayDay, but ends up tasting like an energy bar, that's bad for the PayDay brand. But if you have an energy bar that tastes good and happens to be branded Snickers and shares some of the ingredients, its an entirely better eating experience, one that doesn't hurt the Snickers brand. We'd definitely eat this bar again for a pick-me-up. Although we'd just as soon chomp on a real Snickers...

Check out Snickers Marathon products.

Snickers Marathon site

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

March 14, 2008

Dark Chocolate and Raspberry 3 Musketeers Minis

3 musk 1.JPGLooks like for Easter the brand extension beat goes on at M&M/Mars. This time its 3 Musketeers Minis with Dark Chocolate on the outside and raspberry flavored nougat on the inside. They are a "limited edition," which I always figure is another way to say "we're seeing how these sell before making them permanent." But we must say we're intrigued and look forward to trying them out, but imagine they are pretty darn sweet.

Read more at Pegasus News

Looking for more Easter candy? Check out our Easter Candy Buying Guide.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

Review: Munch Bar from Snickers

munchbar.jpg
I have a feeling I'm incredibly late to this game, but I just came across a Munch bar today at the convenience store, so I picked one up. Besides the bold name on the label, the first thing you notice is that it touts only having 6 simple ingredients. Hey, any candy with only 6 ingredients, made by Snickers, has got to have something going for it no? The ingredients, for those interested, are: peanuts, sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt, and soy lecithin. And with its all natural contents, it qualifies as a low glycemic index snack.

So on to the eating. I read the ingredients to my wife before opening the package, and she said, "Hmmm...its peanut brittle." And guess what, she was absolutely right, it is peanut brittle. It is pretty decent peanut brittle though, especially considering its mass produced - I tend to like my peanut brittle made in small batches. The color is lighter than most brittles, not the richer brown you would expect. It bites pretty well, its a little crumbly and "dusty" for lack of a better term. But not bad at all. Although all brittles are full of butter, the Munch bar had more of a distinct butter flavor, almost popcorn buttery.

Overall, it wasn't bad at all. I don't know why but I was a little taken back by the non-brittle branding and packaging of such a classic candy - maybe its the traditionalist in me. I wouldn't get it if you're a brittle snob, but it'll do the trick if you're looking for a sweet peanut fix.

Check out Munch bars here.

Bob Wallace at Permalink | social bookmarking

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