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Highlights from The Sweets & Snacks Expo live event

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The Sweet & Snacks Expo debuted last week as the first in-person food industry trade show in the U.S. in more than a year.

This trade show for the candy and snack categories, which often draws a large Canadian audience, offers attendees the opportunity to discover new confectionery and snack products, actionable insights and access to industry and retail personnel. 

“There’s a lot of excitement and pent-up demand for the in-person show this year," John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association, said of the industry's desire to meet in person and see what's new in the world of sweets and snacks. “We are excited to be working with our partners in the City of Indianapolis to provide the 8,000 retailers, manufacturers, brokers and suppliers in attendance with the opportunity to find inspiration, take part in educational sessions and make meaningful connections with those in the industry they have missed over the past year to 18 months.”

Indiana Governor Holcomb said. “This event is a great move forward for our business community to recover. The candy and snack industries have a strong economic footprint in our state, supporting more than 13,000 jobs. What better way to celebrate the great candy and snack companies that call Indiana home than with the Sweets & Snacks Expo in June, which just happens to be National Candy Month.”

The 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo by the numbers:

  • 8,000 attendees
  • 450+ exhibitors
  • 2,890+ retail attendees
  • 1,750+ banners across all classes of trade 
  • More than 3 acres of candy and snack innovation
  • $6.3 million economic impact on the City of Indianapolis

The 2021 show presented two years of product innovation and endless inspiration for the year ahead.

These 4 new trends are shaping snacking

  • Smaller pack sizes: More companies continue to develop smaller pack sizes containing 200 calories or less. This trend empowers consumers to make informed choices when they are ready to treat themselves to their favourite snack or candy. 
  • Tropical flavours: So many consumers dream of a day at the beach and enjoying all that summer has to offer. This year, tropical flavours are taking centre stage with a focus on pineapple and coconut. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a tropical treat… cue the sound of ocean waves!
  • Mix and match: Can’t decide which flavour to enjoy? Candy and snack manufacturers are bringing consumers the best of both worlds. Whether they are looking for sweet, salty, fruity, or tart, shoppers can’t go wrong when mixing up their favourite combinations.  
  • Spice it up: Think you can handle the heat? The hottest (and we mean hottest!) new spicy snacks feature flavours like chili, sriracha, jalapeño and habanero.

Most Innovative New Product Awards

These highly competitive awards recognize the most innovative candy and snack products and companies for their achievements and new products introduced to the market over the past two years.

“The Most Innovative New Product Awards continue to highlight the innovation that pushes our industry forward, and we celebrate the creativity that makes the confectionery and snack categories shine,” said Downs. “For many consumers, candy and snacks played a central role over the past 18 months in making ordinary moments a little more special, and these new products will make getting back to the things that we love to do this summer even more fun.”

The submitted products were judged by retail and category thought leaders from leading retailers, including Costco, Walgreen’s and 7-Eleven. The awards attracted more than 300 entries and recognized 55 products in 11 categories, as well as Best In Show and Small Business Innovator, which recognize the judges’ favourite product and an up-and-coming innovative company, respectively.

The winners of the Most Innovative New Products Awards are:

  • Chocolate: The Hershey Company – Reese’s Big Cup with Pretzels
  • Non-Chocolate: Mederer U.S.A., Inc. – efrutti Bakery Shoppe Bag
  • Gum & Mints: Perfetti Van Melle USA, Inc. – Mentos Gum Paperboard Bottle
  • Salty Snacks: Wonderful Pistachios – Wonderful Pistachios No Shells Sea Salt & Vinegar
  • Sweet Snacks: TruFru LLC – Nature’s Strawberries Hyper-Chilled Frozen Fresh in White Chocolate & Milk Chocolate
  • Meat Snacks: Pure Jerky Co – Tripi’s Sweet Spicy Original
  • Savory Snacks: Indiana Import LLC – Torti Max
  • Novelty/Licensed – Candy & Snacks: Pez Candy, Inc. – Harry Potter Back Pack Clips with Mystery Flavor PEZ Candy
  • Seasonal – Candy & Snacks: Ferrara Candy Company – Nerds Candy Corn
  • Gourmet/Premium – Candy: TruFru LLC – Nature’s Pineapple Pina Colada Hyper-Chilled Fresh and Immersed in White Chocolate and Coconut
  • Gourmet/Premium – Snacks: Crack Corn – The Original Ultra-Premium Puff Corn
  • Small Business Innovator: BranchOut – Banana Bites
  • Best in Show: Ferrara Candy Company – Nerds Gummy Clusters                   



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