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Candy Trends Thrive on Consumers’ Need for Sweet

From Food Processing

Candy and confections is a category that seems to ignore overarching food trends and thrive on consumer whims and nostalgia. At the May Sweets & Snacks Expo, staged by the National Confectioners Association, a dizzying array of new products mixed familiar candy brands with familiar but far-afield food brands. In most cases, the co-brand helped to clearly deliver the novel flavor message. Consider:

  • Guinness Luxury Dark Chocolate Bar (made by LIR Chocolates)
  • Klondike Chocolate Candies (Imaginings3 Inc.)
  • Dr Pepper, Orange Crush, A&W Root Beer and Hawaiian Punch Licorice Strips (KLN Family Brands)

Nostalgia abounds in this category. While some candies no longer sell what they once did or have lost national distribution, Easterners can still find Clark bars and NECCO wafers, Black Jack Gum apparently is produced occasionally by Mondelez and baby boomers can debate whether Mary Janes or Bit-O-Honey are the better nut and honey taffy.

Hershey’s Krackel, a crisped rice candy bar that has only been available in the Hershey Miniatures variety pack, is full-size again for the first time in 20 years. One speaker at the Sweets & Snacks Expo noted the adulation he gets from suit-clad Gen X and Y business leaders when they learn he’s associated with Sour Patch Kids.

The National Confectioners Association, which sponsors the Sweets and Snacks Expo, says attendance at the Chicago show hit a record level this year, more than 16,000 attendees. There were more than 650 exhibitors of candy, snack and gourmet products from 23 countries.

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