Top Food Trend: Brand Stories

Consumers Want to Know All About the Brands They Buy

Styling and photography by Laurie Mosco

As we put 2020 behind us and enter 2021, one of the top food trends isn’t a particular flavor or regional cuisine according to but rather, the story behind the flavors and regional cuisines. Customers are interested in food products for more than the tastes and textures — they want to buy into a brand and the story. Stay-home orders and changes to the retail climate strengthened consumer’s desire to do business with companies that are investing in positive initiatives to help communities and employees, according to the US Chamber of Commerce.

All this interest in brands’ stories sparked a renewed love for local and USA-made products.  A survey by the Reshoring Institute found that nearly 70% of Americans would prefer to purchase American-made products.  Professional services company Accenture notes that consumers are actively seeking products from local businesses, with 41% wanting to purchase from brands they trust

Customers are looking to connect with products on several levels. They are excited to hear the founder’s narrative, interested in knowing how ingredients are sourced, curious to learn about the culture from which the product originates, and delighted to hear how the company is making the world a little better with charitable donations and responsible policies that help communities and the environment.

Thanks to the newfound curiosity around a brand story, retailers need to be a library of resources to help consumers with their purchasing decisions.  Is the product made using a longtime family recipe? What are the brand’s sustainability efforts?  Are the ingredients ethically sourced?  Is the product American-made or assembled in America from ingredients sourced elsewhere? Knowing these simple tidbits of information could tip the scales for a sale.

Following with the story telling trend, read on to learn Nassau Candy’s story. We’re a family-owned business, proudly producing the finest fruit slices, gourmet chocolate creations, and sweet candy confections right here in the USA.

From Simple Storefront to State-of-the-Art Manufacturing Plant

Nassau Candy began in 1918 as a small, family-owned storefront in Hempstead, New York (on Long Island to be specific, for those of you into geography). For 66 years, we operated as a retail operation. In 1984, our management team purchased a candy and tobacco distributor. In 1987, we jumped into the confectionery making business, purchasing a Long Island-based confectionery manufacturer. We continue to operate as a family-owned business with the second generation of owners proudly serving in leadership roles across all the areas of the business.

A Slice Above the Rest

Our legendary fruit slices are a labor love. Not many manufacturers make them, because the process is quite unique.

The fruit slice journey begins with custom tables where both the “skin” of the fruit slice and the “rind” are cooked and spread separately onto the table to cool. Once the outer portion is cooled, it’s time for the ‘juicy’ center. The “rind” and “skin” sheets are added to a custom mold where the center of the slice (which is cooked separately) is spread on top and left to sit overnight to cure. The fruit slice “loaves” are removed from the molds, coated in sugar and left to cure for 2 days. Then the “loaves” are sliced and coated in sparkling cane sugar and placed on trays. The trays are placed into a hot box for 48 hours to dry leaving them with a chewy center and crunchy sugar coating. From there, it’s on to packaging and then distribution – all handled by our company. We truly are a one-stop shop.

Expert Craftsmanship

While there’s only one way to create our fruit slices (and we’ll never change that), there are many ways we make our expertly crafted chocolate creations. Our Hicksville factory is able to perform a variety of chocolate manufacturing processes like chocolate panning, chocolate molding, chocolate enrobing, and even hand dipped chocolate pieces. We use more than 5 million pounds of chocolate every year. We also create our own caramel, marshmallow, toffee brittle, and marzipan fillings.

Since we produce a large variety of chocolate confections, we’ll focus on just one today – chocolate sea salt caramels.  The caramel centers are made here in-house, cut into squares, and then put on a conveyor belt that coats the bottom of the pieces in chocolate.  The caramel square goes through our “chocolate waterfall,” which coats the top in luxurious chocolate.  Finally, one of our expert chocolatiers hand sprinkles large grain sea salt on each caramel for the finishing touch.

To see more of our manufacturing processes, click here to check out our Factory Fresh story on our Instagram page.

Doing Our Part to Supply PPE

While during the stay-in orders the demand for candy might have slowed for a bit, Nassau Candy was up and running, doing its part to make sure the business and communities we serve were supplied with PPE products like face coverings, gloves, and hand sanitizer.  Through the promotional products arm of our business, NC Custom, we were able to get supply chains and manufacturing up and running quickly to meet the increased demand for these items.  As businesses started to reopen after the shutdown, we were tasked by the Nassau County, New York government to help supply small businesses with PPE products free of charge through a county program.  We’re proud to do our part to help protect essential workers and community members.

Love the Nassau Candy Story? Check out our house-made confections.

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