10 tasting trends: See what’s ahead for snacks and sweets | Packaging Digest

Financially, the candy and snack industry is a healthy business. Increasingly, that term is becoming more literal as well. For example, according to the National Confectioners Association, by 2022 manufacturers pledge at least half of individually wrapped products will be 200 calories or less. Additionally, 90% of the category’s bestsellers will put calorie information in a starring role—right on the front of the packaging.

Encouragement of more healthful snacking isn’t the only trend. At the NCA’s 2019 Sweets and Snacks Expo, attendees heard about notable market facts and trends, including:

• Booming e-commerce sales. IRI reports online sales of packaged candy, snacks and other treats has hit the $1 billion mark. Over the past two years, increases in internet sales of chocolate led the field (24%), with non-chocolate (15%) and gum.

• Non-chocolate is pulling ahead.Traditionally chocolate has worn the crown in category growth. In 2017 and again last year, however, non-chocolate has pulled ahead, reports NCA. Seasonal non-chocolate offerings jumped by 6.5% in that time.

• Candy, snacks and gum reign. Nearly every household in America (98.9%) bought products in the category during 2018, according to IRI.

The star of Sweets and Snacks, though, are the product exhibits. Wandering through the booths offered a glimpse of thousands of new products, and a chance to do some trendspotting. Browse ahead to read about notable packaging, flavor and ingredient trends.

Photo: Jenni Spinner

1. Hot, hot, hot

Aficionados of all things spicy will appreciate this trend. Increasingly, packaged treats promise intense heat—and deliver. For example, the new line of Chickpea Puffs from Biena Snacks includes a Blazin’ Hot flavor that actually is. Other bold entries include Hot AF Slim Jim meat sticks from ConAgra Brands and—for the truly fearless—the Toe of Satan, Flamethrower Candy Co.’s lollipop boasting 9 million Scoville units of heat.

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