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Candy Land

A national craving for Gummy Bears and lemon drops bulks up candy store sales.

You know the feeling--that irrepressible craving that hits around 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Or maybe it's a trip to the movies that triggers the uncontrollable urge. Perhaps you never think about it until you come face to face with a sweet treat at the mall--and then you absolutely have to have it. No matter when it strikes, America's sweet tooth needs to be sated.

Sure, Americans are spending billions on diets and lo-cal and fat-free foods. But if everyone is so hell-bent on eating right, why did we gobble up an average of more than 24 pounds of candy in 1996 compared to 17.9 pounds in 1983?

We don't know the answer to that question, but we do know this: The nation's bulk candy purveyors are grateful our sweet tooth isn't decaying. This confection affection is part of the reason bulk candy stores are popping up in malls, strip centers and food courts around the country and why grocery stores, movie theaters, airports, university student unions and other prime locations are adding bulk candy bins to the mix of goodies they already carry.

Says Pete Podolski, marketing communications director for National Bulk Food Distributors Inc., a Taylor, Michigan-based bulk candy distributor, "Candy is here to stay."

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This article was originally published in the May 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Candy Land.

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