The Sweets & Snacks Expo Unveils 2021 Most Innovative New Products

To kick off the 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo, judges of the coveted Most Innovative New Product Awards unveiled this year’s winners. These highly competitive awards recognize the most innovative candy and snack products and companies for their achievements and new products introduced to the market over the past two years.

The 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo kicked off today at the Indianapolis Convention Center. More than 450 exhibitors will be showcasing their products during the three-day event, which is expected to draw more than 8,000 attendees. In addition, more than 2,890 retailers are registered, representing nearly 1,750 establishments from all classes of trade.

“The Most Innovative New Product Awards continue to highlight the innovation that pushes our industry forward, and we celebrate the creativity that makes the confectionery and snack categories shine,” John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association, said. “For many consumers, candy and snacks played a central role over the past 18 months in making ordinary moments a little more special, and these new products will make getting back to the things that we love to do this summer even more fun.”

According to a press release, the submitted products were judged by retail and category thought leaders from leading retailers like Costco, Walgreen’s and 7-Eleven.

The awards attracted more than 300 entries and recognized 55 products in 11 categories as well as Best In Show and Small Business Innovator, which recognize the judges’ favorite product and an up-and-coming innovative company, respectively.

Related Article: U.S. Hispanics & Confectionery: Facts, Stats & More

The winners of the 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo Most Innovative New Products Awards are as follows:

  • Chocolate: The Hershey Company – Reese’s Big Cup with Pretzels
  • Non-Chocolate: Mederer U.S.A., Inc. – efrutti Bakery Shoppe Bag
  • Gum & Mints: Perfetti Van Melle USA, Inc. – Mentos Gum Paperboard Bottle
  • Salty Snacks: Wonderful Pistachios – Wonderful Pistachios No Shells Sea Salt & Vinegar
  • Sweet Snacks: TruFru LLC – Nature’s Strawberries Hyper-Chilled Frozen Fresh in White Chocolate & Milk Chocolate
  • Meat Snacks: Pure Jerky Co – Tripi’s Sweet Spicy Original
  • Savory Snacks: Indiana Import LLC – Torti Max
  • Novelty/Licensed – Candy & Snacks: Pez Candy, Inc. – Harry Potter Back Pack Clips with Mystery Flavor PEZ Candy
  • Seasonal – Candy & Snacks: Ferrara Candy Company – Nerds Candy Corn
  • Gourmet/Premium – Candy: TruFru LLC – Nature’s Pineapple Pina Colada Hyper-Chilled Fresh and Immersed in White Chocolate and Coconut
  • Gourmet/Premium – Snacks: Crack Corn – The Original Ultra-Premium Puff Corn
  • Small Business Innovator: BranchOut – Banana Bites
  • Best in Show: Ferrara Candy Company – Nerds Gummy Clusters                                  

Industry 2021 Award Winners

The Sweets & Snacks Expo also announced the winners of multiple industry awards at the Indiana Convention Center ahead of the show opening. These awards are highly regarded within the industry and carry with them special recognition of the recipients, the organization said.

“There is no better way to usher in the excitement of this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo than by recognizing the best our industry has to offer,” said Downs. “This year, innovation and dedication to creating the best products and shopper experience take center stage as we celebrate our suppliers, brokers, manufacturers, and retail partners.”

The Ruby Award for Supplier Innovation

The Ruby Award for Supplier Innovation is given annually to recognize a breakthrough innovation from the supplier member community that advances the confectionery industry and significantly improves the ability of confectioners to manufacture, distribute, market and/or sell chocolate and candy. A panel of NCA manufacturing member companies reviews the applications and selects the award recipient each year.

For the first time in the award’s history, this year, the Sweets & Snacks Expo award was presented to two winners:

Mantrose-Haeuser Co., Inc. – MantroShield

  • Winning Innovation: MantroShield’s concept delivers the sour taste impact of organic acids, with enough protection to allow its use in confectionery, but without the negative aspects of common encapsulation processes.

Schubert Additive Solutions – Partbox

  • Winning Innovation: With Partbox, spare parts can be provided to companies in the confectionery industry much faster than before. Partbox uses 3D printing technology to produce spare parts directly inside the factories of the confectionery industry. With Partbox, spare parts don’t have to be stored physically. Through the optimized process, companies can save time and money in the ordering process of spare parts. Partbox enables a high availability of spare parts without storing them.

The Golden Candy Dish Award

The Golden Candy Dish Award is presented to a broker industry member who has performed above and beyond the call of business to promote and grow the confectionery industry. The individual is selected based on the candidate’s leadership skills and ability to build relationships and cultivate new business opportunities with confectionery manufacturers. This year we also focused on their versatility and perseverance through the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The 2021 Golden Dish Award Winner is Doug Boes, Shankman & Associates.

The Silver Candy Dish Award

The Silver Candy Dish Award is presented to a leader in sales, marketing, management or another key role in confectionery manufacturing who has made significant contributions to growing the confectionery category. The individual is selected based on the candidate’s leadership skills and ability to build relationships and cultivate new business opportunities with brokers. This year we also focused on their versatility and perseverance through the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The 2021 Silver Candy Dish Award Winner is Katherine Phegley, Brown & Haley. 

Woman of Influence Award

The National Confectioners Association presented the first-ever Woman of Influence Award to highlight a recipient who has performed above and beyond the call of duty in service of the industry. The recipient of this award is selected by the National Confectioners Association’s Women’s Leadership Group.

  • The 2021 Woman of Influence Award Winner is Libby Taylor, who previously served as Vice President of Membership. Taylor joined the association in 1993 and pioneered the National Confectioners Association’s signature events, including the Sweets & Snacks Expo launch in 1997.