Saturday, July 3, 2010
Is There a 4th of July Candy Tradition? No There is Not.
Candy is associated with many American holidays, but to the eternal sorrow and frustration of the candy industry, there is nothing really indelible about the 4th of July, candy-wise. The Hershey's people have been brilliant in recent years about cross-marketing the Hershey Bar with Nabisco Graham Crackers and Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows for some s'mores end cap and bin displays in supermarkets, but that's really about it. (See page 42 of True Confections for Alice Ziplinsky's views on this subject.) Most efforts to grab some 4th of July dollars from supermarket shoppers consist of feeble seasonal cellophane wrappers on boxes, but even then, what is the symbol for the 4th of July? Christmas is a tree or an ornament, Valentine's Day is a heart, but what is the 4th of July? Red white and blue, the American flag. Maybe there are some compelling patriotic jelly bean mixes out there. But red, white and blue and the flag are also symbols for Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, and also other [problematic to many of us] patriotic endeavors like "supporting" our troops, depending on context.
One company that has tried harder than most to corner the 4th of July candy dollar is Tootsie. But the flag labels don't convince me that Tootsie Rolls are a traditional element of the day, and I doubt that shoppers will ever make their lists for their 4th of July cookout or picnic so that right after hot dogs, hamburger, buns, ketchup, pickles, chips, anyone is going to write Tootsie Roll Midgees. But nice try, Tootsie!