Slicing and Dicing the American Population

Welcome to this special issue of Confectioner dedicated to scrutinizing our nation’s many subsets—broken out along gender, age and ethnic lines. We’ve titled our issue “Selling to Today’s Consumer.” Using the singular form of the word consumer is just a stylistic convention, of course. We’re talking consumers with an “s”—consumers in all their intriguing, challenging, and multi-faceted complexity. The whole point of our issue is to examine the diversity of our nation and to provide some practical advice for better targeting the many disparate groups that comprise it.  
More than ever, the U.S. population is a melting pot, and that reality is not about to change in the years ahead. By the year 2050, non-Hispanic Whites will make up only 50 percent of the population!  
Anyone who remains unconvinced about the importance of ethnic market targeting might wish to take a look at the news coming out of Hershey, Pa., in recent weeks. The nation’s largest candy maker has signed a multi-year partnership with Latin singer/actress Thalia and has revealed plans to unveil a line of Latin-inspired confections later this year. And if that wasn’t news enough, Hershey announced that its Mexico-based subsidiary has an agreement to purchase Grupo Lorena, a leading Mexican candy maker with a U.S subsidiary.
We think that our “Today’s Consumer” report contains lots of compelling facts and figures, and some of the most informative were supplied by New York City-based Simmons Market Research Bureau, a leading authority on the behavior of American consumers. If you check out the data—presented in a series of tables on page 41—you can see which subsets of the population say they consume candy the most frequently, as well as which group worries most about it, and much more.  
I’d like to extend a special note of thanks to Simmons Market Research Bureau for enhancing our report by so generously sharing data on various consumer segments and their attitudes about candy.
Low-Carb Revisited
Meanwhile, on to another hot topic—low-carbohydrate eating. Does it seem to you that low-carb diets are losing some of their luster? Some new numbers suggest the trend has peaked.
It’s starting to appear that good, old-fashioned calorie counting may be back in vogue. We noted in our last issue that Russell Stover is testing products under the Calorie Smart banner, and I’ve noticed Kraft’s 100-calorie packs of snacks and cookie products turning up on retail shelves.
One of the good things about the 100-calorie packs is the way that a portion-control message is implicit in their positioning. I like the upbeat, feel-good-about-yourself message that television commercials communicate as well. As in political campaigns, staying positive is the way to go!