All Candy EXPO—the Jury Will be Back Shortly …

Lisbeth Echeandia
Direct Line: 903.965.9300

The time slot of the All Candy Expo has, of course, been a topic of much discussion. The September time slot is certainly one that doesn’t work for everyone — whether buyer or seller. But the decision was made, and now we’ll see what impact — negative, positive or none — the change has on the value of the show. Looking at the list of buyers planning to attend the All Candy Expo, I’m confident that exhibitors will have a chance to show their products to the customers they want to reach. Hopefully, you’ve been impressed with the pre-show marketing from this year’s exhibitors!
As you’re reading this, you might be attending the show or are in your office and have just finished leafing through the new product section of the magazine to see some of the products that were introduced at the show. There are/were a lot. And it will be interesting to see how many of those new SKUs actually see the light of day on store shelves or will be available to the consumer a year from now.
I’m always impressed with the innovation of food companies, and confectionery and snack manufacturers are certainly no exception. The “majors,” of course, with their extensive R&D facilities and resources, introduce new products and line extensions on a regular basis. It’s the smaller companies that impress me. And there are definitely some at this year’s show that have cool, innovative ideas and have executed those ideas extremely well.
The mantra is always “what’s new,” and there is plenty of “new” being offered. I would encourage you, whether you are a retailer or wholesaler, to spend some extra time looking at the products that come from companies that may not have such familiar names. Working for Confectioner (and Candy Industry magazine) means that our staff members have access to new, fun and different products. Confectionery and snack manufacturers are not short of great ideas, that’s for sure.
Big is not always better
As I mentioned earlier, I encourage you as buyers to seek out smaller confectionery manufacturers and give their products a chance. It’s also essential that manufacturers don’t put all their focus on the “big guys.”
I’ve had distributors and buyers from smaller retail outlets tell me how they’re talking to an exhibitor, but that exhibitor is constantly looking past them in case the Walgreens or Wal-Mart buyer passes by the booth. Now that is both rude and short-sighted!
And I do wonder who decides whether a show is a “selling show.” I’ve been told that the All Candy Expo is not a “selling show.” I find it hard to believe that retailers and wholesalers spent all that money to attend the show merely to window shop. And I know there are exhibitors who have show deals and have their computers up and running to take orders at the booth. Clearly, it’s a selling show!
P.S.  Biggest complaint from attendees of trade shows: There’s no follow up after the show. Don’t drop the ball — follow up with everyone who expressed interest and visited your booth.