First things first, we need to have a conversation about the fact that it’s already 2015. When did that happen? There’s a saying that “life is like a roll of toilet paper — the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.” If that’s true, then I’m guessing the year 2035 will go by in about one second.
Of course, with the new year comes New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I’m vowing to actually get my oil changed when that little light in my car comes on. I’m also hoping to eat a little less chocolate for breakfast, and little more oatmeal — confections are supposed to be a treat after all, not a meal. And, I want to finally master winged eyeliner without having to rely on a piece of tape next to my eyeball.
It’s not just me I have resolutions for though. I also have some hopes and dreams for the confectionery industry in 2015. And together, I think we really can achieve these Sweet Resolutions.
1. Sugar-free chocolate
Can you finally invent a sugar-free chocolate that tastes like regular-sugar chocolate? I know, I know. You’re on it. Or, you think you’ve already done it. But I’m here to tell you that everyone is just being polite when they say that whatever you’ve created tastes exactly like a Snicker’s Bar. It doesn’t. It tastes like the unwrapped candy my grandma keeps in her purse. Ok, maybe not all sugar-free chocolate tastes quite that bad. There are a few companies that are closer than others to cracking this mystery. But it’s still not quite the Hershey’s Bar I’m looking for. So maybe, could you get on this for me this year? Then, perhaps I could go back to eating chocolate for breakfast.
2. Re-brand sugar
The industry needs to continue to work on getting the message out that candy isn’t making America fat. I mean, yes, we all know sugar isn’t great if you’re on a diet. But neither are French fries, or hamburgers or large frappe mocha coffees. And all of those things are a much larger part of the American diet than gumdrops and lollipops. The thing is, people just don’t know that, they don’t understand the difference in scale. Confections have become an easy target, and everyone wants to blame everything that ails us on them. The industry needs to work together to get the word out that candy is OK. It’s a celebration food, and it shouldn’t be restricted any more than wedding cake is. Candy makers need to stand proud and tall behind their wares and tell the world that a peanut butter cup isn’t going to kill them. And they need to do it soon, before the opposition gets their message out first, and trick-or-treating turns into trick-or-fruiting.
3. Focus on emerging markets
The world is growing. It’s exciting and fun and wonderful and the candy industry shouldn’t get left behind. From Brazil to Dubai and China, there are so many consumers out there waiting to get their hands on your latest treats, and it would be a shame to let that market share go to waste just because the countries have the world “emerging” in front of the word “market.” And it’s not just finished goods that have a place in those countries. There are plenty of ingredient suppliers out there, ready and excited to serve you.
So, as you look to the next 12 months, there’s plenty of ways for the confectionery industry to stretch itself this coming year — some of which I undoubtedly failed to mention. I’m excited about the possibilities and no matter what happens, I’m looking forward to another year as part the sweetest industry there is.