The Amazing Engineering That Gave Us Raisinets

What do you get when you combine American raisins, sweet chocolate, and the right equipment to polish? One of our favorite treats: Raisinets.

One specific grape, a method of polishing, and the right kind of chocolate are just a few of the key components in making Raisinets. Let’s grab a handful of this sweet treat and chew on some fascinating information.

It Takes a Special Raisin

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While raisins can be made from dried grapes that are purple, blue, or yellow, it’s the pale green Thompson Grapes that are the choice for Raisinets. Thompsons are known in most of the world as sultana grapes and were brought west from the Ottoman Empire by William Thompson.

Today, nearly a third of the grapes and an astounding 97% of raisins in California are Thompson Grapes. 5.1 billion of those raisins end up in Raisinets. And that’s not a typo: 5.1 BILLION!

Give Thanks to the Blumenthal Boys

Calvin Coolidge was president, Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic, and Philadelphia’s Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate Company created Raisinets all in the same year. As movie-going grew in the 1930’s and 40’s, so did the popularity of these magical chocolate covered raisins.

But the Blumenthal company wasn’t just a one-trick-pony. They also gave us Sno-Caps, Goobers, and Chunky bars. Legal troubles in the 60’s and 70’s led to eventual bankruptcy for BBCC, but Raisinets survived. The brand was sold to a few different companies, including Nestle who eventually sold their confections to Ferrero for $2.8 billion.

Your Raisinets Are Polished 

The early incarnations of Raisinets were made in small mixing and polishing pans. It would take about 90 minutes to coat and another 60 minutes to polish the candies just to get about 350 pounds of product. While 350 pounds seems like a substantial amount, it’s not nearly enough to quench our craving for these shiny, chocolate covered raisins.

Today, a typical batch of Raisinets is 2,500 pounds, equivalent to about one-million pieces. In the last 24 hours, 21 million new Raisinets were coated and polished.

Bob Luebbe, President of Custom Powder Systems, recalls when Nestle owned the product, and an unexpected problem came with increased production. “The Raisinets were in a 4-foot container and were getting stuck together under their own weight,” Luebbe explained. “The solution we found was to slow-tumble the product so they would separate without crumbling the chocolate.”

On to Hollywood and Holidays

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Is there such a thing as a Raisinets holiday? You better believe it. Mark your calendars for next March 24, celebrate “National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day,” and give thanks to whoever comes up with those holidays.

And, if Raisinets are known for anything, it’s likely being a movie theater treat. Each year the candy continues to rank as a favorite at cinemas, and many praise the surprising taste-combo of popcorn and Raisinets.

Are Raisinets the first treat you go for at the movie theater?

At Custom Powder Systems, we love learning (and chocolate), and are standing by to build the equipment you need when you’re ready to create your dream product. Contact us here to let us know how we can help.

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