JJ’s Sweets® Awarded Whole Foods Market® Local Producer Loan; Proceeds Used to Launch New Chocolate-Covered Cocomels®, Organic Coconut Milk Caramels
Boulder, CO-based JJ’s Sweets®, maker of Cocomels®, was awarded financing via the Local Producer Loan Program by Whole Foods Market® to launch new Chocolate-Covered Cocomels® in a convenient two-pack, now available to all retailers nationwide. Cocomels, the original coconut milk caramels™, are artisan crafted, smooth and creamy caramel confections that are gluten free, dairy free, non-GMO, vegan, kosher and certified organic.
Boulder, CO (July 14, 2014) – After achieving significant growth and national distribution for its artisan-made, dairy free and certified organic Cocomels®, innovative confectioner JJ’s Sweets® was awarded a small business loan by Whole Foods Market® under its Local Producer Loan Program in the Rocky Mountain Region.
The funding was earmarked to create and launch a new product: Chocolate-Covered Cocomels®, in a convenient grab-and-go two-pack size, now available to all natural, organic and specialty food retailers nationwide.
Chocolate-Covered Cocomels are handcrafted, luscious, smooth and creamy coconut milk caramels, enrobed in a silky layer of vegan dark chocolate. The new package size is convenient and perfect for the everyday consumer to indulge in a delicious caramel confection, without any dairy or gluten. Chocolate-Covered Cocomels are available in Sea Salt, Vanilla and Espresso varieties.
“Our new Chocolate-covered Cocomels two-pack is the perfect size and price point for customers on the go. They are presented in space-saving, eye-catching display boxes - ideal for point of purchase displays and merchandising on the shelf,” said Saskia Cervantes, Director of Marketing for JJ’s Sweets.
Loan Program Supports Growth of Artisan Producers
The new Cocomels product was made possible by the support of the Whole Foods Market Local Producer Loan Program in the Rocky Mountain Region. The loan program, established in 2006, is driven by Whole Foods Market’s 11 regions, with support from the company’s central office in Austin, TX. “By playing a role in advancing new ideas, growing businesses and realizing dreams, Whole Foods Market stays connected with both our neighborhood producers and our global food community,” said Betsy Foster, Whole Foods Market Global VP of Growth and Business Development, who helps oversee the local producer loan program.
Speaking to the success of Whole Planet Foundation's micro-credit loans in developing world communities, Whole Foods Co-CEO John Mackey said, “We intend to do a similar thing to support local agriculture wherever we have stores.” Today, the Local Producer Loan Program provides up to $25 million in loans to independent businesses. Since its inception, the program has provided 184 loans to 155 companies.
“We are grateful for the support provided to us by our local Whole Foods Market region,” said JJ Rademaekers, Chief Candyman and Founder of JJ’s Sweets. “The Local Producer Loan Program has allowed us to extend our family of products and bring new Cocomels sizes to all retailers and consumers looking for a delicious treat that is organic, non-GMO, kosher, vegan, gluten-free and dairy free. Our customers will be able to indulge just the right amount with this two-pack size, or if they’re feeling generous, share with a friend!” he said.
About Cocomels® and JJ’s Sweets®
JJ’s Sweets®, maker of Cocomels® – The Original Coconut Milk Caramel™ – is a Boulder, CO-based company that creates innovative, artisan-crafted candy confections using sustainable practices, premium ingredients and old-world inspiration. Award-winning Cocomels are batch-cooked in copper kettles with dairy-free ingredients to create delicious, smooth and creamy caramels, which are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher, and USDA certified organic. Inspiration, creativity and love go into each blissfully delicious treat!
Cocomels are available to retailers and consumers nationwide in four delicious flavors: Original, Sea Salt, Vanilla, and Espresso, and come in 3 convenient sizes (Single piece tubs, 3.75 oz. Flagship boxes, and 1.5 oz. pocket packs). Chocolate-Covered Cocomels are available in convenient, 1 oz. two-packs, including Vanilla, Sea Salt and Espresso varieties.
Cocomels can be found throughout the U.S. at leading natural, organic and specialty food stores, including independent co-ops, Whole Foods Market, Fresh and Easy, Earth Fare, The Fresh Market, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Sprouts, PCC, New Leaf Market, Erewon, Lassen’s, Mother’s Market, Dean and Deluca, MOMs, and other leading retailers.
About Whole Foods Market
Founded in 1978 in Austin, TX, Whole Foods Market® (NASDAQ: WFM) is the leading retailer of natural and organic foods, and America’s first national “Certified Organic” grocer. The company has 386 stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.