Tuesday, September 16, 2008

White Rabbit Creamy Candy

White Rabbit Creamy Candies are perhaps the best known brand of Chinese-made candy in China, and the only one to be marketed significantly outside of that country. They are manufactured in Shanghai by Shanghai Guanshengyuan Food, Ltd .


The candy is white, with a soft, chewy texture, and is formed into cylinders approximately 3 cm long and 1 cm in diameter, each wrapped in a thin edible paper-like wrapping made from sticky rice. The candy is similar to contemporary western nougat.

Although this layer is meant to be eaten along with the rest of the candy, it does not figure in the list of ingredients, which is limited to corn starch syrup, cane sugar, butter, and milk. Each candy contains 20 calories .

White Rabbit Creamy Candies originate from Aipixi Candy Factory, Shanghai in 1943. A merchant from Aipixi tried a milk candy from England then, and thought that its taste was not bad. He then manufactured the factory's own brand of milk candies after half a year. These milk candies were packaged using a red Mickey Mouse drawing, and named ABC Mickey Mouse Sweets. As their prices were lower than , it became widely popular among the people.

In the 1950s, Aipixi became state-owned. Mickey Mouse was seen as a symbol for worshipping foreign countries, so the packaging bore a white rabbit instead of Mickey Mouse. In 1959, these candies were gifts for the tenth National Day of the People's Republic of China.

Initially, production of the candies was capped at 800 per day, and were manually produced. However, commodities were lacking at that time. White Rabbit sweets were advertised with the line, "Seven White Rabbit candies is equivalent to one cup of milk", and was seen as a nutritional product. The candies hence accompanied the growth of a generation. Former students of the early Deng era report taking this slogan literally and making 'hot milk' on their dormitory cooking rings by dissolving the candies in a pan of hot water.

Today, White Rabbit candies has become China's top brand of candies. In 1972, Premier Zhou Enlai even used White Rabbit candies as a gift to American president Richard Nixon when the latter visited China. Although the White Rabbit brand already has some history, it has grown with the economy of China. Cities and agricultural villages' demands are increasing, especially during the Chinese New Year period when many families provide White Rabbit sweets among other candies for visitors. In 2004, White Rabbit candies' sales hit 600 million , with sales increasing rapidly by a double-digit percentage yearly . The candies are now exported to more than forty countries and territories, including the United States, Europe and Singapore.

White Rabbit candies' flavour and packaging has changed over the years. When the candies were first marketed, the White Rabbit was lying down; however, this was changed to the rabbit jumping. Besides the original flavour, flavours such as chocolate, coffee, toffee, peanut, corn, coconut, lychee, strawberry, mango, red bean and fruit have been added. The butter-plum flavour, characteristic of China, was also among the new flavours added among the years. After many improvements made to the milk candy, today's main ingredients include sugar, gelatin, butter and powdered milk.

The White Rabbit brand was transferred to Guanshengyuan in November 1997 . The United States distributor of the candy is Queensway Foods, in San Francisco, California.

Philippine product recall

The Philippine food and drugs administration claimed that the candies contain . The manufacturer of the White Rabbit, Guan Sheng Yuan, cited an independent report by the Shanghai branch of SGS-CSTC, a joint-venture under the Swiss-based SGS Group, the world's largest inspection and testing company, as saying that samples of the White Rabbit ready to be exported overseas and tested contained no toxic substances. . Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority stated after conducting tests, that the White Rabbit Creamy Candy from China was safe for consumption.

On July 24, 2007, the local distributor of White Rabbit bowed to a BFAD recall order from the Philippine market. BFAD met Tuesday with representatives of Cheng Ban Yek and Co. Inc. to discuss the firm's pull out strategy. BFAD officials gave Cheng Ban Yek 15 days to implement the recall, and to submit progress reports every three days, but the latter asked for more time because of the number of places where the products can be bought.

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