This Thanksgiving there’s a lot to be thankful for — especially in the candy industry. Here are three things that I’m especially grateful for this year.
1. Support for Joy Lyn’s Candies
As you may have read, Paradise, Calif.-based Joy Lyn’s Candies was among the businesses lost in the Camp Fire, now California’s most destructive wildfire. Joy Lyn’s Candies, founded in 1969 and purchased by Pam and Bill Hartley in 2000, announced the blaze had consumed the business on its website and Facebook page Nov. 9. And the Hartley family also lost two homes in the fire.
It’s a devastating situation, but as of Tuesday a GoFundMe page set up in support of the business and the Hartley family had raised $39,905 of its $50,000 goal, thanks in part to members of Retail Confectioners International and the confectionery industry.  
It just shows how incredible the industry can be when it comes together to support one of its own. It’s not every industry that companies would basically donate to a competitor to help it recover from something like this. But candy isn’t every industry.
2. Big League Chew’s softball player
I’m thankful that Ford Gum, maker of Big League Chew, will feature a female softball player on the Outta Here Original shredded bubble gum pouch. Because representation matters. And seeing female athletes in a space usually reserved for men matters.
As an article by Candy Industry’s Associate Editor Alyse Thompson highlights, “The new player was brought to life by Amanda MacFarlane, a freelance character designer and the daughter of former Major League shortstop Bobby Bonner. A self-taught artist, MacFarlane drew inspiration for the character from her softball-playing niece.”
Imagine for a moment a gum brand that mainly featured women on the package – it wouldn’t even be a product most men thought to buy, and it’s likely the company wouldn’t be marketing to them anyway. Yes, it’s just a small thing like a gum package. But as a woman, I can tell you it’s a really Big (League) thing.
3. Transparent sustainability efforts
Look, everyone knew that having 100 percent sustainable cocoa by 2020 was a lofty goal. But now that the deadline is fast approaching, chocolate makers are shifting the focus to 2025. The thing is, though, at least they are being honest about their progress — and even their lack thereof.
As Scott Amoye, Blommer Chocolate’s v.p. of commodity procurement and risk management, recently said during the Blommer Chocolate 2018 Commodity and Purchasing Seminar Day at the East Bank Club in Chicago, “There has been a tremendous amount of work over the last 5,6, 7, 8 years, but the industry really hasn’t gotten to where it planned on getting to in this time frame. We’ve had some head winds. And most companies have readjusted from 2020 to 2025. The scope of the task and the headwinds created by the challenges of culture, infrastructure and overall market condition have brought the industry to the realization that more time will be needed.”
And that’s more than understandable. The important thing is that cocoa companies don’t give up, and that they continue to be upfront and honest about the challenges they’re facing.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May your day be filled with too much family and too much candy!