How does one define a confection? This topic came up recently amongst colleagues, one that’s certainly been debated over the years. For many veterans in the industry, there’s no debate…it’s all about candy. It is simply a sweet treat. But as we all know, things change.  

Bernie Pacyniak

Today, we have buyers who deal with candies and snacks. Our largest gathering of confectionery manufacturers is called the Sweets & Snacks Expo. And Americans are snacking now more than ever; the three square meals a day — something an old timer like myself swears by — is becoming an anomaly rather than the norm.

Even though I tend to be purist in many aspects — I only grill using charcoal; purchase coffee in bean versus ground form; decorate only real, live Christmas trees, and air dry my own sausages— I do realize it’s not always possible to live life in a black-and-white lifestyle.

So yea, I enjoy eating occasionally at fast-food restaurants; will drink warm beers and white wines; and watch unbelievably stupid reality shows. Okay, that last one is a rarity.

But back to the confections debate and whether a chocolate-covered pretzel is a snack, a sweet and savory confection or a bit of both. Does it matter whether a confectionery manufacturer produces a chocolate-covered pretzel or whether it’s primarily a snack company doing it?

Anyone who travels to Europe knows that folks there have a much broader view of confections and the confectionery industry. Ice cream? Sure, it’s a sweet in a different format. Pastries, well, by all means. Snack, nutrition, energy and snack bars, par for the course.

From my perspective, the confectionery category has and is continuing to evolve. I really believe it would be terribly short-sighted on our part to limit confections to certain categories. The more the merrier, I say.

And because I’m travelling today, that’s where I going to end this discussion. I’d like to hear our comments on this, whether you’re a purist or a pragmatist.