Hello! And greetings from sunny Arizona!

I’m down here at the Candy Planning: Everyday & Summer Seasonal ECRM event, which is being held at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler, Ariz.

And while I have gotten to experience this so-called superior “dry heat” all week, I have to say, my hair just doesn’t get along with 100 degrees no matter how much humidity there is or isn’t in the air.

For those unfamiliar, ECRM events bring together candy manufacturers and confectionery buyers in a sort of speed dating format for the business world. All the manufacturers are set up in their own hotel rooms, and then all the buyers go from room to room for 10- or 20-minute meetings. It’s grueling work taste-testing all the newest candies on the market, but we manage. And of course, the glorious mountain views don’t hurt.

The best part of the show, though, is Candy Industry Magazine Buyer’s Choice Awards — although I admit I’m a little partial.

Basically, companies submit their latest and greatest new products, and then all the retail buyers at the show have a scheduled time to taste test and vote for their favorite candy in each of three categories: Chocolate, Non-Chocolate, and Novelty.

Aside from bragging rights and a beautiful plaque, the winners also get a free ad in our magazine, along with a digital ad.

Below is a look at which companies took home the prize last night.



OMG’s Peanut Butter Graham Clusters with Pretzels

OMG'S Candy

The OMG’s Peanut Butter Graham Cluster with Pretzels combine peanut butter, a graham cluster, and pretzels into an delicious treat that’s drizzled with chocolate.

Seriously, these things are so good, they’ll literally have you shouting “ohmgee!” with a mouthful of a candy and your hand already in the bag reaching for more. And don’t worry about breaking any commandments, because it says right on the package that OMG stands for  “Oh my goodness!” — the innocent stepsister of Oh My God.


Lucky Country

Lucky Country’s three new flavors

Lucky Country USA

Lucky Country is known for their Australian soft-style eating licorice, and this year they introduced three new flavors:

  • Firestick Cinnamon
  • Lemon Meringue
  • Southern Peach

All three are seriously delicious, but the southern peach flavor really hits the spot, bringing together the delicious peach flavor with a soft chewy candy.



Pop Ups Lollipop Keepers

Imaginings 3, Inc. — Flix Candy, Niles, Ill.

This treat is so much more than the Chupa Chups lollipop it comes with.

Each one is like a little, portable lollipop holder that you can use to keep any part of the candy you haven’t gotten to yet. You just push a button on the side, and the lollipop is revealed. Let go, and the head snaps shut, keeping your candy safe for later.

And they come in a bunch of licensed characters, like Spiderman, Frozen’s Olaf and Disney Princess Ariel.

Perfect for the three year old who couldn’t finish his sucker, and even better for the grownup who just likes to play with her food.

Candy Industry Magazine would like to thank everyone who participated in the awards, and all the voters for taking the time to share your opinions.

And we’d also like to offer our sincerest congratulations to all the winners! You guys rock!