Trade-Show Trends: Sweets & Snacks Expo

Bold flavors, veggie chips, miniature versions abound

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

CHICAGO -- There are literally thousands of products to experience at the 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo, and a close look unveils numerous product trends happening across the two product categories. Here are four that rose to the top.

Bold Flavors Peaking

Sriracha, a Thai hot sauce, was the clear flavor of the show, seen in at least a half dozen new products or line extensions.

Two consumer movements are converging, growing the desire for bold flavors, Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert told CSP Daily News. First, baby boomers have hit an age when their taste buds don't work as well as they used to. Thus they welcome a bolder burst of flavor. Secondly, millennial are willing to try new things, at times seeming to never want to eat the same thing more than once. They're more likely to try something new.

Notable products from the trade show hosted by the National Confectioners Association (NCA) that filled this bill included:

  • David Wasabi-Dusted Almonds from ConAgra.
  • Jack Links jerky in BBQ Pork, Burrito beef and Sriracha beef flavors.
  • Jelly Belly Tobasco.
  • Sriracha Hot Sauce Spicy Chocolate Bar from Sugar Plum Chocolates.
  • Van Holten Dill Pickle Popcorn.
  • Wasabi Kameda Crisps.
  • Perky Jerky in six new flavors: Hot & Bothered beef & turkey, Teriyaki beef & turkey, and Sweet & Spicy beef & turkey.
  • 479° Popcorn in toasted coconut, white cheddar, sea salt caramel, and chipotle caramel & pumpkin seed flavors.
  • J&D Popcorn in sriracha and bacon flavors
  • Bigs Sunflower Seeds in salt & vinegar, ranch and dill pickle flavors.
  • Wonderful Pistachios in salt & pepper and sweet chili flavors.

Healthy Rises to the Top

Healthier products have been a snacking trend for years, and the 2013 event in Chicago is no different. Again, aging consumers are part of the reason, but concerns about obesity and a stronger overall interest in taking care of our bodies are keeping this aspect top of mind for many consumers.

New products from the trade show that meet this need:

  • Herr's Good Natured Multigrain Chips.
  • Rickland Orchards' Greek on the Go yogurt –coated pretzels, granola and almonds.
  • Eat Your Vegetables Ship from Snikiddy.
  • The Daily Crave Veggie Chips.
  • Apple Chips from Bare Fruit.
  • CoFresh Snacks' quinoa, hummus and lentil chips.
  • Wild Garden hummus dip.
  • Beggie Poppers from Biosilo.

Minis to Share

Another continuing trend is that miniature-sized candies. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Rolos got in on the trend early. This year, more household names got involved, including:

  • KitKat Minis from Hershey.
  • Snickers and Milky Way Bites from Mars.
  • Starburst Minis from Wrigley.
  • Twizzler and Jolly Rancher Bites from Hershey.

Drive to Energize

Finally, even after Wrigley stopped production on its caffeine-enhanced gum Alert Energy Gum to allow the Food and Drug Administration to conduct more research on the category, there were some new entrants in the energy-enhanced snack and candy realm, including:

  • Java Gum.
  • Energem's chocolates from NRG.
  • Arma's energy potato chips and snack mix.
Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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