December 21, 2022
A long-time animal lover, Ben always wanted to create a product that would benefit the creatures of the world. Now, he’s making an impact with his own gummy ecosystem.
“I've loved animals ever since I was a kid,” Ben said. “I've always been kind of obsessed with them. I remember when I was in kindergarten, I would wear leopard-print pants to school every day because I thought leopards were the coolest thing ever.”
In August of 2020, Ben was working from home and snacking on one of his favorite gummy candies. Suddenly, he was struck with the idea to create a product that would combine his love of candy with his love of animals.
“I had the idea to create gummies that are themed around various animals,” Ben said. “I wanted to make them shaped like those animals and have flavors that tie back to their environments.”
From there, Ben started researching and working in his Boston apartment’s kitchen to create the product he envisioned.
“There was a period of time where I had enough candy-making supplies in my kitchen for a Willy Wonka factory,” Ben said. “Every day, I would make at least one new batch of gummies using different kinds of gelling agents and different flavor profiles.”
Ben decided to create his gummies out of pectin, a fruit-based gelling agent, due to the ingredient’s gummy consistency and the fact that it is vegan and organic.
“Most gummies aren't considered vegetarian, let alone vegan,” Ben said. “We wanted to make something that's a better alternative for the environment.”
Ben teamed up with cofounders Joe Chafkin and Alex Pusch, and in May of 2021, Conservation Candy was launched to the public.
The company’s Organic Gummy Bears are available in 3 packs and 12 packs online and are sold locally in stores around Boston. Each pack has a total of 30 gummies in cherry, grape, lemon, orange, strawberry, and grapefruit flavors.
Ben said that he wants his products to be not only delicious but educational and charitable as well. For this reason, Conservation Candy partners with the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA). IBA is a professional organization for biologists, wildlife managers, and others focused on wildlife research and conservation of the eight species of bear.
Conservation Candy is committed to giving a minimum of 10% of all profits to IBA.
“A lot of the people at IBA are field researchers, so they're out there collecting data and tagging polar bears,” Ben said. “Being able to interact with people who are really on the front lines has been extremely rewarding. It helps recenter you on the mission, which is to help animals.”
Each pack of Organic Gummy Bears has a Unique Animal Fact. The Conservation Candy website also features a Bear Fact Button that reveals a random bear fact.
“My favorite bear fact is that the farthest south polar bears live is James Bay, which has the same latitude as London, England,” Ben said.
Eventually, Ben would like to create additional snacks centered around other animals.
“I think our ultimate vision is to create a gummy ecosystem,” Ben said. “It could even be snacks too and not necessarily all gummies.”
Similarly to their gummy bears, Ben wants future Conservation Candy products to have educational packaging and flavors related to each particular animal’s environment and diet. He also wants to give back to organizations that help those animals.
“It'd be great if we could be responsive to different environmental pressures with our product,” Ben said. “For instance, during the Australian wildfires, a large percentage of the Koala population perished. So, it'd be amazing if we could respond to that and do a package themed around the koalas to help raise money to mitigate some of the damages that happened to their population. Overall, we want Conservation Candy to be dynamic, engaging, fun, and broader than bears, but of course, we'll always do bears.”
Click here to head to the Conservation Candy website and learn more.