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The theatre of candy

All the world’s our stage! In-store theatrics propels Spun Candy to venture overseas

By Oliver Nieburg+

23-Apr-2014
Last updated the 23-Apr-2014 at 13:35 GMT

Spun Candy produces its handmade confectionery live in front of shoppers
Spun Candy produces its handmade confectionery live in front of shoppers

Premium British confectioner Spun Candy plans to expand internationally by attracting customers with innovative in-store displays and live production.

The company, created in September last year, has its own store in London and sells in premium UK retailers such as Partridges and The Food Company. Spun Candy makes fudge, honey comb toffee and hard rock candy, among other treats.

“We’ve got quite an aggressive expansion plan, not just in the UK but worldwide,” James Ellender, managing director of Spun Candy, told ConfectioneryNews.

“We are exploring South America and South East Asia – anywhere where there is growth and a big consumer spend.”

Live production

All of Spun Candy’s range is manufactured by hand at its 700 square feet Covent Garden store. The company started with four candy makers but now employs eight, who produce products live in front of customers.

“Customers see something conceptual in front of their eyes and that increases their time in store,” said Ellender.

“When you are making it people can see the creativity. There’s a certain mystery that makes people want to buy it.”

Most of Spun Candy’s production team have university degrees and come from a design background.

“Our candy makers are not just chefs – they have to engage with the customer. They have to be sales people and sell the process,” said Ellender.

Sugar molecule display

Sugar molecule pick and mix display at Spun Candy's Covent Garden Store.

Spun Candy also sells in high-end UK retailers and a large part of its business comes from products for corporate events.

Ellender said that some of the theatrics were lost when selling in third party retail, but could still be maintained with innovation. “It’s about being creative with the design and display,” he said.

In the firm’s Covent Garden store it has a stainless steel display that symbolizes the sugar molecule. “It’s subtle but has a great impact,” said Ellender.

British range

Rugby World Cup Partnership

Spun Candy is the official confectionery partner of the 2015 Rugby World Cup hosted in England. It will produce products based on the teams and will sell online and through licensed Rugby World Cup shops.

Ellender was a consultant for a candy manufacturer for a numbers of years and chose to set-up his own firm when the company he consulted for exited the UK. “I decided to create a British brand that uses more of the full range of confectionery,” he said.

The Spun Candy chief said many brands that marketed themselves with a British heritage typically produced one core product, but said his company has a broader range of confectionery.

Vegetarian Candy and UAE

It is also developing vegetarian marshmallows and gummies to cater to tastes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where it will expand later this year. The company plans to open stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Ellender added that the vegetarian sweets would also sell well in premium retailers. “They sell a lot of marshmallows, but they contain gelatine and that prevents a large consumer base from buying them.”