Best in Show honors went to The Hershey Co. for the second consecutive year, recognizing Reese’s Crunchers. The bite-size combinations of mini peanut butter chips, puffs and peanuts covered in milk chocolate are set to hit retail shelves next month.
The top honor is given to the product with the best overall score as determined by a panel of judges. “This product represents the best of the creamy Reese’s brand with the crunchy texture consumers want,” says Hershey’s Laura Renaud on the win.
The first Small Business Innovator Award went to Buddha Brands Co.’s Hungry Buddha +Probiotic Coconut Chips in Cheeky Chocolate. This new award recognizes the overall top-ranked product by the judges from among all items submitted by companies with $500,000 or less in sales.
Mark Cigos, co-founder and vice-president of business development in the U.S. for Buddha Brands, says the probiotics in the product make it one-of-a-kind in today’s market. “Our ingredient list has very few ingredients and that is what today’s consumers are looking for, products with ingredient names they recognize,” he tells CST.
In addition to the Best in Show and Small Business Innovator awards, the ceremony recognized the top items in each of nine categories, chosen from among the 363 products vying for the coveted awards.
The winners in the nine product categories were:
Novelty: Trolli Sour Brite Dip’n Crawlers, from Ferrara Candy Co., Inc.
Seasonal: Ghirardelli Chocolate Strawberry Bark, by Ghirardelli Chocolate Co.
Chocolate: M&Ms Caramel Chocolate Candies, from Mars Chocolate North America
Non-chocolate: Jelly Belly Krispy Kreme Gift Box, Jelly Belly Candy Co.
Savory Snacks: Snyder’s of Hanover Wholey Cheese! / Mild Cheddar, by Snyder’s-Lance, Inc.
Sweet Snacks: Nerds Lucha Grande – Mango Chile and Guava, from Nestlé USA, Inc.
Salty Snacks: The Daily Crave Gouda & Romano Cheese, by The Daily Crave
Gum and Mints: Tic Tac Gum Freshmint, from Ferrero USA, Inc.
Gourmet: Anastasia Coconut Cashew Crunch Dark Chocolate Drizzle, by Las Olas Confections and Snacks