This is how the mythical Kojak was created: the gum-filled candy from the 70's, cherry flavor, which is followed … -!

Today few remember Telly Savalas , the American actor famous for playing the policeman Theo Kojak in the television series of the same name . However, few Spaniards are unfamiliar with the legendary Kojak candy, which has been triumphing in candy kiosks for almost half a century. The invention, of the Fiesta company, has been manufactured throughout its life at the company’s plant in Alcalá de Henarés (Madrid), inaugurated in 1366. There the word “lollipops”, although it has been collected for decades by the RAE dictionary, is banned, as it comes from a trademark registered by the competition. They like more “lollipop” , which is also in the dictionary, but it is a Fiesta brand, born from mixing the word “palette” –as lollipops were known in Latin America– and “Pirulí”, a typical Cuban sweet. Kojak is, they insist, a “lollipop”. The first one filled with gum , thanks to a technology that, almost 49 years after its invention, it remains unique in the world . It is impossible to take photos or videos of the specific mechanism by which the candy is filled. It is a state secret. “The patent has expired and they have tried to copy us, but nobody has succeeded,” explains our host, the head of digital marketing Jonathan González. “The experience of how you get to the gum is incopiable.” A best-selling candy From 2000, Fiesta belongs to the multinational Colombina , a huge Colombian food company specialized in all kinds of sugar derivatives, which invoices 700 millions of dollars a year. Colombina is present in 71 countries and handles 800 references , but it was not alien to the power of the brands that he had just acquired. Fiesta recovered since the purchase, when it was in bankruptcy, and has not stopped growing since then Sales of gum-filled lollipops grow at an annual rate of 8% In a world in which there is increasing awareness of the dangers derived from excessive sugar consumption, it is surprising to discover that the category of hard candies moves 300 million euros per year in Spain in retail trade. And it is growing. “The TV does not represent the general opinion of the street,” ditch the head of marketing of Fiesta. Mythical candies such as Kojak continue to enjoy iron health. As González explains, specifically the sales of “candy with sticks filled with gum” grow at an annual rate of 8% , and a 90% of that growth belongs to the Kojak. There are, and there have been, many flavors: cola, watermelon, strawberry and cream … Also “without sugar”. But the classic, the one with cherry , is still Fiesta’s best seller, above its also mythical lollipops, the Lolipop or the Fresquito. We are facing a prodigy of marketing , a field that was very good at the founder of Fiesta, the Puerto Rican Juan Eugenio May oral Renovales . Fiesta bought Kojak’s license before the series even premiered in Spain It was a supplier from the United Kingdom who notified Mayoral that the police series Kojak was in fashion in the country, which had caused a sensation for their sordid environments and a use of violence to which they were little used at the time. The protagonist spent the day with a “lollipop” in his mouth. Mayoral bought Kojak’s license even before the series premiered in Spain: so it was able to get the candy out just when it started airing, in May 1975 . After the launch, Fiesta hired a double of Telly Savalas with which a series of commercials was made in which he was sucking the new bubblegum-filled candy. The company has tried by all means to locate the spot, of which all copies have disappeared. Today we only know him by those who remember him and through stills. Telly Savalas in the role of Teo Kojak. A laboratory of new flavors Fiesta brings out every year around 21 new products, mostly new flavors of their legendary candies . The latest Kojak, intended for the public gamer , is guarana, a flavor that has become fashionable due to energy drinks. There are spicy chills or that paint your tongue. And, in recent years, the company has released buns and flash ice creams , to cover the consumption more typical of Christmas and summer, when hard candies are sold less. The company, explains Gónzalez, has an R&D department that works together with the marketing department to investigate new developments: “There flavors, colors, shapes, textures are tested … Everything. And that’s where the new releases come from. Since marketing a concept has been launched to respond to market trends , with studies of consumers, and that is worked with R&D ”. Direct to the Paladar Newsletter Subscribe to receive our recipes, nutrition information and gastronomy news every day. In the world of candies, the most important thing is to find good aromas , such as cherry Fiesta, source of so many joys for the company, which is one of its best kept secrets. Could it have been the strawberry Kojak? It is not known for sure why it was chosen to make both the lollipops and the cherry-flavored Kojak, but González believes that it has to do with a fashion issue. “At that time the cherry would be a trend,” he explains. “The theme of flavors goes by fashions. It is pure marketing . Also the colors and textures. marketing is that, responding to consumer needs with a product adapted to what they are looking for. 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