The Often-Untold Tale of Candy

When it comes to the history of candy in the 20th century, there are literally hundreds of stories exactly like this:

In the fall of 1980, several Goelitz executives flew down with a proposition. They would give (David Klein) and a partner he had taken on $10,000 apiece every month for 20 years in exchange for the trademark to Jelly Belly.

Klein refused. But then he said he got the sense that the company would continue making the beans without him. Klein did not have the formula and was not versed in manufacturing. Taking his business elsewhere seemed daunting and futile. His partner was ready to retire, and urged him to sign the agreement.

Klein said he caved. And regretted it an instant later.

There are many reasons why companies buy out candy innovators – candy innovators typically do not have the industrial infrastructure in place to take their candy to the next level. Companies who have such infrastructure can pick and choose which candies to buy and distribute to a larger market. This happens all the time.

One need to look no further than Hershey’s to see examples of this. The Kit Kat Bar, Almond Joy, Mounds, York Peppermint Patty, Milk Duds, Whoppers, Good N’Plenty, Jolly Rancher, Bubble Yum, the Heath Bar, and Zagnut are all part of the Hershey catalog and have their roots somewhere other than Hershey, Pennsylvania. This is the candy business in a nutshell, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Dave Klein is just another aspect of this, albeit on a much smaller scale. For all of the marketing of candy as an innocent treat, the reality is that the business of candy is as full of greed as well as victims of that greed as any other industry.