There's grumbling out in the candy manufacturing community about whether the industry needs two American Wholesale Marketers Association conventions, and about the burden of exhibiting at both.
David Strachan, AWMA's executive vice president, has an answer for that.
"For years, there has been discussion from manufacturers who say they only want to support one show. And the official response of the association is: 'So pick the show you want to support and go to it.' We don't have any way -- nor do we desire -- to force manufacturers to support two shows a year," Strachan said during an interview with SN.
He said AWMA will continue to hold both its summer and winter expositions, in essence because it still sees that as the best way to serve its members.
Strachan pointed out that there is a large base of buyers and exhibitors who can only attend one show or the other.
In addition, each convention is developing a distinct emphasis. "What we see is that the product mix is slowly changing and evolving in these two shows. The winter show, which had always been the stepchild, has really become the larger candy event. And while the summer show is still 60% confectionery, the growth for it is in nonconfectionery areas.
"By evolution, at some point down the road, we would have a distinctly more confectionery and a distinctly less confectionery show," Strachan said.
Strachan added he was "bemused by the notion that AWMA should make business decisions for these manufacturers. If they don't see value in one or the other of these shows, then their business instincts should keep them away from it."