Atkinson Candy also has a wholly-owned and operated facility in Guatemala City for peppermint candy production.
The expansion includes an additional 40,000-square-foot warehouse and production space, and it will add approximately eight to 10 jobs over the course of the next year.
The company said it is still in the transition process of reallocating space, but it has several new machines on order awaiting production floor space for installation.
“We will not fully see expanded production until early 2018,” Atkinson Candy’s president, Eric Atkinson, said.
Obtaining SQF certification
The future facility will also be able to segregate allergens as the candy maker hopes to achieve The Global Food Safety Initiative SQF certification upon the completion of the expansion, Atkinson added.
Meanwhile, Atkinson Candy holds Kosher and Silliker certifications.
New caramels capitalizing millennials moms
The 85-year-old family business primarily manufactures peanut butter-based candies like Chick-O-Stick and peanut butter bar, as well caramels, and peanut brittle.
At the recent Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago, Atkinson Candy unveiled a line of caramels with five flavors, including vanilla, caramel apple, pumpkin spice, gingerbread and chocolate peppermint. Each four-ounce bag retails for $1.29 across the US.
Atkinson said these caramels are manufactured in the Lufkin, Texas facility, but they are different from the company’s previous products – featuring simple and clean ingredients, as well as a new packaging.
“The packaging design was created by an external design agency. Our goal was to create a look that appeals to the millennial moms: something fun, fresh and modern,” he added.
Strong business outlook
“We have a lot of work left to complete, but the growth and outlook of our business is strong,” Atkinson said.
“We continue to beat industry standards in terms of growth and are working with strategic partners and customers to steadily grow our business for the long term.”
Atkinson said the company has experienced a 6% increase year-over-year, beating the US non-chocolate category growth.