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'Children Love Candy and Children Love Toys'

CHICAGO -- Interactive candy, designed to offer play value as well as taste appeal, was one of the hottest product trends at the recent All Candy Expo here.

"Interactive candy is not a fad," said Tapper Candies Inc. president Jay Tapper at the show. "The truth is that children love candy and children love toys. Interactive candy is a new category that offers a little of both."

Tapper Candies introduced a product called Spitter, a plastic insect with a spring-loaded mouth that ejects SweeTARTS candies. Spitters are available in the forms of ants, hornets or grasshoppers.

CAP Candy, now a division of toy-maker Hasbro Inc., has long been an innovator in the interactive candy field. At the All Candy Expo the company was promoting a product called Sound Bites that transmits sound vibrations through a standard lollipop to the candy eater's teeth and inner ear. Already popular in New York and Chicago, the product is being rolled out nationally this month.

Other new items from CAP Candy include updated versions of its Spin Pop device, the battery-operated, rotating lollipop holder the company first introduced in 1993. The latest versions are designed to resemble the title characters from the recent movies Godzilla and Small Soldiers. Another movie-inspired CAP product is the Godzilla Monster Mouth, a plastic lizard head toy with plastic jaws that open to reveal a candy tongue.

Interactive candies have proven popular with children because they last longer than a traditional piece of candy and seem to be a better value. For retailers the products offer the prospects of higher rings and healthy profit margins.

The interactive candy trend is not limited to toys. A company called Nibble Me Books Inc. offers a line of illustrated children's hooks that use candy to let young readers participate in the story. A recent release called Jelly Bean Princess, for example, lets children decorate illustrations with Jelly Belly jelly beans from Herman Goelitz Candy Co.

Teaming with Goelitz Confectionery Co., meanwhile, Herman Goelitz has developed a gumball machine-type dispenser for its Jelly Belly product. The crank-operated dispenser has a suggested list price of $10.

Such products are expected to generate more than $200 million in revenues this year, making interactive sweets one of the fastest-growing segments of the candy industry.

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Comment:Tapper Candies Inc. and CAP Candy offer interactive candy, a toy-hard candy hybrid item
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Article Type:Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 10, 1998
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