Children ages 6 to 12 from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas served as judges for ECRM’s Kid’s Choice Awards last month, giving three manufacturers’ candy products top honors.

“Junior candy buyers” from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas chose their favorite products from among more than 25 vendor-donated items at this year’s second Kid’s Choice Awards, held Sept. 22 during ECRM’s Candy Annual Planning Event.

Approximately 60 children ages 6 to 12 participated in the program, which began with an inside look at the confectionery industry by Deborah Cassell, executive editor ofCandy Industry andRetail Confectionermagazines, which sponsored the awards. Cassell educated attendees about the different categories of candy, from chocolate to sugar-free to novelty.

In addition, the kids heard from Paul Minger and Brian Rinker of  Walgreens, who provided an inside look at what it’s like to be a professional candy buyer. Minger also asked the boys and girls for feedback on a product the company is considering putting in stores, giving them their first taste of being junior candy buyers.

The budding buyers visited ECRM rooms belonging to three different exhibitors - Innovative Candy Concepts, The Incredible Chocolate Co. and Unican USA - where they got a sense of what it’s like on the trade show floor, as well.

At long last, the children got to sample products ranging from chocolate and gum to sweet and sour confections. They then voted for their favorites, based not just on taste but packaging design.In the end, first place went to Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of The Topps Co., for itsJuicy Drop Pop. Candy Dynamics’Toxic Wastebrand took second place. Third went to Innovative Candy Concepts’Monster Goo.

The winners of the Kid’s Choice Awards were announced during dinner on Sept. 23. The chosen manufacturers received free advertising fromCandy IndustryandRetail Confectionermagazines.

The next Kid’s Choice Awards will take place in 2010.

For more information about upcoming ECRM events,