In October, 2006 Spangler Candy Company’s manufacturing plant in Bryan, Ohio and its co-manufacturing facility in Juarez, Mexico were both certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. This certification allows Spangler products to be consumed by all who observe kosher dietary laws, as well as by others with special dietary requirements, such as Muslims and Seventh Day Adventists. In addition, certification serves as a guide to millions of individuals who are vegetarians or lactose intolerant that they may consume the product. (All Spangler products made in Bryan and Juarez are kosher except for circus peanuts.)
The results have been exactly what company management had in mind. The addition of the OU symbol on packaging as a result of its Orthodox Union certification has had positive results on Spangler Candy’s flagship brand, Dum Dum Pops®, and paved the way for potential sales to additional consumers with special dietary needs.
“Spangler Candy Company sells products all over the world, and we often hear from consumers asking whether our products are kosher,” explained Pat Hurley, Spangler Candy’s Director of Technical Services and International Sales. “We previously were certified kosher pareve (containing neither meat nor dairy), but the OU symbol takes us to an even higher level. We knew it would be a challenge that would be worth the effort. Now we take calls from consumers who just want to thank us. Retailers – both national and regional — also appreciate that products meet the specific needs of so many of their customers.”
At Spangler Candy Company, eight million Dum Dum Pops® roll off the production lines every day! In 2006, the year of its OU certification, Spangler Candy, makers of Dum Dum Pops® and more candy canes than anyone in the world, celebrated one hundred years in business.
Company products include lollipops, candy canes, and marshmallow circus peanuts. Spangler’s most familiar brand names are Dum Dum Pops®, Dum Dum Chewy Pops™, Saf-T-Pops®, Spangler® Candy Canes and Cane Classics®. Spangler also manufactures, markets, and sells the licensed brand names of Jelly Belly® Candy Canes and Disney® licensed characters on select candy items.
The kosher certification process was not difficult for Spangler Candy. “I found it easy to get our factory certified,” Mr. Hurley said. “Today many of the high-end ingredient suppliers furnish kosher products and it was only a matter of checking our current ingredients to verify that they fit the kosher qualifications. The formats were straightforward and easy to work through.”
Rabbi Mordechai Teren, the Orthodox Union rabbi who supervises kosher production at Spangler, shares Mr. Hurley’s enthusiasm. “Spangler has demonstrated a true interest in doing things right. They are an exceptional company and I have enjoyed working with Pat Hurley and his assistant DaWanda VanBuskirk. They are unsurpassed in maintaining the kosher files and have developed an excellent kosher facility,” he declared.
According to Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran, Senior Rabbinic Coordinator and Vice President of Marketing and Communications of OU Kosher, who works extensively with newly certified companies, “Spangler was fully committed to meeting the OU’s highest standards and cooperated in all aspects of the OU certification process to assure that all requirements were met.” Rabbi Safran noted as well that since becoming OU certified, Spangler has provided its Dum Dum® pops to students of all ages in schools visited by OU Kosher rabbis in the ever- popular “OU Kosher Coming to Schools” program, in which the rabbis go on the road to explain the intricacies of kosher law to highly receptive young audiences.
Spangler management is also highly receptive to the OU message.
“Orthodox Union certification is just one more benefit to our candy items,” said Jim Knight, Director-Marketing at Spangler Candy. “Part of the reason that Spangler Candy Company has been able to stay in business for one hundred years is that we are attentive to the desires and demands of the marketplace. This certification is another means to help us continue to do that.”