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Sunday, March 12, 1995     Page: 1G

The scoop on a `Chubby' new flavor
    Without Bruce Gutterman and his peanut butter-filled pretzels, ``Chubby
    Hubby'' might just be a term wives use to chide their husbands into losing weightWith the help of the 42-year-old Gutterman's Edwardsville-based flavor and snack food development companies, however, "Chubby Hubby" will be rolled out Wednesday in York as Ben & Jerry's latest ice cream flavor.
    "Bruce is part of the company that connected us to peanut butter pretzels," says Arnold Carbone, a member of the Ben & Jerry's team responsible for the new flavor, which also includes vanilla malted ice cream and chocolate fudge swirl. "We took the concept and developed it from there."
    Carbone says for the last several years, Gutterman has been proposing a flavor using the peanut butter-filled pretzels he developed in 1984. But it took a practical joke in York to move the Waterbury, Vt., company from discussion to development.
    As the story goes, some friends mixed up a fictitious Ben & Jerry's flavor to drive an ice-cream-lover acquaintance nuts. The friends went so far as to print a label for the fake "Chubby Hubby" flavor. The acquaintance, who loved the surreptitiously made treat, fumed when he couldn't find it in stores. The friends finally confessed. The acquaintance suggested that Ben & Jerry's might actually be interested in making such a flavor.
    The story got back to Ben & Jerry's. The company got back to Gutterman.
    "It has been a 10-year road to develop the flavor that we are watching the birth of," says Gutterman, who started his Flavors 'R' Specialty and Snacks 'R' Specialty companies in the mid-1970s. His companies develop snacks and flavors and sell them to others to manufacture and market.
    "With a lot of patience, we knew the product would overcome obstacles. Now, the proof is in the ice cream, so to speak."
    Gutterman has been helping to develop ice cream flavors since his family-owned company opened. His first success came with Baskin Robbins, which used his company's peanut butter in combination with chocolate.
    "We struck gold with Baskin Robbins," says Gutterman, who said his company does several million dollars in annual sales. "Once we showed it was successful, ice cream companies which had frowned upon this flavor combination picked it up."
    Today, Gutterman says his company's peanut butter, which is manufactured under contract by a North Carolina firm, shows up in ice cream and frozen yogurt from Ben & Jerry's, TCBY, Baskin Robbins and others.
    Gutterman's next task is to talk more clients into making ice cream using his peanut butter pretzels as an ingredient. The pretzels are already manufactured and marketed as a snack food under several brand names by Anderson Bakery Co. Inc. of Lancaster County. Anderson Bakery is one of the nation's largest producers of private label pretzel products, according to the Snack Food Association.
    "We are relatively unique. Other companies offer `me, too' items. We're offering a one-of-a-kind snack," Gutterman says. "Our overall objective is to create a market for peanut butter pretzels."
    Jim Mullay is The Times Leader's business editor. His column appears on Sundays. Call him at 829-7178 with your comments or ideas.
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