Retailers looking for insight into popular new products in the candy and snacks world can thank organizers of the Sweets & Snacks Expo for doing some heavy lifting.
A panel of experts at the 17th annual event sifted through hundreds of samples prior to the sold out trade show in Chicago and found eight worthy of the distinction of “Most Innovative New Product.”
Hershey won the award in the chocolate category for Kit Kat Minis and in the non-chocolate category Tierra Nueava Fine Cocoa won for its Coffee Thins. Other recipients and the category included:
• Sweet Snacks: Sprinkle It On, Handmade Marshmallow & Rice Cereal Confectionery.
• Salty Snacks: Sahale Snacks, Pomegranate Pistachios.
• Savory Snacks: Fire Corn Popcorn/Pop Gourmet, B.A.’s Fire Corn, Real Jalapeno Popcorn.
• Novelty/licensed: Jelly Belly Candy Co., Tabasco Jelly Bean bottles.
• Seasonal: Russell Stover Candies, Russell Stover S’mores Big Bite Bar.
• Gourmet/premium: Hammond’s Candies, Hammond’s Milk Chocolate Red Velvet Cake Bar.
A panel that included trend experts, food authorities and retail representatives rated products on attributes such as taste, packaging, innovation and go-to-market feasibility. They selected five of the top items in eight categories which were then put to a vote by the more than 1,000 retail and wholesale trade customers who attended the event.
“About 30 percent of annual confectionery and snack sales are attributed to products introduced in the last two years, so these launches are critical to industry success,” commented National Confectioners Association president Larry Graham.
The Sweets & Snacks Expo is sponsored by NCA and attracts roughly 600 exhibitors and 15,000 industry professionals each year.