Presented by the National Confectioners Association (NCA), this year’s event, which took place over three days at McCormick Place, Chicago from 19 May, highlighted continued growth for candy products in the wider snack category, according to the group.
Citing figures jointly supplied by the NCA and IRI, the event organisers claim candy, gum and chocolate products dominated snack demand for the twelve-month period ending 19 April 2009, reflecting an industry shift towards fruits, grains and functionality.
Highlighting the overall potential in the candy segment, chocolate recorded annual growth for a fourth consecutive year with US sales up by 28 per cent in 2008, mirroring growing demand for a variety of products. Liquorice products posted a seven per cent hike in demand over the twelve months with gummy and chewy candy sales up 10.7 per cent, according to the figures. The NCA states that sugar free gums also posted strong growth for the period with sales up by ten per cent.
According to the NCA, Key trends highlighted at this year’s All Candy Expo suggest a further push by the industry towards seemingly indulgent twists on leading brands like multi-flavoured skittles or sugar-free Hershey’s chocolate with granola.
Indulging in chocolate
With chocolate being increasingly promoted as an ‘affordable indulgence’, even in the current economic downturn, organisers at the All Candy Expo suggest the confectionery industry may be well placed to provide sought after treats for consumers.
“Now more than ever, chocolate is proving every day to be gourmet, with premium products that won't break the bank,” states the NCA.
Whether or not using ingredients like hazelnuts and almonds, or combining milk and dark chocolate formulations can maintain consumer interest for the indulgent, confectioners’interest in so-called ‘exotic’ ingredients seems likely to continue, according to the All Candy Expo lineup at least.
Of 450 manufacturers at the event, candy makers of various size were present with products like dark chocolate-covered coffee beans or a ginger and lemon flavoured lollipop.