McCormick Place — The industry gathered this evening at the Sweets & Snacks Expo Awards Ceremony to celebrate the winners and finalists in the 2023 Most Innovative New Products Awards. The awards recognize the year’s most innovative confectionery and snack products and honor the companies that make them.
“Recognizing and celebrating innovation in the confectionery and snack categories is a vital part of our show, because innovation is the key driver of the industry in terms of setting trends and appealing to consumers,” said John Downs, president and CEO of NCA, the host organization for the expo. “These new products, brand collaborations, and flavors enhance consumers’ celebrations, holidays, and daily routines, and they ensure that candy and snacks continue to play an important role in the lives of people around the world.”
Retail leaders representing 85 percent of the buying power for the confectionery and snack categories served as judges across the 13 categories that comprise the Most Innovative New Product Awards.
Best in Show was awarded to Apple Cinnamon Chunk Nibbles, clusters of salty pretzels, dehydrated apples, organic cinnamon, cinnamon crumbles and corn squares from Chunk Nibbles (Booth 11858). This top honor is given to the product with the best overall score as determined by a panel of judges.
The Small Business Innovator award recognizes the overall top-ranked product by the judges from among all products submitted by companies with $500,000 or less in sales. Jackson’s Food Co. (Booth 20518) walked away with this year’s honors for its Jackson’s Chips brand Farmhouse Ranch Sweet Potato Chips made with avocado oil. The product is a dairy-free version of America’s favorite dressing on kettle-cooked sweet potato chips.
In addition to Best in Show and Small Business Innovator, awards were also presented to the top items in each of 11 categories, chosen from among the more than 335 products vying for the coveted awards.
Mexican Hot Cocoa Bites from Kopper’s Chocolate (Booth 11436) took home top honors in the Chocolate Category, while Shenzhen Amos Sweets & Foods Co., Ltd. (Booth 10204) earned the highest marks in the Non-Chocolate sector for its 4D Fruit Gummy Juicy Burst Strawberry juice-filled gummi candies.
Mentos Fruit Mints with Vitamins Cool Fruity Mix from Perfetti Van Melle USA, Inc. (Booth 11904) was named the winner in the Gum/Mints Category.
In the Salty Snacks Category Peanut Butter Caramel Coated PopCrunch from Big Dipper Food Co. (Booth 20657) was chosen as the top product.
Tru Fru LLC’s (Booth 12166) Parfait Poppers: Nature’s Raspberries Frozen Fresh in Greek Yogurt & Granola was crowned the winner in the Sweet Snacks Category.
Jack Link’s Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Beef Jerky from PepsiCo Foods (Booth 10414) earned the highest honors in the Meat Snacks Category.
Truly Good Foods’ (Booth 20534) Henrietta Said Ancho Kimchi Flavored Peanuts was named the Savory Snacks Category winner.
In the Novelty Category, Peach Nectar TastySounds Recordable Lollipop from Shenzhen Amos Sweets & Foods Co., Ltd. (Booth 10204) earned the top honors.
Strawberries & Cream White Chocolate Macadamias from Hawaiian Host LLC (Booth 11119) were honored with the Seasonal Category award.
In the Gourmet/Premium Candy Category, Tru Fru LLC (Booth 12166) took the top award for its Nature’s Strawberries Hyper-Dried Fresh in White & Dark Chocolate.
Oh Snap! Pickling, LLC (Booth 10895) earned the award in the Gourmet/ Premium Snack Category for its Cranberry Sweeties.
All of the finalists and winners are featured in the Most Innovative New Products Awards Showcase located on the Main Concourse alongside the Featured Product Showcase. They can also be viewed in the show app.
Chocolate Category Winner
Nuts.com/Kopper’s Chocolate — Mexican Hot Cocoa Bites
Tru Fru LLC — Natures Raspberries Hyper-Dried Fresh in White & Dark Chocolate
SweetWorks Confections, LLC — Niagara Chocolates Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew Dark Chocolate Cups
SweetWorks Confections, LLC — Niagara Chocolates Churros & Hot Chocolate Milk Chocolate Clusters
G.O.A.T Foods — Milk Chocolate Popsters
Non-Chocolate Category Winner
Shenzhen Amos Sweets & Foods Co., Ltd. — Amos 4D Fruit Gummy Juicy Burst Strawberry
Haribo of America, Inc.— Haribo Berry Clouds
Shenzhen Amos Sweets & Foods Co., Ltd. — 4D Fruit Gummy Juicy Burst Peach
Pearson’s Candy Co. — Skippy Peanut Butter Salted Nut Roll
The Hershey Co. — Twizzlers Gummies
Gum & Mints Category Winner
Perfetti Van Melle USA, Inc. — Mentos Fruit Mints with Vitamins Cool Fruity Mix
Mars Wrigley North America — Extra Pink Lemonade
Ferrero North America — Tic Tac Sprite Lemon-Lime Flavored Mints
Annabelle Candy & Seattle Gourmet Foods — Mintz! Breathmints – Wintermint
The Hershey Co. — IceBreakers Ice Cubes Crystal Mint Gum
Salty Snack Category Winner
Big Dipper Food Co. — Peanut Butter Caramel Coated PopCrunch
Big Dipper Food Co. — Almond Butter Caramel Coated PopCrunch
Pork King Good — Pork King Good Old Timey Butterscotch Pork Rinds
The Hershey Co. — Pirate’s Booty Crunch Attack Great White
General Mills — Old El Paso Fiesta Twists Queso
Tru Fru LLC — Parfait Poppers: Nature’s Raspberries Frozen Fresh in Greek Yogurt & Granola
Pearson’s Candy Company — Salted Nut Roll Snack Mix
Hostess Brands — Hostess Kazbars Chocolate Caramel Creamy & Crunchy Layer Bar
Issei — Mango Mochi Gummies
7th Heaven Chocolate — Pistachios & Halva Cream Chocolate Snack Bar
Meat Snacks Category Winner
PepsiCo Foods — Jack Link’s Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Beef Jerky
Icon Meats — Bison and Pork Sticks – Honey BBQ Flavor
Bulk Jerky — All-Natural Sweet and Spicy Brisket Jerky
Icon Meats — Elk and Pork Stick – Original Flavor
Fat Cow Jerky — Sour Cream and Onion Jerky Chips
Savory Snack Category Winner
Truly Good Foods — Ancho Kimchi Flavored Peanuts
Truly Good Foods — Nashville Hot Chicken with Pickle Flavored Peanuts
Calbee America Inc. — Selects Honey Dijon Baked Navy Bean Snacks
Truly Good Foods — Lemon Pepper Flavored Peanuts
Truly Good Foods — Original Buffalo Flavored Peanuts
Novelty/Licensed Category Winner
Shenzhen Amos Sweets & Foods Co., Ltd. — Amos TastySounds Recordable Lollipop Peach Nectar
Stuffed Puffs, LLC — Cinnamon Toast Crunch Filled Marshmallow Bites
Edward Marc Brands, Inc. — Edward Marc Chocolatier Girl Scouts Thin Mints Bites
Flix Candy — Pop Ups! Surprise
Ferrero North America — Kinder Joy NBA Variety
Seasonal Category Winner
Hawaiian Host LLC— Hawaiian Host Strawberries & Cream White Chocolate Macadamias
Shenzhen Amos Sweets & Foods Co., Ltd. — Amos TastySounds Recordable Lollipop – Shimmering Strawberry
Shenzhen Amos Sweets & Foods Co., Ltd. — Amos TastySounds Recordable Lollipop – Cupid’s Kiss
Ferrara Candy Co. — Brach’s Swirly Twirly Gum Drops
Edward Marc Brands, Inc. — Snappers Caramel and Peppermint Cluster
Gourmet/Premium Candy Category Winner
Tru Fru LLC — Tru Fru Nature’s Strawberries Hyper-Dried Fresh in White & Dark Chocolate
Alter Eco — Alter Eco Creme Brulee Truffle Thin
Edward Marc Brands, Inc. — Snappers Oat Milk Granola Cluster with Dried Blueberries
Hammond’s Candies since 1920 — Hammond’s Peanut Butter Pillows
Quality Candy Co. LLC — Better4U Organic Elderberry & Vitamin C Drops
Gourmet/Premium Snack Category Winner
Oh Snap! Pickling Co. — Oh Snap! Cranberry Sweeties
Tru Fru LLC — Tru Fru Parfait Poppers: Nature’s Strawberries Frozen Fresh in Greek Yogurt & Granola
EverGreen USA LLC — Just The Fun Part Waffle Cones filled with Hazelnut Cream & Milk Chocolate
Cibo Vita — Nature’s Garden Probiotic Strawberry Yoggies
Ruby Jewel — Mocha Macchiato Ice Cream