Indiana Convention Center — The industry gathered yesterday evening to toast the winners and finalists in the 2021 Most Innovative New Product Awards (MINPA) at a special Awards Ceremony & Keynote that also recognized the recipients of the Ruby Award for Supplier Innovation, the Candy Dish Awards, the 2021 Confectionery Leadership Awards and the new WLG Woman of Influence Award.
Best in Show was awarded to Nerds Gummy Clusters from Ferrara Candy Co., Inc. (Booth 21928). The top honor is given to the product with the best overall score as determined by a panel of judges. The bite-size gummi centers covered in crunchy mini Nerds candies are a multi-textured eating experience.
BranchOut Food (Booth 20316) walked away with the Small Business Innovator Award, which recognizes the overall top-ranked product by the judges from among all items submitted by companies with $500,000 or less in sales. The company’s Banana Bites are 100 percent banana, puffed and chewy, with the consistency of a marshmallow.
In addition to the Best in Show and Small Business Innovator awards, the ceremony recognized the top items in each of 11 categories, chosen from among the more than 200 products vying for the coveted awards.
Tru Fru LLC’s Nature’s Strawberries Hyper-Chilled Fresh in White Chocolate & Milk Chocolate was crowned Sweet Snacks category winner, and top honors in the Seasonal category were handed to Nerds Candy Corn from Ferrara Candy Co., Inc.
In the Salty Snacks category, Wonderful Pistachios’ Wonderful Pistachios No Shells Sea Salt & Vinegar was crowned the winner, and Pez Candy, Inc.’s Harry Potter Back Pack Clips with Mystery Flavor PEZ Candy won the Novelty/Licensed category.
Mederer U.S.A., Inc.’s Bakery Shoppe Bag was named first in the Non-Chocolate category, with Pure Jerky Co.’s Tripi’s Sweet Spicy Original winning the Meat Snacks category.
In the Gum & Mints category, Perfetti Van Melle USA, Inc.’s Mentos Gum Paperboard Bottle won, and Crack Corn, Ltd.’s The Original – Ultra-Premium Puff Corn took home the win in the Gourmet/Premium category.
Tru Fru LLC’s Nature’s Pineapple Pina Colada Hyper-Chilled Fresh and Immersed in White Chocolate and Coconut was the winner of the Gourmet/Premium category, and Reese’s Big Cup with Pretzels, from the Hershey Co. won the Chocolate category. Indiana Import LLC’s Torti Max rounded out the winners by securing the top award in the Savory Snacks category.
The MINPA program showcases innovative ideas, concepts and products, judged by a panel of top retailers, distributors and industry food experts that represent 85 percent of the buying power in the U.S. confectionery and snack industries.
All of the winners as well as all of the more than 200 submissions are featured in the Most Innovative New Product Awards Showcase located in Hall A alongside the Featured Products Showcase and can be viewed in the Sweets & Snacks Expo app.