Can't they just lay off the Red Bull? Or meditate?

"With a 24/7 technological lifestyle, people don't have time for meditation," Murray says, almost ruefully. Then she points out an additional advantage to taking your sleep supplement in the form of a piece of candy as opposed to a pill: There's no water involved, so you don't have to get up in the middle of the night to pee! (There is, however, a nasty-tasting residue that sticks to your teeth.)

"Sleep Squares?" marvels Nestle. "That's really funny!"

Professor Sauernoggin works the Toxic Waste Candy booth at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago.
William Rice
Professor Sauernoggin works the Toxic Waste Candy booth at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Jill Robbins developed HomeFree cookies so that her son, who has multiple food allergies, would be able to enjoy snacks with his friends.
William Rice
Jill Robbins developed HomeFree cookies so that her son, who has multiple food allergies, would be able to enjoy snacks with his friends.

Even more miraculous is Maramor Chocolates' Functional Chocolate, which contains probiotics. "Probiotics are healthy bacteria," sales rep Doug Ferrell instructs. "It's a powder that's blended into the chocolate. It also has omega-3s. There was a guy with cirrhosis who said the candy helped clear it right up!"

Is it legal for candy marketers to say stuff like that?

In 1994 the FDA decreed that you can't add vitamins to junk food in order to make it appear healthier, thus settling an intense debate about whether foods that contain no fat or sodium but also no nutritional value whatsoever could be labeled "healthy." But the "Jelly Bean Rule," as it came to be known, suffers from a significant flaw: It has proven virtually unenforceable. "There are so many companies doing it," Simon says. "The FDA doesn't have the proper funding and oversight — it does what it can, but it can't stay on top of marketing claims." Perhaps it's only fitting, then, that we can, if we so choose, stave off fatigue with Sport Beans, "energizing jelly beans" fortified with vitamins, electrolytes and carbohydrates proven through scientific research (performed on one lone group of sixteen bicyclists — but hey, still research!) to enhance athletic performance.

Some companies have gone to court to defend their right to extravagant marketing claims, citing the First Amendment. One notable example: Pom Wonderful, whose pomegranate juice prevents heart disease and prostate cancer and cures erectile dysfunction.

As ridiculous as some of these claims might sound, the fact remains that people want to believe them.

"It's a problem now," says Steve Gardner, litigation director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer watchdog group known to its detractors as the "Food Police." "Food companies are trying to make foods into drugs, things that will prevent heart disease — all sorts of things. People really believe those ads. There's a health crisis. People can't afford to go to the doctor, but they can afford to buy Cheerios."

Gardner is referring to a warning letter the FDA sent to General Mills, manufacturer of Cheerios, admonishing the company to stop claiming that eating its breakfast cereal would lower one's cholesterol. (General Mills complied.)

Last year Gardner was part of a team of lawyers that successfully took Coca-Cola to U.S. District Court to force the company to lay off asserting that its vitaminwater — a product Gardner dismisses as "sugar water with a dusting of vitamins" — can prevent disease. He's a habitual reader of nutrition labels. He doesn't believe in vitamins. ("If you're eating properly," he says, "you're getting enough nutrients. Except calcium if you're an old person or folic acid if you're a pregnant woman.") He understands that you'd have to eat a ridiculous quantity of Cheerios or probiotic candy to enjoy any perceptible health benefit. And even he has been taken in.

Not long ago he bought a bag of "natural" marshmallows at his local Whole Foods in Dallas. It wasn't till he got home that he noticed that the product was made with — of all things — high-fructose corn syrup — a substance that the grocery chain includes on its own website's page listing "unacceptable" ingredients.

"I got snookered by 'em," Gardner says sheepishly. "I wasted money on marshmallows! And I know! I'm a careful, skeptical consumer!

"People will catch on if someone tells them the truth," Gardner continues. "But if food marketers told the truth, they wouldn't sell anything."

Which reminds him of a famous line from Animal House:

"You fucked up. You trusted us."


Saving the World

Spend two days listening to people telling you how nutritious and good their sweets and/or snacks are, and you might begin to wonder if anybody out there actually cops to being, you know, unhealthy. Surely there's no shame in selling a little slice of decadence if it tastes good.

Like pork rinds, for instance.

"Pork rinds have zero carbs," protests Greg Stanton of Rudolph Foods, the world's largest pork-rind producer. "They're gluten-free. They're a relatively healthy snack."

What Stanton really wants to chat about, though, is National Pork Rind Day. If you go to voteporkrinds.com and cast a vote — be it yea or nay — on whether to establish National Pork Rind Day, Rudolph will donate a dime to Wounded Warriors, an organization that helps injured U.S. soldiers readjust to civilian life. "It's an outstanding cause," Stanton points out.

Unlike the health benefits of pork rinds, that's a difficult claim to dispute. The voting will continue until Rudolph has doled out $10,000.

If the dream ever comes true, Stanton's hoped-for holiday will coincide with the annual contesting of what he cagily refers to as The Big Game. "That's the Super Bowl, but we can't say that because of trademark reasons," Stanton says. "Pig skins and pigskins go together."

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9 comments
Basti Auser
Basti Auser

YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN...WE WILL WIN IN WAR ON TERROR (30 whities or what are terrorists will never come back alive...thank you lord....aaamen).

What do you mean tragedy! It was just a birthday present for planet apes president !!! That's all ! Feels great to flip hamburgers and hip hop atop of good news...makes you feel vibrant and energized !!!

ARIZONA = UTOYA = GOVERNMENT‘S "AFTERLIFE" CASH & $$ FLASH MOB (there was no shooting in Utoya or Arizona, but tear gas and theater instead on faces of multiculturalism maniacs..your guilt or blame and shame weapon against us and our families in our own countries atop of forceful unemployment during so called "ECONOMIC CRISES" during which third world foreigners are allowed to rape, kill, and still is nothing else but fast way to early retirements for government related criminals/ terrorists...$$$ extra bonuses, and newly issued state identities while calling you a terrorists) !!! http://stateofterror.blogspot.... or http://stateofterror.wordpress...

OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.c... or http://avsecbostjan.wordpress.... Whitie is fighting war on terrorism just to come home and be pronounced as terrorist...turned in Timothy, jobless, homeless ...YESSS, WE CAN...YESSS, WE CAN...GABBY OPENED HER EYES (Obaminator’s psychotic speech in Tucson = failed “Apocalypse Now“)

WAKE-UP !!! WAKE UP PEOPLE BEFORE IT GETS ALL TO LATE ON PLANET APES !!! TEARS WON'T DO YOU ANY GOOD !!! AS BUSH STATED "THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE PAID FOR"(to die ) !!

EVEN IF IRAQ WOULD HAVE BEEN WAR FOR OIL ONLY, VETERANS WOULDN'T NEVER EVER HAVE TO BE HOMELESS PEOPLE THE WAY THEY ARE AND NOR WOULD OUR PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE ALLOVER THE PLACE THE WAY THEY DO TO VERY TODAY(never ending “war on terror” story). BECAUSE EVEN IF WAR WAS FOR THE SAKE OF MONEY, MONEY SHOULD BE USED FOR AMERICAN CITIZENS AND NOT WHAT THE CASE IS OR AGAINST WHITES(to destroy us allover the world) !!! You don't really proof for 911, just put your sht together in your heads...THIS IS PLENTY ENOUGH TO HAVE O(B)SAMA INDICTED FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE AMERICAN HUMANITY TOGETHER WITH HIS ZIONIST MASTERS) !!!

Don't worry O(s)bama, you have just saved USA what is lots of Dollars in your DEBT DEALS as those best of America or Navy Seals would also grew older and then you already know how it goes...DEAD & ILL = DEBT DEAL !!!

HOW MUCH FURTHER ARE WE WILLING TO GO IN ORDER TO PLEASE VERY SAME PEOPLE WHO DENY US EVEN THE RIGHT TO EXISTENCE(what is to you country without laws or lawless country in respect to your personal rights, but the one that in contrast to your denied basic human rights recognizes you extremely liable when payments are due) !!?

IS IT INDEPENDENCE THAT WE CELEBRATE OR DEPENDENCE (what are your credit card bills or alimony saying about it) !!? HOW IS YOUR DIABETES AND LOST MARRIAGES !!? FORECLOSURES AND JOB SEARCH !!? THAT IS THE QUESTION TO BE OR NOT TO BE !!! IS IT LAND OF THE FREE OR STATE OF TERROR AGAINST OWN POPULATION !!? IT IS TIME TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT COLOR ARE THE STRIPES ON OUR STAR SPANGLED BANNER !!! TIME TO DETERMINE WHOSE INDEPENDENCE/AMERICA, WE CELEBRATE TODAY(who wants to erase us and denies us the right to exist) !!! IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHOM WE ADDRESS WITH "PRESIDENT" (STOP HUMILIATING YOURSELF) !!!

VOTING POLL:

DO WE NEED MORE PROOFS TO INDICT OBAMA AND BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY !!?

1)NO, THEY ARE CLEARLY GUILTY AS OIL WAR NEVER EVER WAS REAL ISSUE IN GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES. REAL ISSUE ARE FACTS OR WHAT WE WITNESS TODAY WHEN VETERANS ARE HOMELESS, JOBLESS, KILLED, ETC.

2)NO, AS 911 ALONE AS WELL AS ACTIONS IMPOSED AGAINST WHITES IN USA (as well worldwide) ARE CLEARLY INDICATING ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY

3)YESS AS JUST YESTERDAY(for over 15 years to very yesterday), WE (news/media = vacuum world of lies) WERE TELLING YOU THAT UNEMPLOYMENT WAS AT 10% WHILE TODAY ONE IS AT 50% (HOW COME NO ONE QUESTION JOURNALISM LIKE THIS OR WHAT IS WORLD OF LIES AND DEMENTIA)!

4)I AGREE WITH FIRST TWO ANSWERS ABOVE. IT IS TIME TO PRESS CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST BOTH ADMINISTRATIONS DUE TO ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY FOR THE SAKE(SAFETY) OF US AND OUR CHILDREN(DO NOT TURN THEM IN WHITE REFUGEES ON PLANET APES OR WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE WHEN VISITING ABOVE PAGES) !!!

Jkenah
Jkenah

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AaronL
AaronL

I liked the fact that sources for this article included a professor named Nestle and an author named Almond.

Richard
Richard

Can I bring a hollowed out wheel chair?

will there be a gummy Venus De Milo?

Kel
Kel

I can't believe I just sat here and read a 7 page article on a candy convention in Chicago. But it was well-written and interesting. Which is more than I can say for most AP articles these days. Good story.

James Hodges
James Hodges

What ever happened to Chocolate Babbies?

David Klein
David Klein

One of the biggest hits at this trade show if not the biggest hit was a candy product called "farts." The headlines in a Chicago newspaper said "farts to be released in Chicago."

David Klein
David Klein

This is the best article I have read about the 2011 candy and snack convention. I too was in Chicago as an exhibitor. In fact I have written a whole chapter on the 2011 trade show for my upcoming book A Man and his Beans--the David Klein Story which will be a companion for our documentary Candyman:the David Klein Story.. Keep up the great writing style. Thank you.......

 
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