Sweets & Snacks Expo 2017

Mars, Ferrero and Jelly Belly among Sweets & Snacks Expo 2017 Most Innovative Award winners

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

IRI analysts, Sally Wyatt and Larry Levin, were among the Most Innovative Award winner products judges this year.
IRI analysts, Sally Wyatt and Larry Levin, were among the Most Innovative Award winner products judges this year.

Related tags Confectionery Chocolate

The National Confectionery Association (NCA) has announced the Most Innovative Award winners from nine major candy and snack categories, including chocolate, seasonal, gum and mints, at the Sweets & Snacks Expo this year in Chicago. 

The product evaluation was conducted the day before the show (May 22) by a selected panel based on four criteria: Taste, packaging, innovation, and sale-ability/go–to-market potential.

The panel featured a range of experts including leading candy and snack buyers, NCA said. It consisted of a mix of retailers, wholesalers, trade media and food industry experts. Some of the judges included IRI analysts, Sally Wyatt and Larry Levin, as well as CEO and founder of It’s Sugar, Jeff Rubin.

NCA also added a Small Business Innovator Award this year to honor companies and products that represent innovation and entrepreneurship. It was awarded to Montreal-based Buddha Brands Company for Hungry Buddha Probiotic Coconut Chips in Cheeky Chocolate.

Reese’s Crunchers made by Hershey won this year’s Best in Show Award.

This year’s winners are:

Chocolate winner: Mars Chocolate North America - M&Ms, Caramel Chocolate Candies

  • The Hershey Company – Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cups
  • Mondelez International, Inc. – Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar
  • Ferrero USA, Inc. – Kinder Joy
  • Edward Marc Brands – Edward Marc Chocolatier Coconut Almonds with Dark Chocolate

Non-chocolate winner: Jelly Belly Candy Company - Jelly Belly Krispy Kreme Gift Box

Jelly Belly
  • Wrigley – Starburst Sweet Heat
  • Albanese Confectionery – Albanese World’s Best Sherbet Gummi Bears Gusseted Bag
  • Nestlé USA – SweeTARTS Whipped & Tangy
  • Just Born Quality Confections - Mike & Ike Sour-Licous Fruit Punch flavored candies

Sweet Snacks winner: Nestlé USA – Nerds Lucha Grande - Mango Chile and Guava

  • Charms Company – Andes Creme de Menthe Snap Bar
  • Edward Marc Brands, Inc. – Snappers Milk Chocolate Caramel Macchiato Snappers
  • Setton Farms – Pistachio Chewy Bites/Pistachios + Blueberry infused Cranberries with Coconut
  • Brownie Brittle, LLC – Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt

Salty Snacks winner: The Daily Crave – Gouda & Romano Cheese

  • TwistCheez – Hickory Smoke
  • Jack Link’s Beef Jerky – AM Hot and Spicy Breakfast Sausage
  • The Hershey Company – Hershey’s Popped Snack Mix
  • Twang Partners, LTD. – TWANGERZ Sriracha Salt

Savory Snacks winner: Snyder's-Lance, Inc. – WholeyCheese! / Mild Cheddar

cheese it
  • Alli & Rose – Tropical Fields Crunchy Seaweed Rice Bites
  • Chef's Cut: Real Jerky – Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Protein Packs/Real Steak Jerky, Original Recipe Cheddar Cheese
  • Hawaiian Host, Inc. – Mauna Loa Mango Chipotle Macadamias
  • goodnessKnows – Blueberry & Almond

Novelty/Licensed winner: Ferrara Candy Co. Trolli Sour Brite Dip N Crawlers

  • Pez Candy, Inc. – Smurfs Gift Tin
  • Jelly Belly Candy Company – Jelly Belly Mixed Emotions
  • Dylan’s Candy Bar – Secret Message Lollipop
  • Jel Sert Company – Airheads White Mystery Freezer Bars

Seasonal winner: Ghirardelli Chocolate Company - Ghirardelli Chocolate Strawberry Bark

  • Ferrara Candy Co. – Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers Minis Hairy Heart Gift Heart
  • Pez Candy, Inc. – Christmas Ornament with Mini Dispensers
  • Impact Confections, Inc. – WARHEADS - Chewy Bunnies/Assorted Flavors
  • The Matzo Project – Salted Matzo

Gourmet winner: Las Olas Confections and Snacks –Anastasia Coconut Cashew Crunch Dark Chocolate Drizzle

Las Olas
  • Newfangled Confections – Frittle Candy/Original
  • Edward Marc Brands – Edward Marc Chocolatier Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Medallions
  • Bixby – Nutty For Me Bixby Bites
  • That's How We Roll – Mrs. Thinster’s Cookie Thins Meyer Lemon

Gum & Mints winner: Ferrero USA – Tic Tac Gum Freshmint

Tic Tac
  • Perfetti Van Melle USA, Inc. – Airheads Gum, Watermelon
  • The Hershey Company – Breath Savers Protect
  • Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company – Extra Chewy Mints
  • Mondelez International, Inc. – Trident Purely Trident Peppermint

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