CHICAGO (May 21, 2019) – The newest innovations in confectionery and snacks were today recognized at the 2019 Sweets & Snacks Expo’s annual Most Innovative New Product Awards. A panel of judges representing retail leaders in the confectionery and snack category evaluated products in nine categories: chocolate, non-chocolate, sweet, salty, savory, novelty, seasonal, gourmet/premium, and gum & mints.

More than 300 products were entered for consideration across the categories. Judges evaluated products based on their taste, packaging, innovation and go-to-market feasibility.
“Innovative new products generate fun and excitement for consumers which is key to building a satisfying and compelling shopper experience,” John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association, said. “The companies highlighting their new products should feel proud of what they have created and their impact, which drives category growth in our vibrant industry.”

In addition to awards in each of the nine categories, the Most Innovative New Product Awards also present a Best in Show award for overall best new product and a Small Business Innovator award that recognizes companies with net sales less than $500,000.

The Most Innovative New Product Awards are sponsored by IRi, a market research company that has built a reputation for using integrated data to help CPG, retail and media companies grow their businesses.

“Innovation is always a source of excitement in our industry,” Larry Levin, executive vice president of market and shopper intelligence at IRi, said. “Honoring groundbreaking innovations through the Most Innovative New Product Awards helps companies share that excitement with show attendees, who in turn help build that excitement with consumers in the market. We always look forward to seeing where the winners’ products will take them.”

The 2019 Most Innovative New Product Awards winners and nominees are:

Best in Show:
Ferrara – Trolli Sour Crunchy Crawlers

Small Business Innovator:
Newfangled Confections, LLC – Classic Peanut Frittle
Flamethrower Candy Company – Ghost Pepper Hard Candy
Pols Gıda Dış Ticaret A.Ş – Freeze Fresh/Strawberry
Praim Group – Keto Krisp Almond Butter
The Cookie Joint – Original Shortbread Cookie Fries

Chocolate Winner:
The Hershey Company – KIT KAT Duos Mint + Dark Chocolate
ChocXO Chocolatier – ChocXO PB & Ruby Cups
The Hershey Company – Reese’s Thins Milk Chocolate
Ferrero USA, Inc. – Kinder Bueno
OCHO Candy – Organic PB&J Candy Bar

Non-Chocolate Winner:
Just Born, Inc. – PEEPS® Marshmallow, Strawberry, Lemon & Blueberry Flavored Jelly Beans
Haribo of America, Inc. – HARIBO Watermelon
Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., LLC – Starburst Duos Fruit Chews
Bazooka Candy Brands, a Division of The Topps Company – Ring Pop Gummy Gems
Justin’s – Justin’s Organic Almond Butter Covered Almonds & Justin’s Organic Cashew Butter Covered Cashews

Sweet Snacks Winner:
Tru Fru LLC – Whole Raspberries Freshly Frozen & Immersed in Premium White and Milk Chocolate
Kellogg Company – Rice Krispies Treats Snap Crackle Poppers
Alli & Rose – Tropical Fields Half Dipped Mango
SPI West Port Inc. – Woodridge Snacks Ginger Chews – Sesame Seed
Alli & Rose – Munchelo Drizzled Trail Mix Crackers

Salty Snacks Winner:
Kellogg Company – Cheez-It Snap’d
Sahale Snacks LLC – Sahale Snacks Pineapple Rum Cashew Coconut Snack Mix
Kellogg Company – Pringles Wavy
Sahale Snacks LLC – Sahale Snacks Cherry Cocoa Almond Coconut Snack Mix
A’mond Snacks – Smokehouse, Honey Chipotle, Cheddar

Savory Snacks Winner:
Mondelez International, Inc – Triscuit Wheatberry Clusters – Pumpkin Seeds & Sweet Corn
Alli & Rose – SnakYard Shiitake Mushrooms
Riffs Smokehouse – BACON-ON-THE-GO Thai Curry
Specialty Cheese Company, Inc. – Just The Cheese Aged Cheddar Bars
Sun Tropics, Inc. – Island Saba Banana Chips – Sweet Chili

Novelty/Licensed Winner:
Jel Sert Company – Sour Patch Kids Twin Tube Freezer Bars
Jel Sert Company – Hostess Dessert Kit – Ding Dongs
Pez Candy, Inc. – PEZ LOL Surprise Mystery Packs
Bazooka Candy Brands, a Division of The Topps Company – Baby Bottle Pop Gummy Blast
CandyRific LLC – Marvel Avengers Fanimation

Seasonal Winner:
Ferrara – Trolli Sour Brite Candy Corn
The Hershey Company – Reese’s Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Lovers Cups
Bazooka Candy Brands, a Division of The Topps Company – Baby Bottle Pop Candy Canes
R.M. Palmer Company – Magical Easter Unicorn
Kopper’s Chocolate – Sparkling Prosecco Cordials

Gourmet Winner:
Tru Fru LLC – Whole Raspberries Freshly Frozen & Immersed in Premium White and Dark Chocolate
Ferrero USA, Inc. – Ferrero Golden Gallery Signature
SoKusa – Lotus Root Crisps
Pear’s Gourmet – Everything Bagel Flavored Cashews
Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., LLC – Dove Chocolate Salted Caramel

Gum & Mints Winner:
Ferrero USA, Inc. – Tic Tac X-FreezeTM
Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., LLC – Extra Refreshers Spearmint
Perfetti Van Melle USA, Inc. – Mentos Chewy & Fresh
The Hershey Company – Ice Breakers Duo Orange Mints
Ford Gum – Jelly Belly Sugar Free Gum – Very Cherry

2019 Most Innovative New Products Awards Judging Panel:

  • Sarah Bibbs, Eby-Brown Company, LLC
  • Ashley Borden, 7-Eleven, Inc.
  • Michael Caporusso, Core-Mark International, Inc.
  • Bob Craigmyle, Kroger Co.
  • Brendan Crampton, Real Canadian Wholesale Club
  • Jennifer Dilts, Dollar General
  • Krisanne Flamini, Wawa
  • Todd Gean, Hy-Vee, Inc.
  • Carol Ghelarducci, First-Source
  • Jim Hachtel, Eby-Brown Company LLC
  • Lauren Korowitz, RaceTrac
  • Hope LaGrone, McLane Company
  • Stefanie Lozinski, Meijer
  • Cindy Maly, Casey’s
  • Rachel Moyer, Costco
  • Stephanie Panzetta, Weis Markets
  • Ankit Patel,
  • Danielle Pelland, Army & Air Force Exchange Service
  • Terry Rafferty, KeHE
  • Brian Rinker, Walgreen Co.
  • Debbie S. Robins, Century Distributors
  • Tom Rosenberger, Sheetz Inc.
  • Jeff Rubin, IT’SUGAR

To learn more about the 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 U.S. confectionery industry, NCA helps ensure the public 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 54,000 workers in more than 1,300 manufacturing facilities across the country. For every job created in confectionery manufacturing, another ten are supported in related industries. In total, more than 607,000 American jobs are supported by the U.S. confectionery industry. America’s leading chocolate and candy companies support the Always A Treat Initiative, a commitment to transparency, portion guidance and choice, and consumer education. Learn more 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. Qualified candy and snack professionals attend with global presence from 90 countries. More than 800 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.

Carly Schildhaus