Let’s Hear it for the Little Guys
Lisbeth Echeandia
Direct Line: (903) 965-9300
e-mail: lecheandia@stagnito.com
The importance of the smaller retailers needs to be appreciated. Why bring this up? Because I’ve heard complaints from these very retailers that they’re underappreciated! And in a real way. Not treated with respect by confectionery and snack vendors. Left out of the loop for programs and promotions that could work for them. Presented with edited product selections by their vendors.
“I know we’re quite capable of deciding for ourselves which products work for the shoppers in our stores,” says one CEO. “I really don’t like being approached with a ‘we know what’s best for you’ attitude from manufacturers and their representatives.”
Whether they’re labeled convenience stores, small grocers, neighborhood stores, specialty stores, bodegas or independent or small-chain drug stores, these outlets are responsible for selling a lot of candy! And to be clear, the smaller retailers I’m referring to include regional chains, small chains and single-store units. The stores themselves may not be large, but their importance to the candy category is clear. They’re a powerful part of the confectionery industry.  
It could be argued that these retailers sell the most important segment of confectionery — impulse confections. Particularly candy bar singles, gums, mints and kids’ products are at the core of their product selection.
Growing Sales
This is important information to help grow confectionery sales. Singles, for example, can be thought of as a trial size or sampling size. One of the great strengths of the candy business is the existence of channels and points of sales organized to sell singles.
Consumers can try a new confectionery item for less than a dollar before “investing” in a larger size. And that’s how the year-round candy business goes and grows.
I would suggest that manufacturers should consider working harder to help out the “little guy” with information and with proven suggestions that build sales whenever possible. The help might also be in the form of point-of-sales materials including appropriately small displays and distributor programs that can reach these retailers with singles and new kids’ items, for example.
We’ll take our share of the responsibility seriously. We’ve started a very proactive program to get sales effectiveness information out there. You’ll be seeing it soon.
All Candy Expo — Expanding and Changing
The board of trustees of the National Confectioners Association will open the doors of the annual All Candy Expo to manufacturers of cookies and biscuits, sweet snacks, nuts and salty snacks beginning in 2007. The decision to expand the types of products on display at the trade show – previously limited to gum, candy and chocolate items – follows the trustees’ decision to adopt the global definition of confectionery.
Makers of such items as breakfast snacks, fruit snacks and similar products will be eligible to exhibit; the expansion does not include manufacturers of ice cream, meat snacks and packaged cakes.