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Sherwood Brands Develops First Capsulated Lollipop For Vending

Posted On: 4/15/2006

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ROCKVILLE, MD -- Sherwood Brands LLC, a manufacturer and marketer of confectionary and gift products, is entering the bulk vending marketplace with Zypperz, the first capsulated lollipop that is entirely bulk vendible.

Zypperz has a plastic "stick" that self-assembles from a folded position as it is removed from the capsule. The two halves of the stick, which are split in a "V" shape when placed in the capsule, "zipper" together via a set of interlocking teeth to form one sturdy stick. The patented concept includes not only the unique split-stick configuration, but also a specially designed capsule format that allows the stick to separate when placed in the capsule and then rettach when removed.

"What's nice about this is the fact that although lollipops are one of the most popular candies, it's never been possible to sell them through a traditional bulk vender," said Amir Frydman, president of Sherwood Brands. "Now, we have a safe comfort food for kids that the operator can offer without a major investment in new equipment."

According to Frydman, Zypperz is the creation of an American operator, Naftali Lobel, who sold his bulk vending route several years ago. He remained intrigued with the idea of vending lollipops as he thought they held great potential for the bulk market. A viable delivery system, however, would prove tricky. The challenge Lobel and others before him faced was the way in which the lollipops arranged themselves when loaded into a machine.

Standard bulk vending mechanisms were unable to accommodate the combination of sticks and candy tops to consistently vend a single, undamaged pop. Sticks oriented up, down and sideways within a machine's globe proved unmanageable for standard wheel assemblies engineered to vend round items, and virtually all attempts to design a workable "feeder system" to move the lollipop through the vend process failed.

The few attempts to vend lollipops had been undertaken with little commercial success. Typically these ventures needed specialized equipment that almost always required the operator to load each lollipop -- individually -- into cartridges in order to have a consistent orientation of candy top and stick as they passed through the mechanism. These machines worked, but the investment in time loading the lollipops was too much for most operators.

Cranes and prize redemption units would prove more successful in the quest for a lolli vender, but these, of course, were different machines.

After considerable initial investment that met with little success, Lobel was poised to give up on the notion when he finally hit on the idea of redesigning the product itself -- not the vender -- by creating a new stick and vending the lollipops through capsules.

Zypperz are now available in two sizes to meet the needs of varied price points. The 2-in. oval capsule, suggested to vend at 50¢, includes a lollipop on the "zipper stick" along with a special ring to hold the lollipop and one of a dozen holographic stickers. "We wanted to add value to it," explained Frydman, "so around the base of the capsule is a cool plastic ring with stickers to decorate it. This gives kids the choice of eating the lollipop as a regular lollipop on a stick or as a ring pop."

The smaller sized Zypperz, designed to meet a 25¢ price point, comes in a 13⁄8-in. capsule and does not offer the ring holder. Because the capsule is slightly larger than the standard 1.1-in capsule, the company is offering a free wheel assembly to retrofit standard machines to accommodate the product. The lollipops come in four flavors: cherry, grape, strawberry and apple.

Sherwood Brands was founded in 1985 when Frydman saw an opportunity in the retail marketplace for gourmet-quality confections at regular mass-market prices, and its line of Elana chocolate bars soon became the "right priced" staple in the retail market. Through product development and corporate acquisition, the company expanded its presence and product offering to include butter toffees, hard candies, jelly beans, lollipops, biscuits and wafers. Sherwood continued to expand its product offerings with new flavors, brand extensions and the introduction of new product categories. Notable innovations were the company's line of Cows caramels, and P.B. Cows Peanut Butter Toffees, lemon and coffee varieties of the company's top-selling Ruger wafers, and Tongue Tattoo lollipops.

The company is headquartered at 1803 Research Blvd., Ste. 201, Rockville, MD 20850; tel. (301) 309-6161; fax 301-309-6162;