As I was catching up on confectionery industry news this morning, I impulsively kept taking a look at the trending topics on Twitter every few minutes. Amy Coney Barret’s Supreme Court Nomination hearings. Stimulus negotiations. Issues with mail-in voting.
At one point, “Penguin mummies” was trending.
It’s like this every second of every day of every week right now. And by all accounts it’s only going to continue to ramp up as we head into the U.S. election and the uncertain aftermath. It’s just a constant flood of extremely important news stories and no time to process them before the next one breaks.
It’s not just Twitter, though. It’s real life, too. There’s a spike in COVID-19 cases where I live, many of my friends and family are getting laid off, and virtual learning is putting parents I know in impossible situations.
And yet, even with all that, it’s hard not to think that as long as you aren’t among the more than 215,000 Americans who died of COVID-19 this year, you’re actually one of the lucky ones. That’s where we’re at. The bar for what qualifies as “lucky” has been set at “alive.”
Back in December 2019, Pantone announced "classic blue" as its color of the year for 2020 — and the selection turned out to be more prophetic than anyone could have realized. As Scoop Whoop once explained, "A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785) states Blue to mean — to look blue; to be confounded, terrified, or disappointed. More importantly, it states that Blue Devils means low spirits. Again establishing that blue is related to being low."
It's almost too on the nose.
It feels important, as a journalistic enterprise, to take a moment to note just how unprecedented these times actually are. Yes, I know, none of the above has the word candy in it — but that doesn’t mean none of it impacts the confectionery industry. Of course it does. We’re all connected to each other, all the time.
There are the more direct links, like the uncertainty about how much money candy companies will get from stimulus negotiations, what the economy will look like in the coming months, and how travel bans are still impacting industry events.
But there’s also the more indirect links. Everyone is stressed. It’s hard to focus on work. The future feels very uncertain. Nothing about 2020 is “normal.”
I continue to be impressed at how resilient the confectionery industry has been through all this. The innovation it put into an unprecedented Halloween, the way it’s adapted to virtual shows, and how quickly it has embraced online grocery sales.
It’s truly impressive. And all of you should take a second to appreciate how much you’ve endured over the last year. You’re doing an amazing job.
I also wanted to take a moment to remind any managers who might be reading this to be aware of how a full year of stress is impacting your staff. It’s easy to get lost in our own lives right now, but everyone is dealing with a lot in 2020. Check in with your employees, offer them grace, and give them extra perks when at all possible.
Despite my first name, I don’t have special access to visions of the future in a crystal ball. None of us can be certain what life will look like a year from now. But after watching the confectionery industry constantly rise to the challenges of the last few months, I am very sure of one thing — there will always be candy to help us through it.