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    The Sweetest Products Around

    Top new candy, snack items selected at Sweets & Snacks Expo

    During the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, retailers helped narrow down the National Confectioners Association's list of 40 Most Innovative New Product nominations, by choosing one winner in eight categories that included both confectionery and snacks.
     
    Panel participants who selected the top 40 products included The NPD Group Trends expert Harry Balzer; Saatchi & Saatchi X’s Worldwide CEO Dina Howell; the Food Network’s "Iron Chef" winner and restaurateur chef Homaro Cantu; as well as executives from top retailers, including Dollar General, Meijer, Sam's Club, Safeway, Walgreens and Walmart.
     
    The panel analyzed eight candy and snack segments ranging from chocolate and nonchocolate to savory and salty snacks. Panelists then rated product submissions on taste, packaging, innovation and go-to-market feasibility, and nominated up to five of the top items across the eight segments.
     
    On the first day of the Expo, more than 1,000 retail and wholesale trade customers voted for their top picks in each category in the Most Innovative New Product Awards showcase.
     
    “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,” noted NCA president Larry Graham.
     
    Announced at a keynote session during the Expo, the nominees and winners in each category are as follows:
     
    Chocolate winner:  The Hershey Company – Kit Kat Minis
     
    Nominees:
    Chuao Chocolatier – Pop corn Pop
    Cosijns Chocolatier – Sushi Dessert Garden Party
    Mars, Inc. – M&M’s Chocolate Bar
    Pure Chocolate – Exclusive Truffles Collection
     
    Non-chocolate winner:  Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa – Coffee Thins
     
    Nominees:
    Ferrara Candy Co. – Trolli Evil Twins
    Jel Sert – Mott’s Freezer Bars
    Just Born, Inc. – Hot Tamales Tropical Heat
    Project 7 – Save the Earth Mints
     
    Sweet snacks winner:  Sprinkle It On – Handmade Marshmallow & Rice Cereal Confectionery
     
    Nominees:
    479 – Toasted Coconut Caramel
    Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company – Starburst Minis
    Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company – Lifesaver Berry Bites Gummies
     
    Salty snacks winner:  Sahale Snacks – Pomegranate Pistachios
     
    Nominees:
    Gourmet Basics – Original Sweet Maui Rings
    Herr Foods, Inc. – Baked Multigrain Crisps – Tuscan Garden Medley
    That’s How We Roll – Party’tizer Dippin Chips
    The Daily Crave – The Daily Crave Veggie Chips
     
    Savory snacks winner:  Fire Corn Popcorn/Pop Gourmet – B.A.’s Fire Corn, Real Jalapeno Popcorn
     
    Nominees:
    Big League Snacks – Big League Jerky – Sweet & Spicy flavor
    Fire Corn Popcorn/Pop Gourmet – POP! Gourmet Popcorn, Rogue Blue Popcorn
    Pizza is 4 Suckers – Pizza is 4 Suckers – Hard Candy
    Sahale Snacks – Maple Pecans
     
    Novelty/licensed winner:  Jelly Belly Candy Co. – Tabasco Jelly Bean bottles
     
    Nominees:
    Bazooka Candy Brands – Ring Pop Gummies
    Jel Sert Company – Baskin Robbins Sherbet Freezer Bars
    Swiss Colony Retail Brands – Blueberry and Pomegranate Jelly Belly Cake Bites
    Swiss Colony Retail Brands – Very Cherry Jelly Belly Cake Bites
     
    Seasonal winner:  Russell Stover Candies, Inc. – Russell Stover S’mores BIG BITE Bar
     
    Nominees:
    Charms Company – Charms Candy Corn Pops
    Just Born, Inc. – Party Cake Flavored Marshmallow PEEPS
    Just Born, Inc. – PEEPS Chick in Chocolate Egg
    Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company – Starburst Candy Corn
     
    Gourmet/premium winner:  Hammond’s Candies – Hammond’s Milk Chocolate Red Velvet Cake Bar
     
    Nominees:
    Bare Fruit – Bare Fruit Natural Chili Lime Apple Chips
    Golden Island Jerky – Korean BBQ Pork Jerky
    Hammond’s Candies – Hammond’s Peanut Butter Cup Gift Box
    Two Haute Cowgirls Popcorn Confections – Haute Buttered Rum Brittle
     
    The 2014 Most Innovative New Product Awards will be presented at next year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo to be held in Chicago, May 20 – 22, 2014. More information is available online.

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