Sweets & Snacks Expo Honors Most Innovative New Products

NCA recognizes 45 new candies, snacks across nine categories

NCA Sweets & Snacks Expo (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Candy / Snacks)

WASHINGTON -- During the 2014 Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago in May, the National Confectioners Association (NCA) bestowed 45 Most Innovative New Product Award nominations to companies showcasing imaginative ideas, concepts and products in confectionery and snacks.

The day before the Sweets & Snacks Expo a panel of experts sampled more than 280 product submissions. Panel participants included The NPD Group trends expert Harry Balzer, Mariano's Fresh Market registered dietician Peggy Balboa, Ace of Cakes celebrity chef Duff Goldman and the Food Network's Iron Chef winner and restaurateur Homaro Cantu, as well as executives from some of the top U.S. retailers of candy and snack products, including Dollar General, Eby-Brown, Hy-Vee, It'sSugar, Mariano's. Meijer, Sam's Club, Safeway, Walgreens and Walmart.

The panel analyzed nine candy and snack segments ranging from chocolate and non-chocolate to savory and salty snacks to the newest category, gum and mints. Panelists then rated product submissions on taste, packaging, innovation and go-to-market feasibility and nominated five of the top items in each of the nine segments.

On the first day of the Expo, hundreds of retail and wholesale trade customers voted for their top picks in each category in the Most Innovative New Product Awards showcase.

Included among the 2014 winners was the inaugural Best in Show prize, awarded to the product show attendees nominated as the best-of-the-best at the Expo. That honor was given to The Hershey Co.'s York Minis, which both the panelists and attendees deemed most likely to succeed.