Trend Watch: Taffy Bars


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Washington — The chewy candy sector is maintaining its charge as the category growth leader, and taffy is helping the cause. Here’s a look at some of the new products joining the sector and iconic brands that continue to innovate.

Laffy Taffy

Laffy Taffy leans into its reputation as a punny experience for consumers, with jokes printed on the wrapper and promotions based around dad jokes. The brand, which dates back to 1971, is known for its bold graphics and strong flavor profiles. Since its acquisition by Ferrara Candy Co., Inc. in 2018, Laffy Taffy has had a resurgence with the introduction of combo flavors — strawberry/orange, wildberry/banana, mango/passionfruit, and strawberry/kiwi — ropes, and candy-coated bites joining traditional bars and mini bars.

The brand’s iconic banana flavor has a passionate following and has earned itself a single-flavor bag. Other flavors in the line include cherry, grape, sour apple, strawberry, watermelon, blue raspberry, and Sparkle Cherry with bits of glitter infused in each bar.

Top Pops Taffy Stixx

Dorval Trading Co., Ltd. brought Top Pops Taffy Stixx to market in 2023 as an extension of its Top Pops taffy lollipop brand. The company says it saw a space in the market for a stick format taffy and wanted to build on the existing formulations it had with the pops. Available in three flavors — two-color strawberry, red/blue Blazpberry, and Ruby Red watermelon — the packaging includes illustrations of the chewy candy sticks with eyes and whimsical expressions. The product is gluten- and GMO-free, with individually wrapped sticks available in four-ct peg packs.

Face Twisters Sour Taffy Combo

New to the taffy scene are these bars in in strawberry/green apple and cherry/blue raspberry flavors. Brand-owner Schuster Products, LLC, reports it decided to bring the product to market when tasting samples in the office kept disappearing and friends and family were stopping by to restock. Capitalizing on its super sour reputation, company president Steve Schuster claims the product offers the most intense sour flavor on the market. He adds that the product’s unique texture and its combo flavors were developed to appeal to older consumers.

Making note of the packaging design, Schuster explains that the company posted various versions of the artwork on a Twitter account followed by marketing experts. “Hundreds of followers responded, and the majority wanted us to scream out ‘sour’ more than any other candy item on the market, which we did,” he explains.

Abba-Zabba

Abba-Zabba filled taffy bars have been around since 1922, offering a combination of chew taffy with a peanut butter filling or a chocolate and peanut butter filling that debuted in 2023. The brand has a cult-like following and often represents the Pacific Northwest on lists of the best regional candy items. Annabelle Candy Co. overhauled the packaging across all of its brands last year but has stayed true to the origins of the 100-year-old brand, keeping the recognizable yellow, white, and black graphics. The brand has ventured into other flavors over the years — chocolate, strawberry ,and even sour green apple — but today maintains its two core varieties.

Mamba Fruit Strips

Mamba Fruit Strips have been available for a few years, building on the brand’s fruit chew flavor profiles and popularity with consumers. Storck USA, L.P. reports it moved into the sector to diversify its brand offerings while still delivering on the attributes consumers expect — a softer but longer-lasting chew. The individually wrapped bars are available in raspberry, lemon, orange, and strawberry flavors that come in peg bags that prominently feature the logo and illustrations of the product and fruit.

Hawaiian Punch Candy Chews

Adams & Brooks, Inc. has been making classic salt water taffy for years, but in 2018, the company ventured into the flat bar taffy market with Hawaiian Punch Candy Chews. The product is available in mini and full size bars in four flavors that mimic the top-selling flavors of the fruit drink — Fruit Juicy Red, Berry Blue Typhoon, Orange Ocean, and Lemon Berry Squeeze. Stating that the flat taffy bar sector is all about flavor, packaging, and the eating experience, the company admits it’s critical to stay true to the brand’s flavor profiles. Citing the taffy sector’s growing popularity with millennials and Gen Z, Adams & Brooks says the product offers nostalgia for consumers who grew up with the Hawaiian Punch Brand.

Warheads Sour! Taffy

Another entry into the super sour taffy bar sector, Imaginings 3, Inc. launched Warheads Sour! Taffy in late 2021 in two tropical combo flavors — pineapple/orange and strawberry/kiwi — along with watermelon/green apple, and watermelon/blue raspberry varieties. The company reports that the product was born as everything shifted during the pandemic when the company hunkered down and strategically focused on coming out of the situation with new product strategies. “We identified taffy as an area for growth by aligning with amazing brands and manufacturing partners,” the company told Candy & Snack TODAY in a statement. It adds that the product benefits from partnering with a top-tier brand in Warheads.