Candyland’s Changing Terrain

All Candy Expo reveals shift of niche consumers to the forefront.
The take on this year’s All Candy Expo show floor — it’s not just your grandfather’s candy aisle anymore. Nor your grandmother’s, great aunt’s or great uncle’s. New candy consumers are not only shaping the industry’s future, they are affecting the present.
What were once niche customer targets in confections now spell big business for the marketplace. What were some of the confectionery trends we spotted? Here’s a peek at just a few of them.
Candy on the edge. The bar keeps getting raised in “outrageous novelty” candy. Fresh with a Fear Factor license, Brand New Products succeeds in its goal of “super gross” selections — Gummy Frog Legs (with crunchy candy bones and gooey dipping sauce); Gross-Out Gummy Breakfast (candy liquefied liver protein shake, duck egg and silkworm cereal); Slimy Gummy Octopus (swimming in sour ooze); Test Tube Acid Bath (gooey gummy worm in sour ooze); and the most outrageous of all —Crunchy Larva, which is 100 percent real bugs — in cheddar cheese and Mexican Spice (thereby simultaneously addressing the ethnic trend) flavors.
Other “edgy” items include: Hot Lix Scorpion Suckers (edible scorpions encased in a hard candy sucker of apple, banana, blueberry or strawberry) from Barba, Becerra & Rogers Candy Company, and Harry Potter Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, now with two more flavors: rotten egg and bacon, made by Jelly Belly Candy Co. for Cap Candy.
Ethnic and exotic. Candy speaks a universal language that is getting spicier in the United States with the Rockaleta line from Sonric’s of Mexico and importer Sweet Success Candy Co. It includes Rockaleta’s Shok Pack of artificially flavored mango chewing gum coated with chili; Rockaleta Lollipops with alternate layers of chili and artificially flavored mango gum center; and Rockaleta Dark, a 19-ounce bag of lollipops with alternate chili layers and a tamarind center.
Mainstream candy player Master­foods has incorporated a bit of ethnicity in its new Baja-flavored Starbursts, with exotic-sounding flavors like limon, baja dragon fruit, and Aztec punch.
The lows and the lights. Russell Stover’s Whitman’s brand has worked in sync with a powerful diet brand, Weight Watchers, to create a chocolate candy line that allows dieters to easily incorporate candy in their lives using Weight Watchers’ famous points system.
Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate products have been reformulated with a combination of sugar substitutes to offer consumers “a richer, creamier taste and texture for an improved candy sensation.” This applies to all products in the line, including its two new varieties: Twizzlers Strawberry Twists (bite-size pieces) and Reese’s White Peanut Butter Cup.
Fit and functional. Nutra-Trim Gum from GumRunners LLC is enhanced with chromium, L-Carnitine, guarana and green tea extract to increase metabolism and control appetite.