Sweets & Snacks Expo 2018

Ferrero, Hershey, Nestlé and more: NCA names most innovative new candies and snacks of 2018

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

The NCA added Small Business Innovator Award to the Sweets and Snacks Expo this year. Pic: CN
The NCA added Small Business Innovator Award to the Sweets and Snacks Expo this year. Pic: CN
The National Confectioners Association (NCA) has named the most innovative product award winners of 2018 at the Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago (May 22-May 24, 2018).

The winning products were selected from more than 300 new product award entries across nine candy and snack categories: chocolate, non-chocolate, sweet, salty, savory, novelty, seasonal, gourmet/premium, and gum & mints, according to the NCA.

It said the goal is “to bring unique products with a variety of emerging flavor profiles and inspirational packaging to attending buyers looking to drive retailer engagement.”

“Product submissions were rated based on four weighted criteria: taste, packaging, innovation and go-to market feasibility,”​ added the NCA.

Larry Levin, IRI’s executive vice president of consumer and shopper marketing, was one of the judges for the award this year. He said: “Historically, innovation has driven about 7% of the growth in confections. New products spark excitement for the consumer and generate more opportunities for treating.”

Small business innovator award,” ​new to this year’s expo, was presented to Vosges Haut-Chocolate for its hazelnut cocoa toast flavor. The NCA said the entry was designed to recognize companies with annual net sales under $500,000 among well-established peers.

Additionally, the US candy association awarded Hostess Brands’ double chocolate cake delights the “best in show”​ item, and gave Ruby Chocolate (created by Barry Callebaut) the Inaugural Ruby Award.

The most innovative sweets and snacks are:

Chocolate winner: Hershey - Hershey’s Gold Standard Bar


Tootsie Roll - Junior Mint Minis

Seattle Chocolate - Seattle Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Truffle Bar

R.M. Palmer Company - Football Fantasy

Tru Fru LLC - Coconut Melts Freeze-Dried & Immersed in Dark Chocolate

Non-chocolate winner: Nestlé USA/Ferrara Candy Company - Big Chewy Nerds



Hershey - Jolly Rancher Misfits

Impact Confections - HOTHEADS Scorching Heat Twists

Hammond's Brands - Vanilla Caramel Marshmallow

Sweet snacks winner: Justin's - Justin’s Organic White Chocolate Mini Peanut Butter Cups


That's How We Roll - Cinnamon Crumb Cake Thins

Edward Marc Brands - Cookie Butter Snappers

Vidal Candies USA - SPICY MANGOS

The Promotion In Motion Companies, Inc. - Superfruit Mix

Salty snacks winner: Sahale Snacks - Sahale Snacks Tangerine Vanilla Cashew-Macadamia Glazed Mix


From the Ground Up - Cauliflower Pretzel Sticks

Perfect Snax – Butterfinger

Made in Nature - Veggie Pops / Salt and Pepper

Rudolph Foods - Oven Baked Pork Rinds/Blackberry Habanero

Savory snacks winner: Alli & Rose - Trail Mix Crackers


Cheesewich Factory - Bacon and Eggs

Kellogg - Cheez-It Duoz Caramel Popcorn & Cheddar

Land O'Frost - High Protein Chips

Clever Cookie - Baked Cheddar Protein Crisps

Novelty/licensed winner: Impact Confections, Inc. - WARHEADS Dippin’ Ring


Ferrero - Frozen & Jurassic World Limited Editions

Bazooka Candy Brands, a Division of The Topps Company - Baby Bottle Popping Powder

PEZ Candy - PEZ Jurassic World Click & Play Gift Tin

Jelly Belly Candy Company - Jelly Belly Krispy Kreme Doughnut Tin

Seasonal winner: Ferrero - Golden Heart for You & Me


Nestlé USA - Big Chewy Nerds Reindeer Stocking Hanger

Jelly Belly Candy Company - Jelly Belly Love Beans Valentine's Gift Box

Mars Wrigley Confectionery - Mars Wrigley Chocolate Variety mix party bowl

Hershey - Hershey’s Kisses Hot Cocoa

Gourmet winner: That's How We Roll - Trios/Original


Chuao Chocolatier - Ravishing Rocky Road Joy-Filled Caramels

KIWA - Native Andean Potato Chip Mix

Hammond's Brands - Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Marshmallows

Mars Wrigley Confectionery - Dove Chocolate - cashews dipped in milk chocolate

Gum & mints winner: Ferrero - Cool Tropical


Perfetti Van Melle - Mentos CleanBreath

Mars Wrigley Confectionery - Juicy Fruit Gum Collisions Strawberry Watermelon

Hershey - Ice Breakers Deep Freeze Peppermint

Simply Gum - Cleanse / Grapefruit - Prickly Pear - Cayenne - Sea Salt

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Great articles

Posted by John Dalley,


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