​Carmit Candy Industries says its new fortified confectionery offers health supplements in a tasty format.


 A healthy lollipop


By Sarah Carnvek 
Need to keep your weight in check? Eat a wafer bar. Looking to strengthen your bones? Try a chocolate coin. Want to build up your immune system? There’s a toffee waiting to be chewed. It’s every sweet tooth’s fantasy: An Israeli candy manufacturer has developed a new line of functional confectionery products for specific health indications. 
Carmit Candy Industries presented its new line at the recent Natural Products Expo West in California.  
“We have made an investment to expand our reach in the fortified confectionery and supplement markets,” says Carmit CEO Steve Grun.
 “This is a natural progression for us, after successfully developing and launching innovative products in the global gluten-free confectionery market. The fortified confectionery market is a strategic direction for us and we hope to further establish Carmit as a leading private-label manufacturer for value-added and healthy confectionery products.” 
Carmit is one of Israel’s largest candy makers, with sales of some $35 million a year across the globe. Most of its products — colorful and differently shaped marshmallows, lollipops, toffees, chocolate, sticker coins and bars — are developed and manufactured under private label for other companies.  
"Today we’re one of the biggest chocolate coin manufacturers in the world," says Grun. "We have great partners all over the world selling our product." The new fortified candy line was designed to answer specific health needs of targeted demographics: baby-boomers, teens and children. 
While Carmit’s name does not appear on the packaging, the country’s name is always somewhere on the wrapper. 
"Our products are sold all over the world and on all of our products it says ‘Made in Israel’ or ‘Product of Israel.’ That’s something we can be proud of," says Grun. "Companies really like the label of Israel because they know it’s coming from a country that’s taking care of their product. Israeli candy is very innovative and very good tasting with high quality in production." 
Turning kosher into mainstream 
Carmit is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
 In 1973, South African-Israeli Lenny Sackstein opened Taste of Israel, a small duty-free shop at Ben-Gurion International Airport, and sold dried fruits alongside sweets. The store evolved, bought the Carmit toffee brand name from Ma’ale Hahamisha and expanded its offerings. In 1993, the family business went public and began to trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. 
 A healthy lollipop

Chocolate can be functional food.  

Early on, Carmit saw the appeal for specialty markets. It is well known for its dairy-free, dietetic and gluten-free goodies. 
"Carmit has been a gluten-free confectionery manufacturer for over a decade," says Grun. "It started with developing products for the kosher-for-Passover market, where the use of wheat flour is expressly prohibited. The products that we developed did not contain gluten and still maintained their great taste. Since then, we have deepened our expertise in gluten-free manufacturing and are a supplier to leading brands around the world." 
Grun, who says his three children are jealous that he gets to work in a candy factory every day, says the better-for-you trend in confectionery – less sugar, more fiber, no artificial colors or trans-fat – has been part of Carmit’s business model for over a decade. He believes fortified candies will be the next big development in the industry, with Carmit leading the way.  
"People don’t want to take pills all day long. Instead of taking a pill, we’ll give them candy," he says. "By expanding into this market, we are positioning ourselves as the go-to company for specialty or ‘healthy’ candy/confectionery."
 A healthy lollipop

These wafers have weight-reduction benefits 

The new products include a weight-management wafer bar with glucomannan and potato extract; bone-health chocolate coin with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K; and immune-health sugar-free toffee chew with echinacea, vitamin C and zinc 
“Our customers are looking for new and innovative products — especially supplements that can be delivered in a tasty food format," says Adrian Sagman, VP of export marketing and sales. "We can offer these products as-is, or can work with our customers to create a custom formulation. Partnering with Carmit reduces time-to-market and allows companies to lead with innovative products.”