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What's New in Candy

CHICAGO -- Retailers from far and wide gathered at Chicago’s McCormick Place Lakeside Center June 14-16 for a look at the top trends and new products at the 2005 All Candy Expo.

In 2004, 995 new products were launched in the confectionery industry, comprising 20 percent of total new food products. Those new product introductions included 395 non-chocolate, 325 chocolate, 189 snack bars and 86 gum products, according to the National Confectioners Association.

New products at this year's show illustrated some new emerging trends in the industry sure to impact retailers at every level. Limited-edition items, such as dark chocolate, white chocolate, "inside out" candies and fun colors, are becoming increasingly popular with both consumers and candy manufacturers.

Several candy companies pair these limited-edition confectionery items with summer blockbuster movies like DreamWorks' Madagascar and Warner Brothers' Harry Potter, in addition to the continuing popularity of the Star Wars licensing franchise.

Gourmet candy items were another trend seen on the show floor, bringing an air of sweet sophistication. New creations like Wine Lover's Chocolate and chocolate-covered coffee beans have been introduced as a large consumer-based push for high-end chocolates and other sophisticated treats prevails.

Blasts from the past, such as Mary Janes, Nerds and Runts, are making a comeback and bringing adults back to childhood, and fun, wacky flavors are bringing a whole new twist to the tastebuds. New flavors like berry blasts, tropical twists, spicy cinnamon and sweet and sour are taking over the market.

Finally, new energy-charged gum and mint products were a definite mainstay on the show floor. Gums filled with caffeine and guarana had attendees’ jaws chomping and eyes open all day long.

According to NCA, Halloween continues to be the largest candy-selling holiday, with Easter, Christmas and the winter holidays and Valentine’s Day also remaining big drivers in the confectionery market.
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