CHICAGO -- More than 300 new products were submitted for the National Confectioners Association’s 2018 Most Innovative New Product Awards, and the winners were announced May 22 during the 2018 Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago.
The awards—sponsored by data research firm IRI—recognize the best and most innovative introductions in snacks and candy in nine categories: gum and mints; novelty and licensed; seasonal; sweet snacks; salty snacks; savory snacks; nonchocolate; gourmet and premium; and chocolate. Products are judged on innovation, taste, packaging and go-to-market ability. A Best in Show award was also given.
“Historically, innovation has driven about 7% of the growth in confections,” said Larry Levin, executive vice president of consumer and shopper marketing for IRI, Chicago. “New products spark excitement for the consumer and generate more opportunities for treating.”
The winners and nominees in each category were:
Gums and Mints
- Cool Tropical Tic Tac Gum from Ferrero USA Inc. One pack contains 56 pieces of sugar-free gum.
- Mentos CleanBreath, Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc.
- Juicy Fruit Gum Collisions Strawberry Watermelon, Mars Wrigley Confectionery
- Ice Breakers Deep Freeze Peppermint, The Hershey Co.
- Cleanse gum, Simply Gum
- Golden Heart for You & Me from Ferrero. The product features a hollow milk chocolate and hazelnut heart with two Ferrero Rocher candies inside.
- Big Chewy Nerds Reindeer Stocking Hanger, Nestle USA
- Jelly Belly Love Beans Valentine's Gift Box, Jelly Belly Candy Co.
- Mars Wrigley Chocolate Variety mix party bowl, Mars Wrigley Confectionery
- Hershey’s Kisses Hot Cocoa, The Hershey Co.
Novelty and Licensed
- Warheads Dippin’ Rings from Impact Confections Inc. The product contains a ring pop and sour candy powder for dipping. Two varieties are available: blue raspberry pop with sour green apple powder and sweet watermelon pop with sour blue raspberry powder.
- Frozen and Jurassic World Limited Editions, Ferrero USA Inc.
- Baby Bottle Popping Powder, Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of The Topps Co.
- Pez Jurassic World Click & Play Gift Tin, Pez Candy Inc.
- Jelly Belly Krispy Kreme Doughnut Tin, Jelly Belly Candy Co.
- Organic White Chocolate Mini Peanut Butter Cups from Justin’s. The individually wrapped mini cups come in a 4.7-ounce bag.
- Cinnamon Crumb Cake Thins, That’s How We Roll
- Cookie Butter Snappers, Edward Marc Brands Inc.
- Spicy Mangos, Vidal Candies USA Inc.
- Superfruit Mix, Promotion in Motion
- Tangerine Vanilla Cashew-Macadamia Glazed Mix from Sahale Snacks. The mix contains cashews, macadamia nuts, dried mango, tangerine and pure ground Madagascar vanilla bean.
- Cauliflower Pretzel Sticks, From the Ground Up
- Butterfinger, Perfect Snax
- Salt and Pepper Veggie Pops, Made in Nature LLC
- Blackberry Habanero Oven Baked Pork Rinds, Rudolph Foods Co. Inc.
- Crispy Trail Mix Crackers from Alli & Rose. The crackers are made with mung beans, cashews, raisins, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds. An 8.2-ounce bag contains 20 individual packs, with 60 calories per pack.
- Bacon and Eggs, Cheesewich Factory
- Cheez-It Duoz Caramel Popcorn & Cheddar, The Kellogg Co.
- High Protein Chips, Land O’Frost
- Baked Cheddar Protein Crisps, Clever Cookie
Gourmet and Premium
- ParmCrisps Trios in Original from That’s How We Roll. This variety contains Cheese ParmCrisps, almonds, pumpkin seeds, apricots and craisins. Other varieties include Mediterranean and Tropical.
- Ravishing Rocky Road Joy-Filled Caramels, Chuao Chocolatier
- Native Andean Potato Chip Mix, KIWA
- Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Marshmallows, Hammond's Brands
- Dove Chocolate cashews dipped in milk chocolate, Mars Wrigley Confectionery
- Hershey’s Gold standard bar form The Hershey Co. The bar contains caramelized cream and salty peanut and pretzel bits.
- Junior Mint Minis, Tootsie Roll Industries Inc.
- Seattle Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Truffle Bar, Seattle Chocolate
- Football FANtasy, R.M. Palmer Co.
- Coconut Melts Freeze-Dried & Immersed in Dark Chocolate, Tru Fru LLC
- Big Chewy Nerds from Nestle USA/Ferrara Candy Co. The supersized Nerds are both crunchy and chewy with no artificial flavors.
- Sour Brite Sneaks, Ferrara Candy Co.
- Jolly Rancher Misfits, The Hershey Co.
- Hotheads Scorching Heat Twists, Impact Confections Inc.
- Vanilla Caramel Marshmallow, Hammond's Brands
Best in Show
Cake Delights in Double Chocolate from Hostess Brands. Cake Delights are part of Hostess’ Bakery Petites line of hand-crafted, poppable bakery treats. These cream-filled cake balls also come in White Fudge Vanilla.