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All City Candy Takes on Indy: A Candy Buyer's Adventure

May 30, 2024

Owner of All City Candy Elisabeth Sapell in Indianapolis with Green M&M mascot

 

Every May, the candy and snack industry leaders come together to toast their successes and give a sneak peek of what's coming. As a seasoned candy buyer, this year's event in Indianapolis was a real treat!  The Indiana Convention Center hosted the Sweets and Snacks Expo, North America's largest confectionery and snack event. The All City Candy dream team trio of owner Elisabeth, Content Manager Zoe, and I hit up manufacturers for the latest scoop while checking out new candies and vendors, and grabbing some of the tastiest treats.

We have observed a growing trend toward lower sugar, better-for-you candy options in the market this year. The selection at the recent show included some remarkably innovative and well-marketed lines. One of our particularly favored new lines hails from ROTTEN. Our store has promptly stocked the products within a week of our return from the show. ROTTEN's inception is rooted in an appreciation for 90's gross-out culture and represents a fresh approach to low-sugar snacks. The brand assures to cater to unconventional tastes with its sour and original gummy worms available in flavors such as loopy lime, weirdo watermelon, barfin' blue raz, and more. Manufactured in the USA, ROTTEN's booth stood out as one of our top picks at the show.

Customers have been asking for Swedish Candy and we are excited to introduce the Sweetish line in June.  This Tik Tok trend has introduced us to Scandinavian sweets like sweet and sour Bubs and Skulls.  The flavors and textures are unique and delicious. These international sweets are sure to be a hit!

Our Ohio friends at Doscher's Candies have introduced new Soda Pop Flavor French Chew Taffy.  Taffy bars inspired by your favorite soda pop flavors are a fresh take on an old favorite.  Try Cola, Rootbeer, Dr. Chew and Mountain Chew flavors. 

Our Team set out to get answers to your consumer questions as well as insight from industry experts.  

People are always asking us "Will BB Bats, Kits and Slapsticks be made in the future?"   We spoke to Stichler Products who assured us they are working to make this happen.  They have the equipment in the factory and are working deligently to get production up and running soon.  Fingers crossed we can bring those to you soon.

We spent time with Brach's Brand Manager Katie Duffy talking about the changes and innovation from one of the most iconic candy brands.  Our customers have a long time love of all things Brach's from Jube Jel hearts at Valentine's, Jelly Bird Eggs at Easter, and Peppermint Nougat at Christmas.  We miss the old Pick a Mix of Cinnamon Discs, Milk Maid Caramel Royals, Jelly Bean Nougat and Neapolitan Squares.  Unfortunately, these bulk items are gone for the foreseeable future.  Brach's has set out on a rebranding campaign to modernize the name.  They have eliminated some branding words like Jelly Bird in reference to the Jelly Beans and Nips will also change to Caramels for future packaging.  They seek to update the line and offer new items like gummies and shaped mellocreme for the upcoming autumn season. We did share the feedback from our customers on the dislike of the change in Jelly Bird Egg to Jelly Beans with a slight tweek to the flavors in 2023.  They welcome your feedback directly as that is how they are able to measure customers' approval or disapproval.  Contact Ferrara to share your Brach's experience.

Iconic Candy is throwing it back to the 90's with relaunch of Bubble Jug, Ouch Bubble Gum and Retro Sours tins.  Childhood favorites for many, these were welcomed back to market with excitement.

Some other manufacturers have set out to rebrand and update this year as well.  Anastasia Confections well known for their Coconut Patties will now be called Oh'asis.  We enjoyed their tropical hut booth and look forward to the update and possibly bringing in some of the new flavors like Island Rum.  Ford Gum has updated Big League Chew packaging to include more women and different nationalities to the characters on the bubble gum pouches.  These are welcome changes that we are excited to start seeing in our store soon. 

Perfetti has announced the discontinuation of three Airheads flavors including Orange, Grape and Green Apple going forward.  These will be replaced with new sour flavors Lemon Berry Squeeze, Watermelon Punch and Blue Blast. They also introduced new sour flavors in Chupa Chup lollipops.

Insider information straight from the manufacturers here is a list of new items that are not yet on the market:

Dad's Rootbeer Rock Candy Sticks

Peeps Rice Krispies Treats Chicks

Big League Chew Pickoff Peppermint Gum

Sour Punch Scorchin' Straws

Sour Punch Taffy Bars

KitKat Pink Lemonade

Mike and Ike Conversation Hearts

It's a Boy and It's a Girl Conversation Hearts from Rito

Thank you to the City of Indianapolis for hosting this wonderful event this year.  We enjoyed the quiet neighborhood and beautiful weather.  We were pleasantly surprised by the exceptional dining experiences at Mesh Indy and Thaitanium, which were much needed after a full day of sampling candy.  It is always sweet to meet with key vendors and get ready for the second half of the retail year.  We are excited to share these new candies at All City Candy soon.  

 




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