Demand for seasonal sweets means an incredibly busy time for producers. As traditional methods of candy making previously dominated, Editor Caitlin Gittins looks into more modern developments.
Popular holidays have long been associated with gifting confectionery, as periods of time during the year where confectionery companies experience exponential demand for their products. Seasonal candy features in an array of vivid colours, shapes and exciting flavours, whether this is the long-associated Christmas candy canes or heart shaped sweets gifted at Valentines, such a range calls for flexibility and efficiency from the manufacturer. Traditionally, candy making has been done by hand and today, can be done with the work of machines, although there are challenges associated with replacing manual work with machines. Wide-ranging candies that are centre-filled, flavoured or coloured differently to the traditional recipe all present areas that could possibly go wrong during production.
Our Big Interview for the March issue of International Confectionery magazine, Ubiracy Fonsêca, President of Abicab, illustrated to me how important the holiday of Easter is to the Brazilian chocolate industry in particular. The growth registered by the chocolate production in Brazil was 9% in 2022: 556,000 tonnes of chocolate were produced by the industry alone, an uptake compared with 2021’s figures; 510,000 tonnes. This kind of total production is staggering and requires further examination of the candy producers behind these figures.
The importance of seasonal celebrations in terms of demand and total profit cannot be underestimated in the confectionery industry. How busy confectionery companies are fluctuates throughout the year, always with one eye on commercial holidays where companies undergo a busier time, preparing to meet the skyrocketing demand for seasonal goods. In Valentines 2022 alone, the Information Resources Inc (IRI) reported record sales of US$4.1 billion of candy, mint and gum, and a survey conducted by the National Confectioners Association (NCA) found 92% of American consumers planned on celebrating Valentine’s Day with chocolate and candy, as a holiday that is intrinsically associated with gifting confectionery.
To cut a long story short, there is real opportunity to be found around the holiday periods. According to Jan Grinstead, Senior Brand Manager at Seasons, Hershey’s special division for organising product launches and production ahead of the holiday season, these holidays drive one quarter of the company’s business. Part of the strategy behind seasonal candy production is identifying geographical areas where product sells, as well as what time of the year to begin advertising.
Traditional candy making can be observed in recipes still used today, particularly for types of candy such as taffy or ribbon candy that need to be pulled and stretched, in order to achieve their shape. This was strenuous, and tiring work, as candy makers would often sling the rope of candy over a hook and work at it with their hands. Although candy is still handmade to this day, it is regarded as more of an artisanal skill, provided by companies who pride themselves on staying true to tradition…
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Editor, International Confectionery
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