Front Panel: July 2016 Issue

Posted: July 20, 2016

Good things do come in small packages – especially when it comes to treats. Confectioners and snack makers will be consistently creating big tastes in small products this year, often under labels like “thins” and “barks.” These products don’t skimp on ingredients or quality, but focus on delivering a delicious product that’s easy to snack on while on-the-go or to simply enjoy in moderation.

Fantastic Fruits and Noteworthy Nuts

With chocolate and fruit or chocolate and nut combinations performing increasingly well over the last three years (increasing 116% and 63%, respectively), a multitude of innovative fruit and nut products are being launched in 2016. New mouthwatering fruit and flavor pairings will emerge introducing many of us for the first time to combinations like mango and chocolate, blueberry and acai or fig with vanilla. Similarly, the industry is going nuts for new nut innovations. Expect to see the inclusion of more hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews and salted almonds in candies and snacks in 2016. Coconut, a botanically curious fruit/nut hybrid, will also be paired with flavors such as caramel, peanut butter and chocolate. 

Far-Out Flavor

Today’s flavor profiles are bigger and bolder than ever before with flavor combinations taking the confectionery and snack industry by storm. This category includes many kitchen-inspired flavors including pumpkin, fiery spices and robust international flair. Saigon cinnamon, Sriracha and chimichurri are a few flavors that are expected to pack a punch at the expo and beyond. Other notable ingredients within this category include coffee, espresso and cappuccino flavors, which have increased 30% over the last three years.

Innovative Ingredients

Coconut palm sugar, coconut milk, chia and pumpkin seeds highlight only a handful of the variety of noteworthy ingredients in this year’s new product launches. These creative ingredients are far from ordinary and guaranteed to take taste buds to new levels.

Taste of Luxury

Over the past three years premium chocolate sales increased 56%, so it’s no wonder that confection- and snack-makers have their eyes on luxury and gourmet markets this year. Even candies known for their mass appeal are creating premium products. Candy companies incorporated high quality ingredients and flavors like champagne, muscadine grape and Himalayan sea salt, to name a few.

At the show, Mars Chocolate North America also announced the launch of several new flavor extensions, including Snickers Hazelnut, Twix White Chocolate Cookie Bars, Dove Sorbet Bars, Dove Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Promises and a wide range of seasonal offerings for these brands, plus M&M’S, Milky Way and 3 Musketeers brands.

“Consumers are always excited to try new flavors combined with their favorite chocolate brands,” explains Timothy LeBel, vice president of sales, Mars Chocolate North America. “Through extensive consumer research, we’ve created line extensions that will resonate with shoppers. For example, confections containing hazelnuts have increased 14% in sales, so consumers will want to try our limited edition Snickers Hazelnut. We also believe our new Twix White Chocolate Cookie Bars will be a hit, since the white chocolate segment is growing.”

Wrigley, another subsidiary of Mars Incorporated, also unveiled new products that give consumers more choices from brands including Orbit White, Starburst Gummies in Original and Sour flavors, Skittles America Mix and more. Orbit had unveiled a new global creative platform called “Time to Shine” that celebrates the potential of what can happen when you’re feeling confident and ready for life’s defining moments.