In the confectionery world, a few names stand out in the minds of consumers. Jelly Belly® jelly beans, are among those confections that enjoy worldwide brand name recognition and loyal consumer following. The manufacturer, Jelly Belly Candy Company headquartered in Fairfield, Calif., has switched from another kosher certification to make Jelly Belly jelly beans and all of its confectionery products OU Kosher effective later this summer. This support can only increase with the decision to become OU Kosher.
The company manufacturers more than 100 gourmet confectionery delights and recently acquired the licensed brands Sunkist® Fruit Gems, Sunkist® Fruit Slices and other Sunkist branded confections. All Sunkist licensed brands carried the Orthodox Union’s kosher certification prior to the acquisition.
“When we made the acquisition we felt the OU certification was important to maintain for these really terrific Sunkist licensed candies,” said Robert Simpson, President, Jelly Belly Candy Company. “It was a good match for our company — many people are surprised to learn we make more than one hundred confections in additional to Jelly Belly jelly beans, our flagship brand.”
“Our company had used another kosher certification for two decades for Jelly Belly jelly beans, but in the consolidation of manufacturing for the Sunkist licensed confections, it seemed to be the ideal opportunity to seek OU certification for Jelly Belly beans as well,” Mr. Simpson said.
The company’s gourmet Jelly Belly jelly beans with the OU certification will begin to appear in retail stores later this summer, as will the broad range of quality confections that includes chocolates, licorice, mellocremes, sour candies and confections for the seasons.
“We produce such a large variety of confections and use so many different ingredients that seeing the process through to certification is a significant undertaking. Working together with the Orthodox Union to certify the two manufacturing facilities has been a cooperative effort,” said Michael Bianco, vice president of manufacturing.
“The commitment by Jelly Belly Candy Company to the OU’s highest standards has been evident throughout the certification process, involving cooperation and involvement of all key company officials,” said Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran, OU Kosher’s Vice President of Communications & Marketing and Senior Rabbinic Coordinator.
The company is also rapidly expanding distribution, especially in the international arena. The market for kosher certified products outside the U.S. is growing 15 percent a year. Many consumers choose kosher for religious requirements, while others choose kosher for the higher quality or for a variety of dietary reasons such as allergies, dairy free and vegetarian concerns.
“There is robust international appeal for kosher foods. The acceptance of the OU mark is strong, and we expect to see new opportunities to build our international distribution with the presence of this mark,” said Sharon Duncan, Vice President, Sales, International Division at Jelly Belly.
“Seeing how much time and manpower it takes to produce a single jelly bean has been amazing. The company’s emphasis on quality standards for thousands of ingredients that are needed to produce such a range of flavors is impressive,” said Rabbi Zalman Thaler, the local Orthodox Union representative on the West Coast.
About Jelly Belly Candy Company
The family owned candy manufacturer has been in operation since 1898 and is currently run by the fourth and fifth generations of the candy empire. Known for decades for making Candy Corn, with the creation of Jelly Belly jelly beans in 1976, the company came into worldwide prominence after Ronald Reagan was seen eating them on the presidential campaign trail in 1980. Jelly Belly beans were soon being given to international diplomats and became the first jelly bean in space when they were sent up with the space shuttle Challenger. The company currently makes 50 Official Flavors, the largest selection on the market, plus 100 other gourmet candies including jells, gummies, chocolate covered treats, and seasonal sweets for the major holidays. Headquartered in Fairfield, Calif., the company operates two plants in California and Illinois.