WAYLAND Thanks to the development work of Denali Flavors Inc., Tootsie Roll Industries (NYSE: TR) soon will sell Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops in ice cream form.
Wayland-based Denali Flavors and Chicago-based Tootsie Roll today announced a co-branding alliance to introduce Tootsie Roll and Tootsie Pops ice cream to grocery stores and ice cream shops nationwide. This marks the first time that the candy company has offered the Tootsie Roll outside its trademark wrapper.
Denali Flavors, the ice cream developer and marketer that created Moose Tracks ice cream, secured the licensing agreement with Tootsie Roll Industries last September.
According to Denali’s president, Neal Glaeser, the firms worked together for months learning how to use Tootsie Roll taste and texture in ice creams.
He reports that Tootsie Roll ice cream has soft and chewy fudge-filled treats in a fudge swirl and chocolate ice cream base. Tootsie Pops ice cream, on the other hand, has crunchy cherry and grape bits of candy in a fudge swirl and vanilla ice cream base.
Glaeser said his firm’s challenge was finding a way to keep the Tootsie Roll soft.
“And we did it,” he said. “Our ice cream and their candy is a winning combination, and we are pleased that Tootsie Roll Industries worked with us to make the Tootsie Roll and Tootsie Pops our newest flavors.
He explained that treat-laden or so-called “indulgent” ice creams are the fastest growing category of ice cream. Cookies-n-Cream pioneered the notion in the 1980s.
Denali’s contribution to the genre includes Moose Tracks — a peanut butter cup and fudge-filled confection — which Denali licenses to more than 80 dairies in all 50 states.
“We are excited to introduce the classic Tootsie Roll and Tootsie Pop as frosty treats,” said Melvin J. Gordon, chairman and CEO of Tootsie Roll Industries, in a statement about the new products. “Denali Flavors has created two instant successes with these ice creams, and we look forward to seeing the Tootsie Roll brand extended to another fun food category.”
The Tootsie Roll was created in 1896 by an Austrian immigrant who owned a candy shop in New York City. The confectioner, Leo Hirshfield, hand-rolled the creation and named it after his five-year-old daughter, Clara, nicknamed “Tootsie.”
The Tootsie Roll was the first wrapped penny candy in America. Today, the firm produces more than 62 million Tootsie Rolls a day, relying on Hirshfield’s century-old recipe.
In addition to developing ice creams, Denali provides product development and marketing support for independent ice cream makers who produce regional and store-branded products.
Presently, Glaeser said Denali holds 11 contracts with ice cream makers to produce the Tootsie Roll and Tootsie Pop flavors and expects to roll it out immediately.
He said Denali ice cream developments are sold at most major grocery store chains, ice cream stores and convenience stores.
Other trademarked flavors Denali has developed are Caramel Caribou, Bear Claw, Mother Lode and Peanut Butter Iditarod. Consistent with those brands, “Denali” is a Native American name for a mountain in Alaska.
Denali’s association with Tootsie Roll began with Charms, a division of the company, to develop Andes Crème de Menthe specialty ice cream and Andes Crème de Menthe ice cream sandwiches. These specialty products were introduced to markets last year and can be found at retailers nationwide. The company also has licensing agreements with Mrs. Smith’s Frozen Pies.
Tootsie Roll Industries had nearly $400 million in net sales in 2003. It has operations in Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Mexico; the company produces more than 60 million Tootsie Rolls per day and also leads the world as a producer of 20 million lollipops a day.