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.
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.