crystal lindell
Crystal Lindell

Combine cute with chocolate, make it simple and fun to eat, and you’re bound to have a winner. The thing about the SweetWorks Chocolate Bear Pop, particularly when it comes to five- and six-year-olds, is that the kids just really like the fact that they’re eating a chocolate teddy bear on a stick.

Or at least that’s my impression of the situation after helping to host the Candy Industry and ECRM Kid’s Choice Awards at the recent ECRM show in San Antonio, where the Bear Pop took home best new chocolate.

The event offered a group of kindergarteners from the local Boys and Girls Club the chance to be  official “candy buyers” — sampling all the different types of confections just like the professionals do (complete with the sugar highs and lows), and then choosing their favorites.

The ever-amazing Print Cates, v.p. of product management at J. Sosnick & Son, kicked off the event by giving the children a glimpse into the real-life world of candy buying. Imagine how spellbound the kids were after he told them that they could, in fact, get a job eating candy for a living. He also impressed on them how important it was to not only chose candy that they liked, but that their friends and family would like as well.

Each kid received an official candy buyer badge, and a business card and set about the task at hand — eating tons and tons of delicious candy and then picking their favorite chocolate, non-chocolate and novelty candy.

For each category, they were handed a bag containing one of each item in the running for that particular award, and told to chose their favorite. Then, we put a picture of all the items on the projector and individually went around to ask each child which candy they liked best.

And when it came to chocolate, a majority of them pointed to SweetWorks’ Bear Pop. Which just goes to show, kids love simple, chocolates on a stick.

Moving along to the next winner. Tangy Zangy Sour Wild Berry won for best new non-chocolate. It was actually the second year in a row that a Tangy Zangy took the prize — last year the Wild Fruit flavor won the award.

Based on my observations, its appeal stems from three basic elements: It’s delicious. It’s sour. And, it’s shaped like straws, so it’s super shareable and you feel like each package is actually 20 pieces of candy.

It also doesn’t hurt that its name is comprised of two adjectives. Words that end in Y are always fun to say.

The last winner was actually another repeat of sorts. Juicy Drop Taffy took home best new novelty candy, after Juicy Drop Pop won best new novelty last year.

Its appeal stems from the fact that all any kid really wants is control over how sour their candy is. And with both of these Juicy Drop products, the kids get a dispenser filled with a sour gel that they can either squirt onto the candy or, (as many kids chose to do) directly into their mouth.

So in conclusion: sour candy, shaped like teddy bears, on sticks that you can share with your friends is the perfect product just waiting to be invented.

Candy Industry offers its most sincere congratulations to all the winners and we invite you to check out full coverage of the ECRM show in our April issue!