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Sweets & Snacks Expo Unveils Most Innovative New Products

Nerds Gummy Clusters named Best in Show by retail judges
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Sweets & Snacks Expo Unveils Most Innovative New Products
Retail judges at Sweets & Snacks Expo awarded Ferrara Candy's Nerds Gummy Clusters with Best in Show.

The 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo in Indianapolis has kicked off the event by revealing the winners of this year’s Most Innovative New Product Awards. The 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 John Downs, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Confectioners Association (NCA), which sponsors Sweets & Snacks Expo. "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.” 

According to NCA’s 2021 “State of Treating” report, the category experienced $36.7 billion in sales over the past year.

This year's Most Innovative New Products Awards competition attracted more than 300 entries and recognized 55 products in 11 categories. The submitted products were judged by retail and category thought leaders from retailers like Costco, Walgreens and 7-Eleven.

The winners are as follows:

  • Chocolate: The Hershey Co. – 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 Co. – 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 (i.e., the judges' favorite product): Ferrara Candy Co. – Nerds Gummy Clusters                                   

Sweets & Snacks Expo is being held June 23-25. Featuring new product launches, business-building solutions and merchandising innovations, the annual Sweets & Snacks Expo brings together qualified candy and snack retail professionals and company representatives who showcase the latest in candy and snack products.

Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco, which operates 809 warehouses worldwide, is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, which operates more than 9,000 drug stores, is No. 5, and Dallas-based 7-Eleven’s U.S. operation is No. 25. 

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