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A Sweet Reason to Celebrate National Candy Month: Look for these new products to help you get your sweet on

For Immediate Release: June 5, 2014
Contact: Susan Whiteside at (202) 534-1440

A Sweet Reason to Celebrate: NCA reminds Americans than June is National Candy Month

Look for these new products to help you get your sweet on 

WASHINGTON, DC – Just in time for National Candy Month (celebrated each year in June) the National Confectioners Association this week announced winners of its Most Innovative New Product Awards in the chocolate and candy categories. The awards honor companies showcasing imaginative ideas, concepts and products in the $34 billion confectionery category and were distributed at the organization’s Sweets & Snacks Expo held in Chicago last month.

“The Expo’s new product awards program demonstrates not only the outstanding innovation candy makers apply to product development, but also sincere understanding of today’s consumer,” said Phil Lempert, food trends editor for NBC’s TODAY Show and panel moderator.

A panel of experts collaborated and taste-tested more than 280 product submissions to determine the final nominations. Attendees at NCA’s Sweets & Snacks Expo chose the winners from the list narrowed down by the panelists and also picked a product to be named “Best in Show”. 

Panel participants included the Food Network’s Iron Chef winner and restaurateur Homaro Cantu, the chef/owner of Charm City Cakes and star of the Food Network’s former hit series “Ace of Cakes” Duff Goldman, NPD Group trends expert Harry Balzer, Mariano’s Fresh Market registered dietician Peggy Balboa, and executives from some of the top retailers of candy and snack products in the U.S.

“New candy and snack items in 2013 alone were the leading source of growth for both categories,” commented NCA Executive Vice President Alison Bodor. “Together they delivered over 20 percent of center store growth, so these launches are critical to industry success.”

Included among the 2014 winners was the inaugural Best in Show prize, awarded to the product show attendees nominated as the best-of-the-best at the Expo. That honor was given to The Hershey Company’s York Minis, which both the panelists and attendees deemed most likely to succeed.

Candy and chocolate nominees and winners in each category are as follows:

Chocolate winner:
The Chocolate Traveler – TABASCO Chocolate Bars
Nominees:
The Chocolate Traveler – TABASCO Chocolate Bars
The Hershey Company – York Minis
Kimmie Candy Company – Salted Caramel ChocoRocks
Mars Chocolate North America – Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road
Scho-ko-lade – Scho-ko-lade

Non-chocolate winner:
Jelly Belly Candy Company – Jelly Belly Draft Beer Jelly Beans
Nominees:
Just Born, Inc. – PEEPS Minis Sour  Watermelon Flavored Marshmallow
Candy Dynamics – Goop Gum Sour Liquid Filled Gum
Jelly Belly Candy Company – Jelly Belly Draft Beer Jelly Beans
Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa – Coffee Thins Peppermint
Hillside Candy – GoOrganic Fruit Chews

Gum & Mints Winner:
Project 7 – Project 7 Coconut Lime
Nominees:
The Hershey Company – Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews
Project 7 – Project 7 Coconut Lime
Vitaball, Inc. – Vitamingum Fresh Cinnamon
Wm. Wrigley Company – Altoids Arctic, Peppermint
Wm. Wrigley Company – Juicy Fruit Fruity Chews

Seasonal confectionery winner:
Vigneri Chocolate – Doodle Egg
Nominees:
Atkinson Candy Company – Sophie Mae Gingerbread Pecan Brittle
Ferrara Candy Company – Brach’s Caramel Macchiato Candy Corn
Ferrara Candy Company – Brach’s Peppermint Crème Jelly Candy Canes
Just Born, Inc. – PEEPS Orange and Crème Flavored Marshmallow Chicks
Vigneri Chocolate – Doodle Egg

Novelty/licensed confectionery winner:
Leaf Brands / Astro Pop, LLC – Sour Farts Flow Pack
Nominees:
Concord Confections, Inc. – Fizzers Fizzing Bubble Gum
Ford Gum & Machine Co., Inc. – Big League Chew Bubblegum Baseball
Ford Gum & Machine Co., Inc. – Flavor Ice Cherry Bubblegum filled with Blue-Raspberry Powder
Jelly Belly Candy Company – Jelly Belly Disney Princess Slipper
Leaf Brands / Astro Pop, LLC – Sour Farts Flow Pack

Confectionery products nominated in other categories include:

Mars Chocolate North America – TWIX Bites Unwrapped (Sweet Snacks, nominee)
Stuff ‘n Mallows – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Stuffed Marshmallows (Sweet Snacks, nominee)
Lir Chocolates – Guinness Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar (Gourmet/Premium, nominee)
Hammond’s Candies – Hammond’s Whoopie Pie Chocolate Bar (Gourmet/Premium, nominee)
Chuao Chocolatier – Oh My S’mores! (Gourmet/Premium, nominee)
Chuao Chocolatier – Pretzel Toffee Twirl (Gourmet/Premium, nominee)

“Kimmie Candy’s product innovation, like everyone’s, starts out as an idea, a hunch or a vision,” said Joe Dutra, president/CEO of Kimmie Candy Company, whose Salted Caramel ChocoRocks were a nominee in the popular chocolate category. “You hope the new product will meet market acceptance, but you’re not sure yet. The Most Innovative New Product Award nomination we received from the leaders in the retail industry showed us that this product has real potential in the market. Small companies need this accolade as motivation to keep moving forward.”

Recognition by NCA with a Most Innovative New Product Award does carry cache across the industry. In 2012, the panel nominated Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle in the sweet snacks category. At the time, according to company founder Sheila Mains, annual revenue was around $500 thousand dollars. This year the company projects revenue in excess of $20 million.

“Since the depth, breadth and diversity of overall panel feedback possesses decades of category experience, retail knowledge and consumer trends smarts, panel-selected products have all but a guarantee to become best sellers with shoppers in the coming year,” added Lempert.

The 2015 Most Innovative New Product Awards will be presented at next year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo to be held in Chicago, May 19 – 21, 2015.

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About the Sweets & Snacks Expo – Sponsored by the National Confectioners Association, the Sweets & Snacks Expo is the confectionery and snack industry’s most successful, world class event. It is unrivaled in new product launches, business building solutions and innovations in merchandising. More than 16,000 qualified professionals attend with global participation from 90 countries. More than 650 companies displaying 3.5 acres of candy and snacks products exhibited at the 18th annual Expo which is held each May at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

About the National Confectioners Association – The National Confectioners Association fosters industry growth by advancing the interests of the confectionery industry and its customers. Serving as the voice of the industry, the Association advocates for the needs of the industry before government bodies, helps the industry understand and implement food safety and other regulations, provides information to help members strengthen their business in today’s competitive environment and creates relationships between all sectors of the industry including manufacturers, brokers, trade customers, suppliers to the industry and our consumers.