McCrea’s Candies expands distrbution to US West Coast, says founder

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

McCrea's Good Foods Award winning product: Black Lava Sea Salt Caramel
McCrea's Good Foods Award winning product: Black Lava Sea Salt Caramel

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Boston-based McCrea’s Candies has begun selling its products on the West Coast for the first time after flagship brand Black Lava Sea Salt Caramel bagged the Good Foods Awards’ confectionery category this month. 

The Good Food Awards is to verify outstanding American food producers and farmers, and hosts an annual awards ceremony in San Francisco.

Named after the co-founder Kate McCrea's husband Jason and his family, the candy company sells 14 flavors of hand-crafted caramels, including Classic vanilla, black lava sea salt and single malt scotch.

“Winning this award is a tremendous honor,”​ McCrea said. “It means that we’re elevating the expectations of consumers and empowering them to demand better food.”

Expanding business to the West Coast

“The Good Food Mercantile in San Francisco was a fantastic opportunity to introduce McCrea’s Candies to a whole new set of buyers on the West Coast,”​ McCrea said.

For the past five years, McCrea’s focus has been on growing regionally in New England, and up and down the East Coast of the US, McCrea told Confectionery News. After winning the Good Food Award, the company has now started self-distributing to select retailers on the West Coast, including Whole Foods.

However, in the long run, said the company's founder: McCrea’s is poised to offer our quality caramel to gift shops, department stores, and specialty food shops all over the nation.”

New product line is on the way

McCrea's has been working on a new product line for the past five years with no artificial ingredients, but it is keeping details under wraps.

McCrea’s typically operates in the gifting segment.

People want something a little different and our mix of traditional and innovative flavors makes the perfect sampler or gift for family and friends,”​ she said.

Rather than competing with multinational confectionery businesses, McCrea said her candy company is actually competing with other gift items.

The company faces challenges in balancing cash flow and driving growth, as well as identifying customers’ new needs, McCrea added. But she feels optimistic about the outlook of her business.

Real food ingredients is trending

“After a long trend of cheap confectionery with artificial flavorings, we see an upswing in real foods ingredients used to flavor candies,”​ McCrea said.

According to market research firm, ReportLinker, there will be constant decrease in demand for artificial food flavours in the next five years, as consumers increasingly associate such flavors with negative health effects

“Our process is hands on and our ingredients are fresh and high quality,”​ McCrea added.

In addition, McCrea’s Candies will present at the Sweet & Snacks Expo in Chicago to meet with the Midwest buyers in May this year.

“There’s always room to keep learning and improving and stretching to meet customer needs,” ​McCrea said. “We love what we do.”

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