Talk Back to Us – Please!

Mary Ellen Kuhn

Not long ago I was at a gathering where the facilitator was especially sincere about eliciting participation from the attendees. “Look,” she said, “this is your meeting. What do you want to talk about?”
Believe me when I say that we feel the same way. Confectioner is your magazine, and we’re anxious to hear your thoughts. In fact, we’ve got a specific question for you right now: Who do you think deserves to be our 2007 Retailer of the Year? You can make a suggestion in a variety of ways, including the following:
• By picking up the phone and giving me at call at (847) 405-4066;
• By going to and clicking on the Retailer of the Year ballot on our home page;
• By faxing back the Retailer of the Year ballot that appears on page 46 of this issue.
New and notable
While we’re on the topic of accolade-worthy achievements (i.e. Retailer of the Year recognition), a couple of manufacturer/marketer initiatives come to mind this month.
If it’s made in the USA, then flag it! It’s a global economy and not every awesome confectionery item is made here on our home turf. Nor does it need to be. But when a company has made a commitment to U.S. production, why not celebrate that and make it part of the consumer outreach effort by flagging it on the package?
I recently got to preview some new Atkinson Candy Company SKUs with a red, white and blue package design motif and a “made in the USA” banner on the package. The packaging presentation made sense because it was both attractive and authentic, given that Atkinson is committed to U.S. production.
This positioning might even be expanded to the retail environment. I’m envisioning a summer candy endcap tied into the Fourth of July holiday, featuring U.S.-produced products and decked out in the colors of our country. Might be worth a try, especially since the summer months are crying out for a bit more candy merchandising creativity.
Color it exotic. Switching gears a bit, I also really like what I’m seeing with some of the new chocolate bars with “country of origin” positioning. What’s caught my eye of late is the use of bold, vibrant colors on packaging for these premium bars. Good idea! There’s just no need to overdo it on the brown — especially when your intention is to communicate a bit of the glamour and intrigue of a far-distant locale.