Wednesday, August 09, 2006

'Bully' for Jelly Belly!

'Bully' for Jelly Belly!
Fairfield Jelly Bean Maker's Sweet Rocks Line Cashes in on Animated Film
By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN, Times-Herald staff writer

A PHOTOGRAPHER snaps a picture as children gather near a promotion for the animated movie 'The Ant Bully' at the Jelly Belly Candy Co. factory in Fairfield. The picture is made of jelly beans. Photo: J.L. Sousa/Times-Herald

Four-year-old Brianna Todero of Vallejo has no desire to try jelly beans that taste like lawn clippings or ants, although she may give the caterpillar-flavored ones a try.

Those are among the flavors Jelly Belly Candy Co. of Fairfield developed for its Sweet Rocks line, based on the newly released Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures film, "The Ant Bully."

The film won Brianna's unqualified endorsement. "I saw it," she said during a stop at the visitors' center at the Jelly Belly factory. "My mommy took me. It was good!"

It's the first movie marketing tie-in with which Jelly Belly was directly involved, said company spokeswoman Tomi Holt.

The film's main character appears on a Sweet Rocks package. Photo: J.L. Sousa/Times-Herald

The movie, featuring the voices of Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman ("The Polar Express"), opened July 28. It is a 3D animated feature about a 10-year-old boy who "embarks on a remarkable adventure," in which he joins an ant colony, according to a Jelly Belly statement.

Jelly Belly's new Sweet Rocks contain 20 movie-inspired flavors. They include ant hill, alka root, lawn clippings and caterpillar, Holt said.

David Sansone of Vallejo, 7, a second-grader at St. Basil's Elementary School, said he doesn't plan to try any of them. "It doesn't sound so good," he said.

However, he added, he may see the movie.

On the other hand, 13-year-old Geraldine O'Mara of Vallejo said ant hill and lawn clippings sound

POSTERS promoting 'The Ant Bully' hang above the crowd at the visitors' center at Jelly Belly Candy Co. in Fairfield. J.L. Sousa/Times-Herald

OK, but you're not going to get her to try caterpillar-flavored anything. "It's a bug," the St. Basil's eighth-grader said.

Jelly Belly's ant hill flavor has "an earthy, grainy quality," Holt said, while the lawn clippings variety tastes remarkably like grass.

While this is Jelly Belly's first direct movie tie-in, the firm has been mentioned in several films and developed some flavors for a line of Harry Potter-inspired Bertie Bott's jelly beans for Napa's Cap Candy Co. These include bacon, booger, ear wax, rotten egg, soap and vomit-flavored beans.

Sweet Rocks is not the only project keeping Jelly Belly officials busy lately, Holt said. Several new jelly bean lines and flavors have been developed in the past couple of years, she said.

Among these, the company's Smoothie Blend flavors include strawberry-banana, pineapple-pear and cherry-passion fruit. The smoothie line was rolled out in January and hit stores nationwide in spring, Holt said.

In May, the firm introduced a line of Soda Pop Shoppe jelly beans based on the Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages brands of sodas, like 7UP, Orange Crush, Dr. Pepper and A&W Root Beer.

Jelly Belly also recently added two flavors - Fruit Punch and Berry Blue - to its Sports Bean line, which it introduced last year, Holt said.

Scientifically formulated for sports performance, the Sports Beans are an energy product containing carbohydrates, electrolytes for hydration and vitamins to replenish nutrients lost through perspiring, Holt said. They also contain Vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and three B vitamins to promote metabolism of fats and carbs.

Sports Beans are packaged in 100-calorie, single-serving, 1-ounce packets and contain an informational guide with tips on how to use them, Holt said.


Jelly Belly Candy Company

Owners: Gustav Goelitz family; Herman Rowland, chairman

Type: Candy manufacturer, tours and retail

First opened: 1976

Location: One Jelly Belly Lane, Fairfield

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, free tours 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wheelchair accessible.

Phone/web: (800) 522-3267 or 1-800-9-JELLYBEAN (1-800-953-5592), web:

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