Product Innovation at the 2022 Sweets & Snacks Expo

POSTED ON JUNE 10, 2022   |   BY JOSH ROTHSTEIN

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In the candy business, you’d probably think that our favorite times of the year are Christmas, Halloween, Easter and Valentine’s Day. You’re mostly right! We absolutely love sharing sweet memories with our loved ones on those holidays every single year, but there is one event that becomes more and more special to us each and every year. The event we’re talking about is of course, the Sweets & Snacks Expo, brought to us by The National Confectioners Association.

The event celebrated its 25th year at McCormick Place, in Chicago, Illinois from May 23rd through the 26th and it was huge! The excitement on the tradeshow floor was palpable, you could almost literally feel it in the air. I think many of us had longed for human interaction after missing THE premier event for the confectionary and snack industries in recent years, thanks to the pandemic.

According to event organizers, nearly 16,000 people attended the show this year, with over 700 exhibitors from all over the world. All in all, the event spanned 4.5 acres of showroom floor making it the largest confectionary event in North America.

At this expo, you can find everything from the confectionary and snack industries. Some popular products you could sample there included: beef jerky, pretzels, sodas, chips, popcorn, crackers and of course, just about any type of candy that you could possibly imagine!

People didn’t just have an appetite for sweets and snacks though. They were eager to talk to and meet new people, making connections that could last a lifetime. It’s safe to say that there was a feeling of electricity in the air from all the vendors and attendees who were just excited to do business in-person after all this time.

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We at Redstone Foods were no different! The Sweets & Snacks Expo is so massive and we always seem to have a great time. That’s why we believe it is, without a doubt, our favorite candy event of the year. And this year just so happened to be the best one yet!

With that being said, we thought we would share some of our experiences with you, along with the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that really stood out to us during our time at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Product innovations and snack trends to follow from the 2022 Sweets & Snacks Expo

The Sweets & Snacks Expo is the perfect place to discover new products and get an idea of up and coming industry trends to watch closely. We found thousands of confectionary and snack products on the showroom floor this year. Many of these you’re probably already aware of, but some were definitely new to us as well. Let’s take a look!

Exciting new snack products to watch out for!

For the “snacks” portion of the expo, this year did not disappoint! Plenty of new snack foods made their debut, coming from major global brands and some up-and-coming new start-ups. The tradeshow also had its fair share of new takes on classic products. Here’s a just a few of the companies that we were impressed by:

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Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels shared the booth space adjacent to us, so we got plenty of opportunities to share some candy with them, as they shared some of their delicious pretzels and bake cheese curls with us. The North Dakota-based company has seen steady growth over the last few years. If you haven’t tried their rich, buttery pretzels, you’re surely missing out!

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Nora has perfected the use of seaweed for snacking. Seaweed is a healthy and sustainable way to enjoy a delicious, crunchy snack. We got to enjoy a bag of the spicy tempura chips and they definitely did not disappoint.

This company looks towards a bright future ahead. With the popularity of sushi and the western acceptance of seaweed as a staple food source, it is rapidly becoming one of the fastest-growing food categories in the world.

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No Man’s Land beef jerky started out in Boise City, Oklahoma with a small, home dehydrator, quality ingredients and a mission to deliver a quality products at an affordable price. Beginning with the best cuts of beef, they marinate them and slow dry them in a process that creates some of the best jerky we tried at the expo.

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Flock Chicken Skin Crisps are putting a new spin on snack chips. These are made with 100% real chicken and offer a keto-friendly snack that’s low carb, low sugar and high in protein. With flavors like honey sriracha, cajun, honey BBQ and Nashville hot, these are sure to please your cravings.

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Van Holten’s has been pickling since 1898, so they know a thing or two about a tasty pickle. As we've noted before, pickles are immensely popular these days and it’s no wonder why. They are a healthy, fat-free kosher snack that is also gluten free, fat free and low carb. Did we mention that “healthy snacks” were a popular trend and theme that we saw again and again at the Sweets and Snacks Expo?

What’s the next big thing in the candy industry? You could find them all at the Sweets & Snacks Expo!

Finally, it’s time for our favorite part: let’s talk about all the candy! Well… With the thousands of confectionary products that were showcased at the expo, it would be virtually impossible to list them all. These are just a few of the products that we got really excited about at this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo:

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First, let us just point out how incredible the Ferrara booth was! Using a mixture of real products, encased in see-through digital displays, this was definitely the stand-out booth at the exposition. The innovation doesn’t just stop there though. Their incredible product innovation was among our favorites to sample.

Doubling-down on the success of their 2021 Sweets & Snacks award for “Best in Show” Nerds Gummy Clusters introduced yet another mega hit in 2022 with their Very Berry flavor. These are crunchy, soft, and sweet, with just a hint of sour - all at the same time. This product won again, this time for the "Most Innovative New Product Award" in the Non-Chocolate category. They’re sure to be a huge hit at your stores!

Other notable products from Ferrara included Trolli Sour Duo Crawlers, Sweet Tarts Gummies, and the Black Forest Smoothie gummies were all amazing! Keebler Fudge Stripes had a couple of new products to showcase that were about as fun to eat as you can possibly get: their Minis S’Mores Dip Mmms were a messy goldmine of chocolate and marshmallow, and the limited-edition Rocky Road flavored Fudge Stripes were out of this world delicious!

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Impact Confections’ Warheads have blown our minds since 1985 with their extremely sour candies. Now they are combining their love of sour with drinks, by introducing their own line of sodas! With flavors including: Sour Green Apple, Black Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Lemon and Watermelon, these are the perfect product for the sour candy enthusiast. Warheads Sodas come in a can and are currently available to order on our website.

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eFrutti announced 3 amazing new flavors to their already amazing lineup of gummies. The makers of the super-popular TikTok candy, Planet Gummi have outdone themselves with these flavors. Bunch of Bananas, Watermelon Wedges and our personal favorite: Creamy Dreamy Strawberry Batch will be available later this year.

Stay tuned to the Redstone Foods website and our social media channels for more information on product availability. You definitely don’t want to miss out on these!

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Divine Chocolate is a rapidly-expanding company in the chocolate and candy business. Try a chocolate bar from Divine and you’ll agree they are some of the best in the world. Even better yet, their company’s mission is nothing short of a “chocolate revolution.”

Divine is the only Fair Trade Certified chocolate company that is co-owned by the cocoa farmers. They actively work to end child labor, deforestation, poverty and a slew of other important social issues. Also, their chocolate truly is Divine! Just try their Smooth Dark Chocolate With Mint Crisp bar and you’ll see what we mean.

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Tamalitoz by Sugarbox is a small-batch hard candy from Mexico City. These fiery and fierce candies will quickly take your tastebuds on a vacation south of the border. With flavors like Cherry It’s a Fire, Bite Me Blood Orange, Tantalizing Tamarind and Divine Watermelon, Tamalitoz bold flavors offers a fun and unique new kick to hard candies.

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Sconza Chocolates have been crafting fine chocolates for over 80 years. With a gigantic product offering Sconza is looking forward to massive growth in the candy business in the near future. Last year they began introducing flavor-infused caramels and chocolate buttons to their ever-growing lineup.

We got to try their chocolate-covered toffee almonds and absolutely loved them. They were quite the delicacy!

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The Gerrit J. Verburg Co. takes nostalgia in the candy business to a whole new level. Makers of chocolate coins, rainbow licorice laces, gummy pink Cadillacs, Beemans and Clove Chewing Gum they are major players in the candy business.

Walking into their booth at the expo was like taking a time machine all the way back to the 1950’s! You’ll definitely taste the memories with Verburg products if you’re in the mood for a nostalgic candy snack. A highlight of our Sweets & Snacks Expo experience for sure!

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Toxic Waste Slime Lickers are ultra-popular on TikTok these days, with videos of their candies that have garnered over 300 million views on the social media platform alone. Their new candy innovations include a squeezable sour candy tube, and the Slime Writer which are candy wafer discs you can decorate with included sour candy gel pens! What will they ever think of next?!?!

As you can see, we thoroughly enjoyed our time at the 2022 Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago. With so many new and exciting products to discover, we couldn’t possibly write about them all! We will be looking ahead with incredible enthusiasm for next year, when the next Sweets & Snacks Expo comes back to Chicago, May 22nd – 25th, 2023.

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Redstone Foods has been selling candy for over 60 years. We are the premiere candy, soda and gourmet snack wholesale distributors in North America, serving our customers from all over the world. We think you’ll be happy with the level of customer service we have to offer and our years of expertise in the candy industry.

Give us a call today, or register for an account with us online. We can’t wait to hear from you!

1-800-444-3520