And the Jury’s Back...

Lisbeth Echeandia
Publishing Consultant/Confectionery Group
Direct Line: 903.965.9300

In my September column I briefly discussed the changed timing for the All Candy Expo and wondered what the impact would be. Well, the jury’s back, and September has been voted as not the ideal time for the show. The National Confectioners Associated conducted additional research after this year’s Expo and the official date for 2008 is going to be May 20-22. It’s a short turnaround for the organizers, but eminently doable.
The National Restaurant Association Show is May 17-20 at McCormick, and evidently the NRA has to be in agreement with this revised All Candy date. It will certainly make the 20th a very busy day at McCormick Place!
The new West Hall is spectacular and was a delight to be in. The show will again be in that Hall in 2008.
From my perspective, the show this past September was a good one, and if you’re in the buying business, it was the place to be. As I’ve mentioned before, there is no lack of creativity and great products available to retailers and wholesalers.
The addition of snacks to the mix at the show did change the landscape, and although I’m not sure how many meat snack companies can make a go of it, there were certainly some delicious products available.
What about the NACS show?
The NACS show encompasses products in a broad range of categories, so there’s no doubt that it will be a very successful show. Some confectionery manufacturers won’t be there. There is just too much to fit into the time period, and too much budgetary commitment for the third quarter.
Did you know that in 1975 there were an estimated 24,516 convenience stores? That’s an estimate from the March/April 1975 issue of Confectioner. (And yes, I do have a life, but I was doing some digging into old issues for a confectionery company and came across that issue — really!)  
Termed “the new gold fields,” convenience stores, were described as truly new outlets for confectionery and snack products with the ability to exert a positive impact on sales. Of course, they’re still making an impact, and there’s still gold to be mined. There are now an estimated 145,000 convenience stores in the United States with over half of them independents.
And the times they are a changin’...
As you may know, Confectioner magazine now is owned by BNP Media, and with new ownership, come some changes. You’ll see on the masthead that Confectioner welcomes a new publisher — Jeff Cummings, an experienced publishing professional, who was most recently publisher of the company’s Dairy Field magazine.
My role within the company has changed, and I’m now Publishing Consultant/Confectionery Group, which means that I’ll be more involved in the strategic part of the business and less in the direct selling function.
You’ll still see me at the trade shows, and I look forward to your comments and thoughts as always!