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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

All Candy Expo

Today is the first day of the National Confectioners Association's All Candy Expo -- a trade show dedicated to the multiple categories that fall under the giant candy category umbrella. From sweet to sour, hard, chewy or soft, upscale gourmet to convenience store fare, this candy show's got it all. It's even got a section for snack food. Even if many of the products at the All Candy Expo are not generally products our retailers would carry (though the Gourmet Marketplace continues to grow!), the All Candy Expo is without a doubt one of my favorite shows to cover.

As a kid, I was always a candy hoarder rather than an OD-er -- I was always the one in the family who still had Halloween candy at Easter -- but at my first All Candy Expo, I quickly realized that a change of strategy was in order. You can't walk the show floor at the All Candy Expo without trying something, which makes it quite easy to OD. Nevertheless, to properly cover a candy show, one must push oneself to the limit, whatever the outcome may be. Sugar highs and lows, stomach aches and potential cavities be darned -- this is business and I will be there for my readers!

But the show isn't all about sampling. There is an emphasis on education, with the Merchandising Marketplace and all the educational seminars. Here's a line-up of today's events:

8:00 - 8:45 AM New Item Trends
Richard J. George, Ph.D., Professor of Food Marketing, Saint Joseph's University
Joan Steuer, President, Chocolate Marketing LLC
Mani Niall, Executive Chef, Just Desserts

10:00 - 10:45 AM Retail Merchandising in a Rapidly Changing Environment
George Wishart, Global Managing Director, Nielsen In-Store
Steve Frenda, Managing Director, Strategy and Development, In-Store Marketing Institute

12:00 - 12:45 PM The Economy's Impact on Candy (lunch served)
Jason English, Research Associate, JP Morgan

2:00 - 2:45 PM Better for You Snacking
Jill Manchester, Vice President of Immediate Consumption, Kraft Foods
Michael Season, President of Natural Snacks LLC
Michael Rosenberg, President and CEO of The Promotion In Motion Companies, Inc.

Stay tuned for more information on the All Candy Expo! I'll be covering the show live tomorrow via Twitter, so be sure to subscribe at

You can also check out the NCA's blog, for additional coverage!


In photos:
-Emergency Chocolate Bar from Bloomsberry & Co., booth #1483
-Brand new lollis from Das Foods LLC, booth #766
-Funley's Delicious' Stix in the Mud, booth #1618