Imagine a world in which all candy is free and you can eat as much as you want. Now stop imagining, because that place is the All Candy Expo. And I visited earlier this week.
What's candy have to do with gadgets? From food science to Pez dispensers to the internet bacon phenomenon, mass produced candy and snacks are pretty much all about technology. And…I really, really wanted to go eat candy all day.
The press room is fully stocked with Skittles and ice cream bars. And every breath you take is infused with at least a few calories of sugar. Sure, the show floor is set up with mass produced booths like CES or any other trade show. But each exhibitor has delectable treats for you to grab, at will, repeatedly.
One of my earliest stops was to check out a new product called Wine Sticks—made of real wine. The liquid (in this case, a Cabernet) is reduced to a jelly-like consistency, pectin is mixed in and then a layer of chocolate wraps around the sadly non-alcoholic concoction. How'd it taste? Like 2 buck chuck, mixed with a few tablespoons of sugar, topped off with a Hershey bar chaser.
The Jarm is "brain power potion" that you can wear. Essentially a Pixie stick that wraps around your wrist as a bracelet, I can only presume its proprietary mixture of dextrose, cirtic acid, malic acid, and artificial flavors/colors have produced cognitive improvement in reproducible, double blind lab testing.
The Super Straw is a nifty little invention. It's a straw that adds chocolate, strawberry, etc, to your milk as you suck it up. The idea, which I'm pretty sure exists under other branding elsewhere, almost works. While my first sip was a bit weak, my second sip greeted my tongue with the strong taste of strawberry milk…along with a bit of grit like you find at the bottom of any powder-flavored milk.
No matter how many trade shows I attend, I always end up in an international area, with a Korean woman yelling "no pictures!" This little novelty was captured after our impromptu international concord. Essentially, it's a large, awkward chunk of plastic that, with a single pump, makes a piece of gum appear. It's a pretty horrible slap in the face to both the environment and gum.
Another company named Das Foods has invented the (world's first?) bacon lollipop. And they've reasonably named it "Man Bait." As gross as it sounds, a lollipop filled with real chunks of bacon, it was the single greatest thing I tasted at the show. Just enough bacon mixes with just enough maple to create a salty/sweet treat that lasted about 20x longer than any strip of bacon you've ever consumed.
Fruit Chu TXT MSGs are a snack that have been on the market just a few months. I was lucky enough to infiltrate their booth to snag a shot of the company's upcoming product, TXT LUV MSGs, intended for Valentine's Day. A mean blonde lady tried to stop me, but I tried to explain to her, news waits for no one on Gizmodo. Maybe she has no love in her life. I hope she finds someone nice.
Intoxi-tators are a chip infused with boozy drinks like Margaritas and Bloody Maries. Unfortunately, and this wasn't in the pitch, the chips don't contain any alcohol. I tried them anyway. The Margarita lacked any hint of tequila, but had a pleasant oil and vinegar flavor. The Bloody Mary had a similar enjoyable sourness with a touch of spice.
And then there was the Necco booth, makers of Sweethearts, the pre-Twitter of chalk-flavored romantic professions. Keep doing what you're doing, Necco!
For more on the All Candy Expo, read our other articles on inhalable chocolate and the beef jerky crane game.