Innovations in the confectionery and publication industries are encouraging people to use their senses – but not in the conventional way.

Stephanie Hildebrandt
Associate Editor
Candy Industry

Like millions of others, I share a love for chocolate – a quality that benefitted me when I first started working at Candy Industry magazine. And while it’s always fascinating to see exactly how chocolate or candy is made, I have to admit, hearing about new products before they’re even out in the marketplace thrills me as much or more. Thus, when I’m sent samples of a new product, I’m always eager to try them – and if they’ve sent enough -- have friends and family try them, too.

Unfortunately, I’ve realized that my sharing of samples with friends and family has led them to believe that I’m some kind of a candy critic, instead of an associate editor. I swear, I’ve told them a million times what I do, but whenever someone new comes into the picture, I’m introduced not as a candy magazine writer and editor, but as the candy savant. After more than a year of this, I think I’ve conquered the “smile and nod” response.

Anyways, finding new products for the magazine, and also forCandy Industry’s andConfection & Snack Retailing’ssweet & healthyeNewsletter (I play a behind-the-scenes role), does, indeed, happen to be one of my responsibilities. Recently, I’ve come across two products that really caught my eye.

The first deals with innovation in the publication industry. Although this idea has been around for two or three years now, it’s new to me! Remember the scene in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” where Mike Teevee grabs a chocolate bar right out of the TV using Wonkavision? Well, I think this product brings us as close as we’re going to get.

No, you can’t sample products through the TV, but you can sample them through a newspaper. And I don’t mean the samples of shampoo or mouthwash that sometimes come attached in a little bag.

First Flavor together with US Ink have developedTaste ‘n SaveSticky Notes to be used in newspapers and hopefully one day in any print publication. Appealing to consumers’ senses, advertisers can send in a sample of their product, whereby it will be replicated and converted into aPeel ‘n Tasteedible film strip. The film even allows for a texture, so consumers could essentially sample a creamy, milk chocolate bar.

Think of it this way: Imagine aListerine breath freshening strip placed inside a foil pouch and pasted into a newspaper – then replace the flavor and smell with any food or beverage brand. That, to me, is innovation.

The second product comes out of Paris and is calledLe Whif. I could say that I “live and breathe” chocolate, but with this product, it’s very close to being the truth. Available in mint chocolate, raspberry chocolate, mango chocolate and milk chocolate flavors,Le Whif allows consumers to literally breathe in chocolate to obtain its sweet taste without the calories. David Edwards, lead inventor of Le Whif, calls it “whiffing.” Although I haven’t tried it yet (I think they will be at All Candy Expo), it’s definitely something I’d like to get a whiff of.

But as a reminder to all my friends and family, I won’t be critiquing it.