NCET Biz Tips: Sweet Indulgence

Bill Leonard

Bill Leonard

Imagine biting into a piece of candy that instantly transports you to a world of sweet bliss. Add a smooth, rich chocolate coating to the candy. You begin to visualize in your mind this irresistible, scrumptious chocolate-coated confection you have created. You experience comfort and exhilaration as the chocolate melts in your mouth. Your taste buds take over. You want more.

Far-fetched and a bit too much? Perhaps, but there is no doubt that Kimmie Candy (KC), based here in Reno, has mastered the art of sweet indulgence.

Most know that our "Biggest Little City in the World" is famous for its shining lights, gaming, tourism, recreation, mining, and distribution hubs. Some don't know that Reno has a state-of-the-art candy production facility boasting a customer base stretching from coast to coast and encompassing more than eight countries, now including Abu Dhabi. That chocolate confection manufacturing company is Kimmie Candy.

Joe Dutra is the driving force behind Kimmie Candy. Although his story has been told before, it is briefly worth repeating. Joe began his career as a farmer in Sacramento. He changed gears in 1987 and launched Westec Inc., an agricultural consulting and international seed business. This company became the leading seller of non-GMO hybrid corn and alfalfa seed in Saudi Arabia and others in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Now it's the year 2020. Joe takes on a new challenge that points him in a completely different direction – Kimmie Candy. With the creation of nationally branded original Sunbursts and ChocoRocks, manufacturing begins in South Korea. In 2008, Joe planted Kimmie Candy's manufacturing roots firmly in Reno.

Here are some KC capabilities that are not often mentioned. Kimmie Candy works with many companies to create their custom-designed confections. With its vast experience in contract manufacturing and its state-of-the-art 47,000 square foot facility, KC can be a fit for other candy companies that need manufacturing capability.

KC produces 350,000 pounds of candy per month. That translates to 4.2 million pounds of candy per year. Nearly all of KC's product lines are sugar-shell coated. KC has a vast reach when sourcing custom packaging for other candy companies.

But what about significant milestones Kimmie Candy has achieved this year? In November, Kimmie Candy acquired the Good Day Chocolate brand in Boulder, Colo., from Kick Foods LLC. This brand is now a separate company named AndYNot LLC under the Kimmie Candy umbrella. This acquisition adds depth to Kimmie Candy's portfolio with a line of chocolates with supplements that gives KC an inroad into more upscale markets like Whole Foods and Sprouts.

Kimmie Candy has added a new line of “better-for-you” products for schools called Lifuel Nutritional Snacks that meet the Smart Snack requirements for schools. KC is selling and testing this snack line with a school system in Northern California. Feedback has been 100% positive. KC has also added Baby Dino Eggs, which are roasted chickpeas covered in dark chocolate with a candy shell. Also added is KC's Cracked Corn, which is a non-GMO salted roasted corn nut covered in milk chocolate with a crunchy candy shell.

One more tasty treat. KC has been developing yogurt with added probiotics to its private label market and yogurt in new flavors like orange dreamsickles.

Kimmie Candy is not without its challenges. Regulator changes impact the business. For example, stricter labeling rules for natural colors and ingredient statements are sometimes confusing. KC's biggest challenge is that inflation has caused ingredient costs to rise. Labor and energy have skyrocketed. No one knows when that will lessen.

Kimmie Candy is very active in giving back to the community. KC participates in the Fantasies in Chocolate fundraiser for various charities. KC donates candy for the Governor’s Mansion for Halloween and to the National Auto Museum for their safe street events. KC also donates to local charities like the Boys and Girls Clubs and Juvenile Diabetes fundraiser.

What does Kimmie Candy see as a trend in the candy industry in 2024? Reducing sugar while keeping flavor is an important trend in the industry. “Better for you” candy infused with proteins will continue to get noticed.

Kimmie Candy’s products are simply delicious. The candy can make one hungry just thinking about it. But it's KC’s humble beginnings that also stand out. You could say that Kimmie Candy is a personification of the American Dream. KC is the story of an individual who started as a farmer and took a leap of faith to create a successful family-owned candy manufacturing company from scratch.

Savor the sweetness, one bite at a time!

If you want to learn more about Kimmie Candy and its delectable chocolate-covered candies, you have an opportunity right around the corner at NCET Tech on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Sign up early for Kimmie Candy’s presentation from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. with networking from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. During your visit, you will hear and learn about:

The sugar panning process.

The process used for applying the sugar shell to the candies.

Flat bar production for Kimmie Candy’s famous ChocoRocks.

The method for spraying chocolate and smoothing the candies.

The retail store for easy shopping (plenty of samples on hand for NCET Tech Wednesday attendees).

So don't be late. Register now by visiting

Bill Leonard is VP of Communications at NCET and a freelance Technology, SaaS, and Cleantech content writer of conversion-driven customer case studies and white papers. Connect with Bill at Case Study Ink on LinkedIn. NCET produces education and networking events to help people explore business and technology.  


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