Delicious Award-Winners Recognized for Candy and Snack Innovation

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Most Innovative New Products Named by the National Confectioners Association

Washington, D.C. (May 24, 2016) –The 2016 Most Innovative New Product Award winners in the confection and snack industries have officially been named by the National Confectioners Association. The delicious winners were announced during an awards ceremony celebration at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago on May 24. From more than 300 new product award entries, the evaluation panel nominated 45 of the tastiest treats across nine candy and snack categories as finalists.

The nominees represent the most creative, innovative and fun products that the industry has to offer. Winners were awarded in the nine flavorful categories, including chocolate, non-chocolate, sweet, salty, savory, novelty, seasonal, gourmet/premium and gum/mints. Product submissions were rated based on taste, packaging, innovation and go-to market feasibility.

“It’s hard not to smile when thinking about how much fun candy is, but what people may not realize is how many companies around the globe are working tirelessly to push the envelope to take the confection and snacks industry to the next level,” said NCA President & CEO John H. Downs, Jr. “We are continuously amazed by the industry’s evolution and ability to remain innovative and exciting.”

A panel, led by Supermarket Guru and food marketing authority Phil Lempert, narrowed the field of nearly 300 scrumptious entries to the top five most innovative products in each category. Industry representatives from some of the nation’s leading retail and wholesale companies, food industry icons and trend experts also played a role in distributing the golden tickets for each of the winning categories. Submissions saw growth of 12 percent from last year which made judging this year’s competition a whole lot tastier.

“With more competition than ever before, each of the Most Innovative Product Award finalists and winners represent the upper echelon of candy and snack innovation,” said Barry Rosenbaum, chairman of the Sweets & Snacks Expo and president of Nassau Candy Distributors, Inc. “However, the increase in entries, totaling 320 this year, shows how innovative and progressive our industry is and embodies the essence of the Sweets & Snacks Expo.”

Among a mouthwatering array of entries highlighting innovation in taste, a number of products also highlighted advancements made in packaging within the industry. A number of products this year showcased responsibility in encouraging smart snacking through their packaging forms and technology. The candy and snack industries are focusing now more than ever on providing consumers with the right tools to enjoy candy and snacks in moderation.

This year’s winners are:

Best in show winner: The Hershey Company – Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate winner: Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. – Grand Ferrero Rocher
MARS Chocolate North America – DOVE® Chocolate Fruit & Nut – Raspberry & Honey Roasted Almond
MARS Chocolate North America – DOVE® Chocolate Fruit & Nut – Strawberry & Cocoa Almond
R.M. Palmer Company – You’re Jawsome
The Hershey Company – Hershey’s Brookside Dark Chocolate Tablet Bar Blueberry Almond Acai Flavor

Non-chocolate winner: Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company – Starburst® Gummies®
Ferrara Candy Co. – Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears
Ferrara Candy Co. – Black Forest Organic Sour Heads
Just Born, Inc. – HOT TAMALES® Licorice Bites
Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc. – Airheads Xtremes Sourfuls

Sweet snacks winner: Alli & Rose, LLC – Half Dips Dark Chocolate Mango
Alli & Rose, LLC – Crispy Coconut Rolls Dipped in Dark Chocolate
Brownie Brittle, LLC. – Organic Pretzel & Dark Chocolate Brownie Brittle
DeMet’s Candy Company – FLIPZ Caramel Sea Salt Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Golden Cannoli – The Original Cannoli Chips

Salty snacks winner: Naturally Homegrown Foods Ltd – Hardbite “18 CARROT GOLD” Carrot Chips
Beanfields Snacks – Beanfields Jalapeño Nacho Bean and Rice Chips
Caribe Producers – Hatfield & McCoy Bacon Jerky Spicy Revenge
Jack Link’s Beef Jerky – Small Batch Maple Bacon Jerky
Popchips, Inc. – popchips® Ridges

Savory snacks winner: Temple Lifestyle – Hungry Buddha Smokin’ Sriracha Coconut Chips
Alli & Rose, LLC – Broccoli Florets
Alli & Rose, LLC – Onion Chips
Perky Jerky – Brewmasters Pale Ale Turkey Perky Jerky

Novelty/licensed winner: Dippin’ Dots Ice-Cream – Dippin’ Dots Redberry Sherbet with Sour Patch Kids
Boncho Boncha Corporation – Selfie Candy
Boston America Corp – Bug Tape
Jelly Belly Candy Co. – BATMAN™ Grab & Go Bag
Kokos Confectionery & Novelty – Squeezy Squirt Pop

Seasonal winner: DeMet’s Candy Company – TURTLES® Eggs
Ferrara Candy Co. – Trolli Sour Brite Trees
Jelly Belly Candy Co. – Jelly Belly Naughty or Nice BeanBoozled Spinner Gift Box
The Hershey Company – Hershey’s Candy Corn Crème Bar
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company – Starburst® Ice Cream Jellybeans

Gourmet/premium winner: Jelly Belly Candy Co. – Organic Jelly Beans
Bare Snacks – bare Baked Crunchy Cinnamon Banana Chips
Brown & Haley – Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter MOUNTAIN THINS
Little Secrets – Toasted Coconut
Thanasi Foods – Duke’s Hatch Green Chile Smoked “SHORTY” Sausages

Gum & Mints Winner: Bazooka Candy Brands – Bazooka Sugar-Free To Go Cup
Mondelez International – Stride Revolution Melo Peach
Mondelez International – Stride Revolution Spearmint
Project 7 – Project 7 Build a Flavor Smores Pack
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company – Orbit® White

For more information on The 2016 Most Innovative New Product Awards and to view highlights from the 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo, visit

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About the National Confectioners Association (NCA)
The National Confectioners Association is the trade organization that advances, protects and promotes chocolate, candy, gum and mints, and the companies that make these special treats. As the leading association for the $35 billion U.S. confectionery industry, NCA educates the public to help ensure that it understands and appreciates the unique role that chocolate and candy can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle. Confections are produced in all 50 states, creating jobs for approximately 55,000 workers in more than 1,000 manufacturing facilities across the country. More than 400,000 jobs in agriculture, retail, transportation and other industries rely in part on the sale of confections for their livelihood. For every one job that is created by confectionery companies, another seven are supported in related industries. Learn more about the “Power of Sweet” at, or follow NCA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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. Nearly 17,000 qualified professionals attend with global presence from 90 countries. More than 750 companies displaying more than 4 acres of candy and snack products participate in the Expo. The event is held each May at Chicago’s McCormick Place.