Confectionery, Snack Buyers, Category Managers Determine Industry’s Most Innovative Products


McCormick Place — Last week, a panel of industry experts gathered to sample and review more than 335 confectionery and snack products to determine the top five items in each of 11 categories in this year’s Most Innovative New Product Awards program. 

Nominees in each category — chocolate, non-chocolate, gum & mints, novelty/licensed, gourmet/premium candy, gourmet/premium snacks, seasonal, salty snacks, sweet snacks, savory snacks and meat snacks — were judged on taste, innovation, go-to-market potential and packaging. 

The 2023 judges were: Amanda Falitz, BP; Kyle Dell’Arciprete, BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc.; Deb Sammon, Coborn’s, Inc.; Sarah Bibbs, Core-Mark/Eby-Brown; Jim Hachtel, Core-Mark/Eby-Brown; Andy Vennum, Costco Wholesale Corp.; Brian Freel, Family Dollar Stores, Inc.; Susan Grassey, Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc.; Todd Gean, Hy-Vee, Inc.; Chris Lindstedt, It’Sugar; Tabitha Sewell, KeHE Distributors, LLC; Lindy Smith, Maverik, Inc.; Grant Demers, McLane Co., Inc.; Mayra Falcon Fernandez, Murphy Oil USA, Inc.; Ashley Borden, Murphy Oil USA, Inc.; Kathy Douglas, Paradies Lagardère Travel Retail; Alyssa Snyr, S. Abrahamson & Sons, Inc.; Todd Budzinski, Sam’s Club; Jeff Mudd, Schnucks Markets, Inc.; Heather Key, The Exchange; Amber Seibert, The Exhange; Meredith Stringer, The Fresh Market; Holly Adrien, The Kroger Co.; Peter Kempton, TravelCenters Of America LLC; Emily Gordon, Walgreen Co.; Brian Rinker, Walgreen Co.; Dominic Scardina, Walgreen Co.; Leslie Edmiston, Wawa, Inc.; and Lisa Ham, Yesway.

Category winners, the product named the Best In Show, which is given to the item that receives the highest overall rating from the judging panel, and the Small Business Innovator Award were announced during a special awards reception held last week as part of the Sweets & Snacks Expo. A full list of the Most Innovative New Products Award winners can be found here.

The Most Innovative New Products Awards program is sponsored by Circana.