It’s a tough job, but somebody had to do it: With expiration dates looming, one Canadian hero endeavored to give away a huge amount of candy — and she succeeded, with time to spare.
Crystal Regehr Westergard, of Camrose, Alberta, sells old-school candy through her business, Canadian Candy Nostalgia. According to the CBC, Westergard decided in 2021 to resurrect her husband’s favorite childhood chocolate bar, Rum and Butter.
Originally manufactured by Cadbury, the rum-flavored caramel and chocolate treat disappeared in the 1990s. Westergard had experience reviving beloved candy bars — she’d already brought back the Cuban Lunch bar, her mom’s fave, and it was a hit.
The Rum and Butter was up next, complete with a cute ad:
The disorder of the pandemic threw a wrench in the plan, however. The factory Westergard contracted to produce the bars was dealing with staffing issues, which led to production delays, which led to Westergard being stuck with 133,000 candy bars marked to expire in June 2023.
“It’s immense,” Westergard told The Globe and Mail. “If I think about it too much, I’ll start to shake.”
Westergard is not a candy distributor by trade. She’s a physical therapist who makes candy on the side. And though Canadian food regulations don’t require chocolate bars to have an expiration date, grocery stores do — meaning all those soon-to-expire bars were not attractive to large-scale buyers.
“I really hope that we are not making a date with the Calgary dump,” Westergard told the CBC.
As word spread about Westergard’s unusual dilemma, ideas and requests poured in. Westergard had to reject most of them, however — the amount of candy bars was just too massive for many organizations to handle, and shipping long distances was prohibitive.
But then, finally, after a round or two of press, Westergard found some spots who could not only accept the candy, they could put it to good use, as noted in this Facebook post.
The lucky Rum and Butter recipients now include shelters, food banks, churches, Run Like Ole and Run Calgary. One rural fire department that plans to sell them for fundraising received 16,000 bars. Westergard even got an assist from a trucking company, Purolator Courier Corporation, that transported the bars for free.
Here’s a post about that donation:
In the comments of the various social media posts, many people waxed nostalgic about Rum and Butters and offered to take some of the overload.
“I think I’ll look back on it and say I’m glad I did it,” Westergard told the CBC. “But when you’re in the typhoon whirlwind it’s a lot. Yeah, it’s a lot.”