Topical educational seminars, innovative merchandising and display solutions, and creative new exhibitors were among the highlights of the 2009ALL CANDY EXPO.

Educational Seminars

Retail Marketing Matters
Now, more than ever, marketing makes a difference at retail. Just ask speakers from the 2009ALL CANDY EXPOeducational session: “Retail Merchandising in a Rapidly Changing Environment.”

Retail is the new media, according to experts George Wishart and Steve Frenda. Because traditional print is “under pressure,” the ads they provide are becoming less effective at driving consumers to purchase products, noted Wishart, global managing director, Nielsen In-Store. As a result, manufacturers and retailers must turn to new technologies to reach consumers.

For example, although “the coupon is back,” Wishart said, an increasing number of consumers are getting their coupons online. Retailers such as CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid post coupons to their Web sites for downloading. Meanwhile, Kroger has teamed up with a company called Cell Fire that enables the store’s 40 million frequent shopper card carriers to add coupons to their cards to be swiped at the checkout for discounts.

Coupon usage was up 10% for the fourth quarter of 2008 and 17% for the first quarter of this year, said Frenda, managing director, strategy and development, In-Store Marketing Institute. And 89% of shoppers anticipate using coupons in the future as part of their “path to purchase,” which includes pre-planning for shopping trips by making lists, he added.

In order to get their products on those shopping lists in the future, marketers also must turn their attention to other technological advancements such as mobile devices. In today’s world, “we’re all connected,” Wishart said. For example, consumers ages 13-17 send 2,500 text messages per month, on average, while new moms use social media to keep up with friends. The industry must find ways to reach consumers through these mediums.

Back in stores, digital signage is another area of interest for retailers, but “buyers beware,” Wishart warned. “No one’s figured it out yet.” Once manufacturers work out the kinks, sight, sound and motion targeted at consumers in “real-time” could be huge. In the meantime, “good old-fashioned displays will drive your business.”

On Display

Merchandising Means
Recognizing that in these recessionary times, retailers need new ways to increase sales and drive the growth of confectionery products, the National Confectioners Association (NCA) provided 2009ALL CANDY EXPOattendees with useful tools in this area.

Exhibitors in The Retail Merchandising Solutions Center consisted of manufacturers of displays for confectionery retailers. Among them was Midway Display, a maker of custom and stock displays and accessories that are built largely from recycled materials and can easily be broken down for shipping. The company’s latest innovation is its patented Clipper display, which is fully collapsible, helping clients to save on freight, space and materials.

In-aisle architecture, including signage and shelving, is a focus for Display Source Alliance, which works and shares booth space with Alliance, a division of Rock-Tenn. DSA featured colorful in-store solutions for gum and mints, movie candy and snacks, as well as a Premium Chocolates display currently being used by a leading retailer.

Meanwhile, Trion Industries showcased versatile ways of merchandising candy and snacks through back-loading and adjustable-width displays, which increase facings, reduce stocking labor and create less shrink. Retailers who use the new racking system should see 20-30% in sales growth, the exhibitor noted, adding that the “profit center” pays for itself in just three months.

Other Solutions Center participants included CCW Products, Labels & Decals International, Professional Image Printing and Packaging, Trade Fixtures and Union Street Tin Co.

The Magic of Merchandising Display Gallery offers an even more visual look at point-of-purchase, including permanent floor displays, counter displays and shippers featuring brands ranging fromM&M’SChocolate Candies toToblerone toJelly BellytoDove toPretzel CrispstoToxic Waste. One display that stood out was for Hammond’s Candies, which showcased oversized candy canes inside rows of metal buckets. Another display combinedNabisco Honey Maid Honey Grahams,Hershey’s Milk Chocolate andKraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows, encouraging shoppers to make s’mores. Meanwhile, a four-sided seasonal display for Russell Stover featured fancy foil-wrapped boxes of chocolates in a red-and-gold theme for the December holidays. Another eye-catcher wasQuench Gum’stwo-ft.-tall, water bottle-shaped dispenser.

Editor's Note: The ALL CANDY EXPO will return to Chicago’s McCormick Place West, May 25-27, 2010, with a new name: Sweets & Snacks EXPO. For more information, visit

New in Town

The following were among the new exhibitors at the 2009 ALL CANDY EXPO.

Abdallah Candies
Agros Trading Confectionery Sp. z o.o.
Almost Nuts
AmuseMints, LLC
Astor Chocolate Corp.
Brent & Sam’s Cookies
Cary’s of Oregon
CCW Products, Inc.
Chocmod USA
Classic Foods
Classy Candy Co.
CocoBon Chocolatier
Corazonas Foods, Inc.
Crunchco Snacks, LLC

Das Foods, LLC (Das Lollipops, right)
Dispensa-Matic Label Dispensers
Dulces Karla
DURUKAN Confectionery
Evans Food Group
Galler Chocolatiers SA
Galmopan/Robert Krum & Assoc.

Get Silly Ice Cream (right)
Global Confectionery Source
Go Fast Gum Company
Golden Gate Nut Co.
Golden Road Foods
H.K. Anderson
Harry and David
Holland Agencies FZ, LLC
Independent Can Co.
Indianola Pecan House
Jensen Candy Co.
JJP&R International, Inc.
Jonny Almond Nut Co.
Karma Candy
Kraft Foods International
Labels & Decals International

LaboGroup (LeWhif, right)
Lambertz USA
Lim Kum Kee Foodstuff Co., Ltd.
Mars Retail Group
McSteven’s, Inc.
Midway Displays, Inc.
MNC Stribbons
MNT Trading, Inc.
Mobile Merchandiser
Mrs. May’s Naturals
Nonni’s Food Co.
Nostalgic Specialty Food Products, LLC
Old Time Confections
OPTO International, Inc.
Orange Blossom Fudge
Oskri Organics
Overseas Food Trading Ltd.
Preferred Popcorn, LLC
Professional Image Printing and Packaging
Project 7
Reuther Flexibles America
SB Global Foods, Inc.
Simply Scrumptious Confections, Inc.
Store Brands Group
Strawberry Hill Confectionery
Sweets in Bloom
Tecnica Mexicana de Alimentacion
The Great American Pretzel Co. 
The Painted Pretzel 
The Real Magic Potion Co. 
The Revere Group 
TinPax Corporation 
Tinwerks Packaging Co. 
Trion Industries 
TruSweets, LLC 
Truth Worldwide, LLC 
Twang Partners, LTD. 
Union Street Tin Co. 
VitaminMints, LLC 
Wallace Designs Group, LLC 
Western Smokehouse 
Wisconsin Sausage Co. 
Yohay Baking Co. 
Yupi North America