Toy-filled chocolate egg firm the Yowie Group has secured US distribution with large C-store chain Valero Corner Store.
Valero has 1,100 stores nationally and 800 in Canada. Yowie also announced distribution with smaller candy specialist distributors Dylan’s Candy Bar, Lolli & Pops and Sweetie Candy. It also reached deals with St Louis Zoo and Summerwinds Resort.
The agreements give Yowie a presence in 20% of US states.
Wayne Loxton, executive chairman of the Yowie Group said that further large distribution deals loomed.
“Our commercial pipeline continues to increase at a rapid pace. Deal terms have been agreed and purchase orders are imminent from two Tier 1 national retailers following completion of comprehensive new customer accreditation,” he said.
Last year, New Jersey-based firm Candy Treasure overcame a US ban on toy filled chocolate eggs dating back to 1938 by using larger toys in a special capsule with a plastic ridge and bulls eye button that releases the toy. The 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act outlawed, "non-nutritive items" inside confections, preventing products like Ferrero’s Kinder Surprise from sale in the US.
The Yowie are a race of wildlife-loving monster characters based on Australian aboriginal mythology. They are similar to the North American Sasquatch or Bigfoot. Yowie chocolate products were previously produced by Cadbury under license from Kidcorp Pty Ltd. Cadbury sold 31 million units in Australia in 1997. The Yowie Group now holds the rights to the Yowie characters and has licensed production of chocolate products to Whetstone Chocolate Factory.
Yowie claims that its license manufacturer originally created the child-safe capsule and last year launched legal action against Candy Treasure.
Yowie’s chocolate eggs, based on Yowie Monster characters, are manufactured under license by the Whetstone Chocolate Factory in St Augustine, Florida.
North America prioritized
Yowie will initially roll-out in 235 Valero stores across Texas, Colorado and Southern California from August. It hopes a successful launch will help it secure distribution across Valero’s entire US network.
Yowie exhibited and the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago in May and reported interest from retailers in Turkey, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand.
The firm has prioritized the North American market, but has future plans to expand into Europe and the Middle East.
The company is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and its registered head office is in Perth, Western Australia.