Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Tasty Breakfast on the Floor

Today I started out a little later, which is a good thing because I was pretty tired from yesterday but still got up early. My knees and ankles are killing me. It’s not like I don’t walk a lot in my daily life, but there’s something about the shuffling around the convention floor (concrete covered with thin carpet) that really takes its toll.

This morning I started out with an abashed appeal to the powers that be to replace my press badge that I lost yesterday. Because I still had my sample bag (you get issued one to carry for the entire show and cannot carry anything else onto the floor except for business materials) they waived the $25 penalty. The penalty is in place for people that would try to get a new badge each day so that they could get additional bags for filling with candy.

I started out this morning checking in with Bubble Chocolate, whom I’ve become very fond of because the two partners are so open to talking to me about how the process of building buzz and selling is going for them. Bruce Smith, the innovator trying to bring aerated chocolate back to America has an incredible weath of knowlege not only about chocolate as consumers but also about the chemistry and viscosity and all sorts of other things that I’d never considered. I’ll have more on them when I get back to Los Angeles.

I also checked in with Pop Rocks because they have several new products, including Chocolate Covered Pop Rocks ... I got to taste a sample (they don’t have the packaging ready for sampling though) and they’re really interesting. There’s also another product from them, Pop Rocks on a Roll which is a fruit roll up with Pop Rocks!

I sat in a fun session (they not all graphs and charts about grocery endcaps and interruption marketing) hosted by Beth Kimmerle and Will Noonan of Big Tips Candy. They did candy crafts, which sounds like a great idea for a themed party for children. I’ll have more on that and my own take on ideas for having fun with kids (especially on rainy days) in the weeks to come. They have another session later that I hope to sit in on.

Later today is another session called “Chocolate Industry’s Commitment to Cocoa Farms, Families and the Environment” which I hope goes beyond the discussion of fair trade for niche purchases but makes standards for ethical ingredients purchasing.

Also, as I listed yesterday, I tried out the Au’Some Florida Naturals fruit chews. These really are awesome. Tangy, complex and packed full of natural ingredients and no high fructose corn sweetener. It’s all those things that you want in a little morsel without compromise. But what was the most fun (in addition to the fact that they were so interested in talking to me) was the Bubble Roll Message Maker (Candy Addict had a great post on this) which is like the old Dymo label maker but instead of embossing a piece of tape, you imprint a strip of bubble tape. Not only that, you get the bubble tape with it but it can be refilled with just about any standard bubble tape out on the market! It comes with 6 feet of bubble tape and retails for under $2.

I had a nice chat with the Palmer Candy Co folks, who make the Twin Bing. I grabbed one of those to add to my ever-growing collection.

The other wonderful connection I made was over at Sconza candy, which I’ve loved for a while as a company. They’re still family run in Oakland, CA making panned nuts and candies with a great reputation for quality. They’re moving into organics, which I think is really exciting for things like panned nuts. There’s also talk of making a malted milk ball ... I think I need to do some focus group testing with them! I hope that the next time I go to San Francisco I can meet with them and see the operation up close. The Organic Toffee Cashews and Peanuts were pretty darn tasty and just what I needed to carry me through the morning.

You’re wondering if I’ve tried some bad things, and I actually have. There are plenty of things that I’ve sampled and not finished or diplomatically spit out. I’m planning to post my thoughts on those after I leave Chicago ... lest I get myself run out of town!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:02 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     All Candy ExpoNews

  1. it sounds like you’re having a fantastic time & learning a lot.  i regularly attend huge trade shows in my business & totally sympathise with sore feet & missed vendors!  you have an entertaining blog & i look forward to reading it every day.  thanks.

    Comment by anne on 6/07/06 at 10:03 am #
  2. Here are some highlights of the Candy Expo from National IFT you might find intresting.

    Company News
    Nuts and fruit flavors star at Candy Expo

    The bywords at this year’s All-Candy Expo, held in Chicago June 6-8, were “portion control”, “all-natural”, and “fortified”. The emphasis on health and nutrition is clear in new product offerings, which ranged from light-as-air Bubble Chocolate(TM) to Hershey Sticks (a 60-calorie treat), to Nestle’s new Dark Raisinets that boast the antioxidant properties of raisins and dark chocolate.

    According to the National Confectioners Assocation, which hosts the All-Candy Expo, 2,767 new confectionery products debuted in 2005, leading the food and beverage industry in new product introductions. Nearly one-fourth (23%) of candy sales are attributed to new products that have debuted within the last year. Diet candies, chocolate, and gum topped the 2005 hot list. Diet candies experienced a 17.3% increase in sales over the last year, while gum sales rose 4.1%, chocolate sold in boxes, bags, and bars increased 11.1%, and licorice grew 5.8%.

    New in 2006

    Nut sales have blossomed recently, and almonds in particular have enjoyed a place in the sun. Candy makers have taken advantage of the nut craze, launching Snickers(R) Almond Dark, Chocolate Bowl(R) Dark Chocolate Almonds, and Friesinger’s Chocolate Almonds. Peanuts, macadamia nuts, and other nuts and dried fruits are featured in a variety of new trail mixes and candies targeting consumers needing an energy boost and protein.

    Sour and fruit flavors are popular in the non-chocolate candy scene. New sour products include: Mike and Ike’s Tangy Twister flavor; the Starburst(R) Sour line, featuring the new flavors Sour Green Apple, Sour Strawberry and Sour Blue Raspberry; Ice Breakers(R) Fruit Sours; Florida’s Natural Au’some Fruit Juice Sour String; and a customizable six-pack of sweet-and-sour gums from Trident, including a new Green Apple Fusion flavor sugarless gum.

    Sour fruits aren’t the end of the story. Creamy fruit smoothies inspired a new line of Necco wafers. Necco Wafers(R) Smoothies come in blueberry, banana, caramel, tropical, peach and strawberry cream. A new line of Jelly Belly’s, Jelly Belly Smoothies, also bank on the popularity of the healthful fruit beverage.

    Fortified sweets marched on as Jelly Belly added two new flavors - Fruit Punch and Berry Blue - to its Sport Bean line. Sport Beans, which were introduced last year, are specifically formulated for sports performance. Meanwhile, Pure Beauty Strips from N.I. Corporation are edible beauty strips with skin-nutritive ingredients to moisurize, firm, and refine. A trend toward healthful sweets was also visible in Simply Lite Foods’ Sunkist fruit gummies with vitamin C, sugar-free Dove Dark, and Welch’s(R) Fruit Snacks.

    New gums this year include Ford Gum & Machine Co. Pomegranate Power; Farley’s and Sathers Super Bubble(R) Blast (chewy on the outside with a liquid center); Cadbury Adam’s StrideTM, the Ridiculously Long Lasting GumTM; and Skittles(R) Xtreme Fruit Bubble Gum.

    Dark chocolate ruled the chocolate roost, as Ghiradelli launched four new Intense Dark Gourmet Chocolate bars. Twilight Delight (72% cacao) is a “pure, deep and luxurously rich dark chocolate”; Citrus Sunset (60% cacao) fuses dark chocolate with bits of orange and a rich caramel crunch; Toffee Interlude (48% cacao) is a slightly sweeter dark chocolate blend with toffee and caramelized almonds; and Espresso Escape (60% cacao) plays up the popularity of caffeinated candy, combining dark chocolate with a blend of finely ground, deep-roasted espresso beans.

    Botticelli(R)‘s Choco-Omeg line combines Belgian chocolate with omega-3s. Choco-Omeg debuts in three varieties - Memory Formula (chocolate and orange), Calcium Formula (milk chocolate with cookie bites), and Cardio Formula (dark chocolate with raspberry pieces). Other dark chocolate offerings include Madeline(R) Dark Chocolate, with 72% cacao; Jim Beam Chocolate Bourbon - dark chocolate enhanced with the famous Kentucky beverage; and the innovative Bubble Wrap(TM) Chocolate, an aerated chocolate bar which gives consumers “just the right amount of chocolate”. Bubble Chocolate(TM) comes in three flavors: Bubbly 60% Dark, Bubbly Milk Chocolate; and Bubbly Coffee Milk Chocolate.

    Candy designed for kids is now more interactive. New products aimed at children include Monster Memos, wherein kids eat their own words using sweetened wafer paper and food coloring pens; Tung Toos(TM) - tattoos for the tongue; and Candy Logs(TM), which combines the fun of building and candy.

    Comment by chris_the_food_scientist on 6/07/06 at 12:04 pm #
  3. The chocolate covered pop rocks makes me think of a UK bar I had recently, the Crunchie Blast. It’s a chocolate bar with bits of honeycomb, rice krispies, and pop rocks, and omg it was so good.

    Comment by Grace on 6/07/06 at 12:46 pm #
  4. We recently bought kid yogurt that was packaged with pop rocks - seems like they’re trying to break through with a new generation or something!

    Comment by Tricia on 6/08/06 at 4:44 pm #
  5. Cybele's avatar

    grace - I think there was a Wonka bar for a while that had pop rocks in it. Now I think there’s some sort of Godiva truffle that has them in there too.

    It’s an interesting combo!

    Tricia - that seems like a combo only the kids could love.

    Chris - thanks so much for the write up. It’s amazing how many of those things I missed (and how many I didn’t).

    Comment by Cybele on 6/13/06 at 1:53 pm #
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