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Candy Expo reveals trends.

The candy industry is alive and well in this age of carbohydrate cutting dieting. At the recent 2004 All Candy Expo in Chicago, Larry Graham, president of the National Confectioners Association, described recent trends taking hold of the candy category. Low-carb products were the most obvious new development, with most large manufacturers offering some type of low-carb or reduced-sugar option. Hershey Foods introduced new Carb Alternatives treats with 50% less sugar carbs, Russell Stover displayed a full line of its low-carb chocolate candies and Innovative Candy Concepts sampled its zero-carb Sinfully Delicious snacks. Many manufacturers that haven't created low-carb lines focus instead on smaller single-serving portions of their more indulgent treats. Also, many candy companies are infusing their sweet snacks with real fruit flavor instead of refined sugars. "The candy industry adapts to every diet trend," Graham said at the convention in early June. Though diet candy represents only about 3% of total category sales, the trend toward diet candy should remain strong, he said.

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Product licensing is another trend still popular with the industry. Product licensing and novelty candy are strong because they are a good fit for the naturally fun candy category, Graham said. Shrek, Disney characters and plush animals were apparent at the convention.

Candies appealing to Hispanic palates were also popular at the show. Lorena USA displayed its tamarind-flavored soft candies and Vaque Tona candy creams. Other manufacturers showcased their traditional products with Spanish language labels.
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Title Annotation:Trade Talk
Author:Lewandowski, Jill
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:242
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