McLEAN, Va. -- Candy manufacturers will soon have a show of their own.
The National Confectioners Association here, seeking a trade show that features only candy manufacturers, is taking matters into its own hands by launching the All Candy Expo. The first exposition is slated for June 10 to 14, 1997, in Chicago, and NCA plans to make the show an annual event.
At the American Wholesale Marketers Association's annual summer convention last month in Minneapolis, discontented confectioners were heard grumbling about the lack of buying traffic and about having to share their show floor with the likes of health and beauty care, toy and other nonconfection companies.
Several manufacturers told SN they will attend NCA's All Candy Expo and forgo AWMA's summer show in 1997. However, they still plan on exhibiting at AWMA's annual winter show.
The news of the competing show came as no surprise to David Strachan, president of AWMA, who said it's too early to say how the NCA show will affect his association's annual summer convention.
"We'll have to wait and see what happens in 1997. That's a long way off," he said, adding that "it's a free world and manufacturers can do what they think they have to."
Apparently, what the candy industry wants is its own dance. The new, two-and-a-half-day trade show and conference, which will immediately precede NCA's traditional annual convention and Equipment, Ingredient and Supply Expo, will be designed to be sweet music to all involved.
"The All Candy Expo is an innovative and exciting candy-focused show that will help grow the confectionery category for both manufacturers and retailers," said NCA President Larry Graham, in a statement announcing the new show.
"Once a year, everything buyers and manufacturers want to know about candy will be in one place."
"We've needed this type of show for some time," said Jim Gagliarducci, president of Summark and chairman of the NCA trade show task force. "The All Candy Expo is going to help retailers fully realize the important profitability of candy and thereby help all of us grow the candy category."
NCA reported spending two years in creating the new exposition. "In all of our surveys, retail buyers and decision-makers repeatedly asked for a new type of show that would provide more information about candy trends, consumption data, demographics, retail trade developments and merchandising.
"This will be a buyer-friendly show, and they will be able to receive all of this information and see product at the All Candy Expo," said Graham.