CHICAGO -- According to John L. Stanton, professor of food marketing at St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, the candy industry has set the standard for food as fun.
At the 2002 All Candy Expo being held this week at McCormick Place here, the future of novelty candy will be one of the topics addressed during Stanton's presentation, "Critical Trends Shaping the Confectionery Market."
While the candy category still enjoys the top spot when it comes to novelty in the food industry, other players are beginning to join the game.
"The rest of the food industry is starting to catch on to the importance of fun and novelty in food," Stanton told SN prior to the show. "Fun is a terrific way to sell product."
Stanton cited Heinz's colored ketchup as a prime example.
"The challenge is to stay ahead," he said. "In the past, the pressure to do well came primarily from other candy companies. Now that pressure is coming from other categories as well.
"The additional pressure should lead to a positive outcome for the candy category."
One thing candy companies can do to grow the novelty segment is reach out to a more mature audience, Stanton said.
"Extend the fun franchise beyond kids," he said. "Kids are not the only ones that want to be silly and have fun."