Sweets & Snacks Expo

The National Confectioners Association‘s recent Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago hosted an estimated 14,000 industry professionals and nearly 600 exhibitors displaying new products and campaigns, reports Convenience Store News. New product trends include an increasing number of better-for-you and gluten-free bars and snacks; new flavor combination pairings presented in two-in-one or shareable packs; and an extension of seasonal items for the convenience store channel. Creativity in packaging was also evident in a range of sizes. Ferrero U.S.A. introduced a Tic Tac® Big Pack that emulates the oval shape of the breath mints, while both Kraft Foods and Wrigley showed off smaller, lower priced packs of gum. Kraft also previewed ID gum®, a teen focused product with magnetic strips in its box that keep it securely closed when carried in a bag or purse.

NPD Group VP, Harry Balzer, reportedly noted in his keynote address that several snacking fads, such as hummus, that attracted attention in recent years aren’t nearly as wide sweeping as they were perceived to be, according to NPD’s proprietary research. Such fads make it even more important for retailers to carefully examine trends before making a commitment, he stressed.

Winners of the Most Innovative New Product Awards were named at the Expo and they are Jelly Belly Uno Gift Box from Jelly Belly Candy Co. (Novelty/Licensed), M&M’s® Candy Corn from Mars Chocolate North America (Seasonal), M&M’s® Snack Mix & Peanuts from Mars Chocolate North America (Salty Snacks), Nutella & Go from Ferrero U.S.A. (Sweet Snacks), Sweet & Spicy Nopalitos Dried Snacks from Nopal Bros. (Savory Snacks), Skittles® Riddles from Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. (Non-Chocolate), Dark Roca from Brown & Haley (Gourmet/Premium), and Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Milk Chocolate Bar from Hammond’s Candies (Chocolate).