Christmas, Candy Canes and Karma Candy Inc.!!
Christmas, Candy Canes and Karma Candy Inc…
With Christmas almost here, it seems very fitting to focus on an EMC Member who produces a product familiar to all of us at this time of year - the illustrious, sometimes artistic, but always delectable - "Candy Cane"! Looking beyond the Christmas candy aspect though, Karma Candy Inc. is a company that also exemplifies the true spirit of the season year round - through their own philanthropic endeavours, their community involvement, their team atmosphere and their willingness at helping others learn from their experiences - sharing those benchmarking "moments" that enable their peers to become more efficient and productive or seeking solutions and partnerships beyond their four walls that will benefit not just their company but industry as a whole. Our focus today is on - Karma Candy Inc. - one of North America's largest contract manufacturers of confectionary products… and along the way perhaps a little history on the Candy Cane itself and the chance to explore your own Christmas baking abilities with a little Christmas cheesecake recipe from my home to yours!
Karma Candy Inc., as mentioned above, is one of North America's largest contract manufacturers of confectionary products. They produce a variety of regular and seasonal candies including Candy Canes, sticks and lollipops and chocolates in a number of forms (filled, solid, hollow, drop molded as well as enrobed). Karma Candy also has the capacity to provide a variety of packaging technology from vertical and horizontal form and fill machines, bunch foiling and twist wrap through to horizontal cartooning, roll wrapping, mesh netting and custom packaging that they can assist in designing for you. Their versatility and experienced team-based workforce allows them to produce products for some of the largest international retailers and confectionary companies. The plant itself is based in Hamilton, Ontario and has been producing candy products for over 46 years. In 2007, the plant was purchased from The Allan Candy Company Ltd. by Karma Candy Inc.
Karma Candy joined EMC Canada in 2008 and has diligently participated in local and Regional Events. We are delighted to have them as one of our Host Manufacturers for the upcoming National Advantage Through Excellence Conference in May 2010. Greg Merlihan, the General Manager, and the Team at Karma Candy Inc. look forward to welcoming you to their plant at that time - to share information on their journey to become world class. (Participants may also have an opportunity to see their newest candy cane making machine in process which could in fact provoke earlier Christmas shopping endeavours for 2010!)
The Candy Cane has been in existence for over 350 years and historians believe the first reference to this Christmas treat was actually in 1670, when a choirmaster in Germany used them as representations of shepherd's staffs. In 1847, they began to surface in North America and until 1900 were always white. No one knows where the stripes came from on the Candy Canes but there are a number of stories that tie these delectable and decorative holiday treats back to religious themes.
Originally, these candies were made by pulling, cutting and twisting, and bending the sugar sticks all by hand - a time-intensive and labourious process! Needless to say, automation provided the opportunity to decrease waste significantly and to streamline processes accordingly. Given the historical nature of Candy Canes, it seems fitting that the first Candy Cane Machine was developed by Father Harding Keller, a Priest and an Inventor. Early in 1950, Father Keller's brother-in-law, who owned a candy factory, approached him for assistance… he was experiencing a 22% waste in his stick candy production. Father Keller would end up developing an automated system that would turn the candy stick market upside down and his "invention" would later be known as the Keller Machine.
Being competitive today requires excellence in so many fields - not the least of which is automation. Karma Candy Inc. works diligently at providing the best in product and in customer service. Staying abreast and in compliance with a variety of regulatory agencies affords them the opportunity to ship their products around the world safely.
As such, Karma Candy has a number of certifications and quality standards that it adheres to including organic certification by the Quality Assurance International (QAI), and Kosher certification by the Kashruth Council of Canada (COR). From an export readiness perspective, they also meet CAN-TRACE Standards and US Bio-terrorism requirements. Recently, Karma Candy achieved British Retail Consortium (BRC) certification in Food Safety, a Global Food Safety Initiative designation recognized around the world (a designation shared by only one other confectionery company in Canada, Kraft).
Engaging their people on a number of fronts is also vitally important to their organization's ability to compete in a global marketplace. As such they do their best to involve their people on a number of levels - in networking activities from a continuous improvement, leadership and human resource standpoint, in Health and Safety participation with Team Leaders and JHSC Members and involvement in the EMC WSIB Safety Group. They have established a green focus and as such are interested and fully involved in their impact on the environment. They are looking at ways to reduce energy usage including such things as implementing motion sensors to conserve electricity and using water recycling for vacuum systems for their hard candy processing, conducting bi-annual waste audits, and cleaning up neighbouring properties.
This company truly believes in giving back and as such have implemented a Corporate Philanthropy and Outreach Program promoting Education, Nuturing Entrepreneurship and Supporting a number of community related projects such as Earth Day, University Research, UNICEF.
If you are interested in learning more about Karma Candy Inc. and it's capabilities, please feel free to check out their website at www.karmacandy.ca or to contact Greg Merlihan, General Manager, at email@example.com - he would be happy to chat with you anytime!
In the spirit of the Season and in light of the wee bit of trivia shared on the history of our "illustrious and delectable treat", I am passing along a Candy Cane Christmas Cheesecake Recipe with my very best wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season!
Christmas Peppermint Cheesecake
1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
3 tablespoons of melted margarine
1 envelope unflavoured gelatine
¼ cup cold water
2 - 8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
¼ cup crushed peppermint (candy canes) candy
1 cup whipping cream
1 1.45 oz. milk chocolate candy bars, finely chopped
Combine crumbs and margarine; press onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350, 10 minutes. Cool.
Soften gelatine in water; stir over low heat until dissolved. Combine cream cheese and sugar, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Gradually add gelatin, milk and peppermint candy, mixing until blended; chill until thickened but not set. Fold in whipped cream and chocolate; pour over crust. Chill until firm. Garnish with additional whipping cream, whipped, combined with crushed peppermint candy, if desired. 10-12 servings.
My very best wishes to all of you for a most wonderful and happy holiday!