Aprati Foods Cambodia, an affiliate of ALC, was formed about nine years ago with the specific mission of developing a new hard candy brand for the Southeast Asian market. There, demand for this category is high, ALC told ConfectioneryNews.
Now launching two flavors in the US, ALC said it aims to satisfy an 'under-served audience of hard candy fans,' a group that it believes seeks out exotic or unique flavors.
Aprati means ‘irresistible’ in Sanskrit.
The certified non-GMO candies will first be sold online under two names, with three varieties in each 4oz bag (RRP $12.99 for three bags on Amazon). New flavors and pack sizes are already in the works to fit additional digital spaces as well as traditional retail and foodservice.
Mocati features caramel macchiato, mocha mint and espresso. Frutati offers more dual-fruit flavors of blueberry yuzu, pineapple passionfruit and green apple mango.
A base of cane sugar, tapioca syrup, palm oil, sunflower lecithin and a hint of salt blends with coffee extract, for instance, or other flavors in the case of Frutati. Each piece contains less than 2g of sugar.
ALC told us the formulation decisions play into its 'effort to introduce new products with cleaner ingredients.'
Finding the right supplier in Cambodia
With production facilities in Indiana and California, ALC remains a family owned and operated company. It has been working in Cambodia since 2012 to create Aprati alongside the supplier, which ALC said shares its mission of community involvement and employee support.
This ‘East meets West’ partnership hinges on four pillars of integrity, according to the US candy maker.
First, the brand uses cleaner ingredients – namely, non-GMO certified commodities. The manufacturer also committed to stick with the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) global standards and those of Certification Europe’s Occupational Health and Safety certification scheme, known as OHAS 18001. Such facilities offer a framework to ‘identify, control and decrease the risks associated with health and safety in the workplace.’
Of particular importance to ALC was the Cambodian manufacturer’s dedication to community involvement and to fostering a comfortable, caring environment for its employees. Thus the candy maker is also certified by Social Accountability International, which focuses on fair worker treatment. SA8000-certified facilities commit to nine tenets of a fair workplace, including to avoid discriminatory policies and unjust disciplinary practices, to never using child labor or other forced labor, and to allowing workers to form associations or unions.
As part of this collaboration, ALC has and will continue to support the Aogaah Foundation, a nonprofit that funds educational opportunities to underserved communities in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh.
Despite recent economic growth and increased access to jobs and education, Cambodia is one of the poorest Asian countries. The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) attributes the challenges of progress in part to corruption, limited human resources, high income inequality and poor job prospects. Education lacks especially in rural areas with poor infrastructure.
More than 13m people live in Cambodia, two-thirds of whom are under the age of 30.
“We are always striving for innovation and bringing new and exciting products to our fans and consumers,” said Kristi Shafer, VP of marketing at ALC.
Recently, the company launched a natural version of its classic Red Vines licorice twists, cutting down the ingredients to five. It has also committed to more recyclable packaging for its iconic jar of twists, and its production facilities are certified by the Zero Waste initiative.