Martin KimThe past 54 days have passed by like some candy-induced haze, replete with lollipops, artisan chocolate, all-natural licorice, and hard candy. Before this internship started, I could have hardly imagined the amount of candy I would receive from manufacturers and shows, never mind how much I would eat. Candy aficionados may scoff, but before coming to Candy Industry, I didn’t even know that Mars owned Wrigley. I couldn’t have named even a handful of midsized manufacturers. But now my eyes have been opened — I can distinguish “organic” from “all-natural” and “sugar-free” from “no sugar-added.”

Some highlights from my confectionery dream: Covering the For the Love of Chocolate black-tie gala (taking pictures of delicious food was almost as good as actually eating it), traveling to different retailers to meet the people who sell sweets, and, of course, eating chocolate for breakfast. Associate Editor Crystal Lindell and I insisted to each other that this was healthy, especially in the case of dark chocolate, and I was happy when I stumbled across evidence suggesting this was true.

The writing was sweet as well (excuse my puns, this is the last time I will be able to use them) — I wrote about natural flavors, healthy additives, nutritional/energy bars, hard candy and all sorts of breaking news stories. Having no confectionery background (other than buying products from the numerous vending machines on campus) did make some of these stories difficult to write, but I always had the guidance of my editors to help me — whether that meant editing my stories or guiding me through the website.

What I’m going to miss most, however, is not the free candy, nor is it the cool events. I am going to miss the chance to be a voice in a multi-billion dollar industry, to cover the movement of the companies that produce those pieces of happiness.

And though I’ll be the first to say that the confectionery industry is not perfect, I believe that candy’s purpose is and always should be to make people happy — of course, this means understanding the need for transparent marketing, sustainability and great taste. However, in my short time at Candy Industry, I saw more and more companies move in this direction, and I’m confident  they will continue to make progress.

I have to be a little corny here — everything I learned, I learned from my wonderful editors. I will miss their guidance, their generosity, and most of all, their patience. May your time at Candy Industry always be sweet!

It will be hard to forget my time at this wonderful publication, especially since I’ve grown acclimated to a certain standard for sweets. I will remember Candy Industry every time I pick up some artisanal chocolate, or a sea-salt caramel truffle, and when I sink my teeth into the luxurious texture of some all-natural licorice I will remember my time here with a wistful smile.

I am paying for candy now, after all.