Great news for sweet treat lovers! The revered campfire icon,, the S’more, has been re-invented. S’mores are now easier to make and better-than-ever thanks to Stuffed Puffs, the chocolate-filled marshmallow that debuted this summer at Walmart.
This righteous reincarnation is the brainchild of Mike Tierney who, in 2012, left a career in fine dining to craft the very first batch of Stuffed Puffs in his mother’s kitchen. The idea actually originated years earlier, when Tierney was just 18. Though on his way to becoming a classicly-trained chef, he shared the frustration so many have experienced when biting into a traditional S’more–chocolate that’s gooey at the edges but still solid in the center.
Stuffed Puffs puts real milk chocolate inside the marshmallow, so the chocolate melts while the marshmallow roasts. It virtually guarantees a perfect S’more every time. Better taste…with less mess. True perfection!
Traditionally, S’mores season ends with Labor Day. However, with Stuffed Puffs, perfect S’mores are just as easy to make in the oven or microwave indoors as over an open fire outside. In fact, jast, month the company introduced the Stuffed Puffs S’mores Kit, available online at stuffedpuffs.com and at Walmart, and launched a new fall-and-winter phenomenon, S’mores Indoors. The Stuffed Puffs S’mores Kit includes a bag of Stuffed Puffs, of course, plus two sleeves of graham crackers. There’s no additional chocolate required!
I had the opportunity to connect with Mike regarding the origins of Stuffed Puffs, its market reception and the brand’s relationship with the renowned electronic music producer and DJ, Marshmello. Here’s a bit of that conversation.
MK: Let’s first talk about the innovation here…has this ever been done before–chocolate stuffed into a marshmallow?
MT: The idea has probably been around for as long as the S’more, and there have been some attempts at executing the concept commercially. But, before Stuffed Puffs, no one successfully manufactured anything close to our product. Our technology is exclusive to Stuffed Puffs.
Everyone–and I mean everyone–in the candy industry said Stuffed Puffs were impossible to make. I was literally laughed out off the building while meeting with a potential manufacturing partner. I had to teach myself enough mechanical engineering and food science to eventually develop the complex manufacturing process used today to make Stuffed Puffs.
MK: How long did it take from the idea manifesting in a realistic business sense to final product being available on store shelves?
MT: The idea came to me in 2008 while sitting around a summer campfire following my freshman year at culinary school. After graduation, while working at one of New York City’s finest restaurants, I continued to obsess over the idea. I made the first Stuffed Puff by hand in my mom’s kitchen in 2012 and applied for the trademark soon thereafter. I then raised some “friends and family” money and, by building a few Rube Goldberg-esque machines, created a proprietary manufacturing process.
By 2014, my resources were exhausted, so I started producing fresh, better-for-you baked goods for a Long Island retailer. That blossomed into the Mikey’s brand, which is now carried in over 8,000 stores nationwide. In mid-2017, I met the founders of the private equity group, Factory LLC, who became my partners in Mikey’s and, eventually, Stuffed Puffs. A year later, I was named to Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30,” which put some wind in my sails. With Factory’s financial and technical support we erected a plant and rolled Stuffed Puffs out at Walmart right before Memorial Day.
MK: The Forbes 30 Under 30 not only put you on the radar for Mikey’s but also rocketed you into the orbit of popular DJ, Marshmello. What is that about and how did that happen?
MT: In September of 2018, I was invited to the U.S. Forbes “30 Under 30” conference in Boston, along with Marshmello and 28 other honorees. I arrived late on the evening Marshmello was performing and got locked out of the packed venue. However, I lingered by the gate, loved the music, and marveled at his ability to mesmerize an audience. Returning to my hotel, I researched the name of his manager, Moe Shalizi, and sent him a note telling him about my marshmallows. I had zero expectation that I would get a response, which arrived within minutes. The next day, I met Moe in Boston and pitched him the idea. A few months later, Marshmello and Moe joined Stuffed Puffs as equity partners. They all have been phenomenal partners, always promoting and otherwise supporting the brand.
MK: What is next for Stuffed Puffs?
MT: The first summer at Walmart was a huge success, and actually beyond our expectatons. And S’mores Indoors is also catching on faster than we anticipated. So we are now focused on building the brand and expanding distribution to give everyone in America easy access to Stuffed Puffs. We are also building a new 150,000 square foot factory to keep up with the escalating demand.
Stuffed Puffs is the textbook definition of the old adage, “making a good thing even better.” Everyone loved S’mores before. Now, they love them even more!
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist. As prolific consumer trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, Merilee keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. The best-of-the-best across all product, service and travel categories—as well as noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers—are spotlighted in her exclusive cross-media platform that reaches multi-millions each month through several syndication channels: print and online publications as well as broadcast TV and terrestrial radio. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor / Facebook www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.
Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided at no cost or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.