Changing Desires Highlight Need for Creative Thinking, Action

by Tonia Becker VerShaw
The candy category is a lot of fun. Bill Kelley, NCA Chairman, said at this year’s NCA State of the Industry Conference, “It is a great day to be a candy maker.” I translated his enthusiastic comment to, “It is a great day to buy, sell, and manufacture candy or be in a service capacity to the category.”
Though it is a great day to be in the candy business, the world of the candy category is changing. Confectioner magazine has decided to focus on two key strategic issues — the changing consumer and the need for creativity in the category. In order to prosper, we must understand consumers better than we ever have before and we must creatively fill their needs in a superior fashion.
To help the industry better understand the complex landscape of today’s consumer environment, Confectioner presents a special report in this issue, “Fitting In.” We closely examine where candy fits into the diets and lifestyles of today’s consumers, (many of whom are trying to eat a healthier diet), and the frightening number of people dealing with Type II Diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses. Our July/August issue of Confectioner will be dedicated to examining this complex consumer landscape. Entitled “Selling Today’s Consumer 2004,” the issue will analyze each key demographic segment of the consumer population and discuss how they interact with the candy category.
To facilitate the need for creative response to consumer needs, the May issue of Confectioner launched our “Candy Concept” Series. This series is a collaborative effort between Confectioner magazine and JMP Creative to help all of us manage our businesses more creatively. Morris National, Inc., the makers of ZIP Sours Natural Flavor Candy, generously sponsored the series’ launch. The Candy Concept Series came about to teach the industry brainstorming, idea generation and creative problem-solving techniques. If there ever was a time in the history of the industry that idea generation and creative problem solving expertise is paramount, this is it. The Candy Concepts Series will continue throughout 2004. In 2005, the education will continue with a new information delivery focus. I encourage you to remove these inserts and save them. They are three-hole punched for convenient storing. In fact, Confectioner has binders available for you. Don’t hesitate to contact me for information on how to receive one.
The candy category has so much opportunity for growth and prosperity. However, to achieve this, we all are going to need to continually reevaluate our businesses, our merchandising and our product offerings.
Confectioner magazine is proud to have what we hope will be an integral role in helping to educate the industry and move us all in the right direction.