Trü Frü Natures Strawberries Takes Best In Show, Plant Bacon Named Small Business Innovator


McCormick Place — Hundreds of industry members came together this evening at the Sweets & Snacks Expo Awards Ceremony to celebrate the winners and finalists in the 2022 Most Innovative New Products Awards, sponsored by Information Resources, Inc.

The Awards Ceremony also recognized the recipients of the Ruby Award for Supplier Innovation, the Candy Dish Awards and the new WLG Woman of Influence Award.

Best in Show was awarded to Trü Frü Natures Strawberries Hyper-Chilled Fresh and Immersed in Ruby Cacao from Tru Fru LLC. The top honor is given to the product with the best overall score as determined by a panel of judges. Trü Frü Natures Strawberries are frozen berries enrobed in Ruby cacao.

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. Plant Bacon Corp. walked away with this year’s honors for its Carolina Smoke Carrot Bacon. The non-GMO, plant-based jerky is made from carrot slices marinated in sauce and then dehydrated.

“Innovation puts the candy and snack categories in the driver’s seat when it comes to flavor and product trends, and the 2022 Most Innovative New Product Awards continue to highlight those that accelerate us into the future,” John Downs, president and CEO of NCA, said. “Consumers have been making life at home a little more enjoyable over the past two years by incorporating their favorite treat or snack into their lives in a way that has brought a variety of new flavors and fun to their daily routines.”

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 300 products vying for the coveted awards.

Lindt Classic Recipe OatMilk Non-Dairy Chocolate Bar from Lindt & Sprungli (USA), Inc. took home top honors in the Chocolate Category, while Trü Frü Natures Strawberries Hyper-Dried Fresh in Crème from Tru Fru was named the winner of the Gourmet/Premium Candy Category.

Nutella B-Ready Crispy Wafer Filled With Nutella from Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. was crowned Gourmet/Premium Candy Category winner and top honors in the Gum & Mint Category went to Mars Wrigley’s Extra Refreshers Fruit Mix Sugar-Free Chewing Gum.

The Meat Snacks Category winner was Chile Limon Chicharrones from 4505 Meats.

Ferrara Candy Co., Inc.’s Nerds Gummy Clusters Very Berry was crowned the winner of the Non-Chocolate Category and in the Novelty/Licensed Category Harry Potter Butterbeer Barrel Tin from Jelly Belly Candy Co. took home the honors.

KrackCorn Original Family Size from KrackCorn LLC was named Salty Snacks Category winner and the Savory Snacks Category top honors went to Pecan Nation Cinnamon Snacking Pecans from Pecan Nation.

Kinder Holiday Mix Countdown Calendar from Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. took top honors in the Seasonal Category, while in the Sweet Snacks Category, Reese’s Snack Bar from The Hershey Co. was crowned winner.

The Most Innovative New Products Awards program highlights innovative products, concepts and ideas 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 industry.

To see photos from the awards ceremony check out our gallery.

Complete list of winners and finalists:

Chocolate Category Winner

Lindt & Sprungli (USA), Inc. — Lindt Classic Recipe OatMilk Non-Dairy Chocolate Bar  


The Hershey Co. —  Reese’s Big Cup Stuffed with Potato Chips

Mars Wrigley —  Twix Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

Mars Wrigley — M&M’s Crunchy Cookie

Edward Marc Brands —  Snappers Caramel Brownie Crisp 

Gourmet/Premium Candy
Category Winner

Tru Fru, LLC —  Trü Frü Natures Strawberries Hyper- Dried Fresh in Crème  


Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. —  Ferrero Rocher Milk 

Sconza Chocolates —  Chocolate Bar with Hazelnut & Cocoa Filling 

Gatsby Peanut — Milk Chocolate Churro Almonds

DoJo Brands LLC — Butter Madness Bar   

Ocho Candy, Inc. — Classic Vegan Caramels 

Gourmet/Premium Snack
Category Winner

Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. — Nutella B-Ready Crispy Wafer Filled With Nutella  


Tate’s Wholesale LLC — Tate’s Bake Shop Vegan Vanilla Maple Cookies   

MomoMilk, LLC — Milk Bar Cereal Milk Ice Cream    

Chunk Nibbles — Original Chunk Nibbles    

Second Nature Brands — Sanders Small Batch Wonders Sea Salt Caramel Crunch   

Gum & Mints Category Winner

Mars Wrigley — Extra Refreshers Fruit Mix Sugar- Free Chewing Gum   


Perfetti Van Melle USA, Inc. — Mentos Sugarfree Gum with Vitamins – Berry  

Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. — Tic Tac Strawberry & Cream   

Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. — Charms Blow Pop Inside Outs   

Rev Energy Gum — Rev Energy Gum   

Meat Snacks
Category Winner

4505 Meats — Chile Limon Chicharrones   


Old Wisconsin Sausage, Inc. — Hot & Spicy Sausage Bites   

Country Archer Provisions —  Grass Fed Beef Jerky Cracked Pepper 

Prevail Jerky — Lemongrass Beef Jerky   

Ranch House Sausage Co. — Hickory Smoked Philly Cheese Style Sausage  

Non-Chocolate Category Winner

Ferrara Candy Co., Inc. — Nerds Gummy Clusters Very Berry


Galerie Candy & Gifts — Froot Loops Gummies Peg Bag

Bazooka Candy Brands — Juicy Drop Gummy Dip N’ Stix 

Ferrara Candy Co., Inc. — SweeTarts Gummies Fruity Splitz

Mars Wrigley — StarBurst Airs Gummies Original

Novelty/Licensed Category Winner

Jelly Belly Candy Co. — Harry Potter Butterbeer Barrel Tin


The Jel Sert Co. — Skittles Original Punch Drink Mix

The Jel Sert Co. — Powerade Sports Freezer Bars; Mountain Berry Blast, Fruit Punch

Pez Candy Inc. — Black Panther Gift Tin

Bazooka Candy Brands — Juicy Drop Remix

Salty Snacks Category Winner

KrackCorn, LLC — KrackCorn Original Family Size


TH Foods, Inc. — Crunchmaster Avocado Toast Salt & Pepper

Ancient inGRAINed Snack Co. — Ka-Pop! Super Grain Dill Pickle Rings

Amplify Snack Brands, Inc. — Pirate’s Booty Cheddar Blast

Frito-Lay North America, Inc. — Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch

Savory Snacks Category Winner

Pecan Nation — Pecan Nation Cinnamon Snacking Pecans


Shrewd Food LLC — Protein Puffs Totally Taco

The SnakYard — Soft & Chewy Sweet Potato Sticks

Nutradried Food Co., LLC — Moon Cheese Yum Inferno Crunchy Cheese Sticks

Seasonal Category Winner

Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. — Kinder Holiday Mix Countdown Calendar


Jelly Belly Candy Co. — Jelly Belly Christmas Greeting Card

Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. — Ferrero Rocher Golden Eggs Original

Niagara Hand Crafted Chocolates — Peppermint Cookie Crunch Clusters

Sconza Chocolates — Hot Cocoa Almonds

Sweet Snacks Category Winner

The Hershey Co. — Reese’s Snack Bar 


Star Brands North America, Inc. — Flipz Stuff’D White Fudge Peanut Butter

Ferrara Candy Co., Inc. — Keebler Fudge Stripes Mini S’mores Dip’mmms

Quest Nutrition, LLC — Quest Frosted Cookies Birthday Cake

Crack Corn, Ltd. — Crack Corn Sea Salt Caramel Ultra Premium Puff Corn