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Tastykake and Hershey’s release Kandy Bar Kakes, share Halloween dessert ideas

BY Melissa Valliant

Now you can have your cake and eat it with candy, too. Tastycake and Hershey’s have teamed up to create Kandy Bar Kakes — part perfectly baked cake and part candy, made with quality ingredients.

Kandy Bar Kakes are available in 2.1-oz. single-serve sizes and 5-count multipacks in three varieties: s’mores, made with Hershey’s Cocoa; peanut butter, made with Reese’s peanut butter; and peppermint, made with York Peppermint flavor.

The sweet treats have a suggested retail price of $1.69 for the single-serve size and $3.99 for the multipack, and are sold at mass merchandisers, supermarkets and convenience stores.

In the spirit of Halloween, Tastycake has created some simple and affordable ideas for spooky desserts that consumers can make with Kandy Bar Kakes:

Coffin Cakes: These terrifying treats are made with Peppermint Kandy Bar Kakes and ready-made chocolate frosting. With a knife, trim the long edges of the cake into a coffin shape and cover the entire cake with chocolate frosting. For that final frightening touch, outline the cake with white icing and spell out R.I.P. at the top.

Spooky S’more Pops: Campfire ghost stories are the inspiration behind this Halloween treat. Cut in half a S’mores Kandy Bar Kake and insert a lollipop stick into each half. Cover the entire cake with marshmallow fluff, making sure to coat a portion of the lollipop stick. Roll the cake in crumbled graham crackers and place in the freezer for 15 minutes until the marshmallow and graham cracker coating hardens.

Creepy Crawly Cake Bites: Satisfy even the most ghoulish guests with bite-sized treats made with the Peanut Butter Kandy Bar Kake. Simply cut the cake in half width-wise, place four licorice pieces into each side for legs, and top with two candy corns for eyes to create a creepy crawly spider.

Devilish Dirt Cups: Make guests squirm with delicious "dirt" cups made with any of the Kandy Bar Kakes. Crumble the cakes into small pieces and mix with chocolate pudding. Top the cake mixture with a few colorful gummy worms and serve in petite mason jars for a trendy touch.

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Foods in prominent supermarket locations feed unhealthy choices, researchers say

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — An article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine examines the role that impulse marketing and customer psychology in supermarkets contributes to obesity and related health problems.

The Oct. 11 article, written by the Rand Corp.’s Deborah Cohen and University of California Los Angeles researcher Susan Babey and titled "Candy at the Cash Register — A Risk Factor for Obesity and Chronic Disease," discusses the role of placement and display of products in retail outlets, noting that goods placed in end-of-aisle locations account for about 30% of all supermarket sales.

"Our reluctance to interfere with or regulate the food environment is a direct consequence of the belief that people’s food choices reflect their true desires," Cohen and Babey wrote. "However, given the large proportion of people who claim that they want to lose weight and the small proportion who are actually able to do so, we must concede that human behavior doesn’t always conform with professed goals."

According to the authors, people who may try to make healthy choices can find their ability to resist foods that are palatable but high in fat and sugar placed in prominent locations like near the cash register diminished if they’re distracted, stressed or have made decisions that "deplete their cognitive capacity." This can cause mental processes that increase their likelihood of purchasing unhealthy foods that are convenient and eye-catching.

The authors suggested new approaches to risk reduction that don’t place additional cognitive demands on people, such as limiting the types of foods that are displayed in prominent locations and making unhealthy foods harder to find.

But some retailers have already done this, as reported in Drug Store News. In 2011, Hy-Vee introduced "Blue Zones" checkout lanes that replace sugary and fatty foods with healthy ones like fresh fruits and healthy snacks. In August 2012, Ahold banner Giant-Carlisle installed healthy-food checkout lanes in eight Martin’s Food Markets stores in the Richmond, Va., area. The Martin’s lanes include fruit, nuts, snack packs, nutrition bars and fruit juice.

 

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CDC study finds more Americans consuming diet drinks than in 2000

BY Melissa Valliant

Today’s Americans are drinking significantly more diet drinks than they were a decade ago, according to a new study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers found that roughly one-fifth of the U.S. population is sipping on diet drinks, such as calorie-free and low-calorie versions of soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and carbonated water. While about 17.8% of women and 13.9% of men drank diet drinks back in 2000, 21.2% of women and 19% of women are drinking them now.

Gender didn’t make much of a difference when it came to diet drink consumption, except in the age group of 12- to 19-year-olds; in this group of adolescents, women drank significantly more diet drinks than men.

The study found that ethnicity and income played a role in determining who chose diet beverages. Non-Hispanic whites drank more diet drinks than non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics; and the higher Americans’ income, the more diet drinks they consumed.

This data corresponds to recent data that found that Americans are drinking fewer sugary drinks than they used to. In 2000, people were consuming 150 calories a day from the sugar in soda; that figure dropped to 91 calories a day in 2008.

The CDC’s new statistics are based on in-person interviews with thousands of people in the "National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey."

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