Weather men cried, our president snuck a peek without wearing glasses, and millions celebrated in a solar kumbaya fashion with festivals and traffic nightmares. And there were some who thought about simply cowering underneath their desks until order was restored.
Now we can all take a deep breath and get back to what we do for a living, namely, creating, making, selling, promoting, protecting, savoring and writing about confections. And while this may pale when compared to the grandeurs of the universe as so wonderfully played out by Mother Nature on Monday, we, too, have a place in the sun.
This morning, as I skimmed through the morning newspaper’s sports, news, business and comic sections — yes, I’m definitely old school by having the Chicago Tribune delivered to my doorstep — today’s Mr. Boffo caricature by Joe Martin caught my eye.
The graphic shows a young boy in a sandbox with another child and an adult, possibly a parent, sitting on the bench reading a newspaper. While standing on the frame of the sandbox, the young lad declares, “If I were president, I’d fight for peace, equality, and justice for all.” He then quickly adds, “But first medicinal candy!”
That quickly brought a smile to my face. And it also brought back memories. My first “medicinal candy” was Smith Bros. cherry-flavored cough drops. According to Wikipedia, they were the first to manufacture and advertise cough drops in the United States.
Reportedly, “To prevent drug stores from selling generic versions the company began packaging drops in branded boxes in 1872,” Wikipedia says. “To distinguish their drops from imitators, the bearded brothers created a logo featuring their portraits and stamped it on their boxes. When trademarked in 1877 the word ‘Trade’ appeared under the picture of William and the word ‘Mark’ under Andrew's. It followed the brothers became known as Trade and Mark, nicknames that stick to this day.”
I remember those bearded faces, and I remember consuming the drops like candy. Since its founding by Trade and Mark, the company has had three generations of family members run the business, followed by a series of somewhat successful, some not so successful acquisitions.
After hedge fund York Capital Management folded the brand in 2016, it was acquired by Lanes Brands in Bedford, N.H., the United States subsidiary of Lanes Health in Gloucester, UK. There’s even a Smith Bros. website that touts the cough drops will return later this year.
According to a Technavio report, medicated confections — of which hard boiled candies/lozenges comprise 80 percent — represented a $5.13-billion segment in 2016. That total should reach $6.03 billion in 2021, a 3.1 percent CAGR.
The report cites three major drivers: smoking ban in public places; increasing hay fever and allergy cases and growing demand for sugar-free medicated confectionery. I’d add a couple of other drivers: immediacy and convenience.
Heck, when you get that raspy feeling in the throat while driving, there’s nothing like a cough drop to soothe the pain. As the confectionery industry embraces cleaner, organic ingredients to create better-for-you treats, medicated confections can tap into movement very easily.
I know many have — Ricola is a perfect example — and there’s certainly room for more to establish their place in the sun. Chances are I’ll be seeing Trade and Mark in the not so distant future.