By: Kristina Hurtig

Tropical and spicy flavors are trending, according to the Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Ahead of its annual event later this month, the Sweets & Snacks Expo has released the top trends for the confectionery and snack categories in 2021.

The show, to be held June 22-25 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, is sponsored by the National Confectioners Association (NCA) and brings together retail professionals and company representatives who showcase the latest in candy and snack products.

Many of those new products will fall into the following trends:

Smaller pack sizes: More companies continue to develop smaller pack sizes containing 200 calories or less, which allows consumers to make informed choices when they are ready to treat themselves to their favorite snack or candy, Sweets & Snacks said.

Tropical flavors: Tropical flavors, especially pineapple and coconut, are taking center stage.

Mix and match combinations: It’s all about getting the best of both worlds as candy and snack manufacturers develop products that are sweet and salty or fruity and tart.

Heat: Sweets & Snacks said some of the hottest new spicy snacks feature flavors such as chili, sriracha, jalapeno and habanero.

With last year’s show canceled due to the coronavirus, NCA President and CEO John Downs said, “This year is even more important as we get back to business. While consumer purchasing habits may have shifted to meet the new environment, manufacturers are exceeding expectations with new products, flavors and innovations.”

NCA earlier this month released the most popular summer candy types and flavors in celebration of June being National Candy Month. Strawberry was a top flavor, and chocolate reigned in types. 

For National Candy Month, celebrated this June, the National Confectioners Association has revealed the most popular summer candy types and flavors that can help retailers looking to lessen the sales lull the category typically experiences during the hottest months of the year.

“Retailers are embracing National Candy Month as a promotional opportunity as they look to bridge the confectionery sales gap between Easter and Halloween,” Carly Schildhaus, a spokesperson for the Washington, D.C.-based association, told WGB. “In June 2020, about 575 retail locations executed a National Candy month promotion of some sort—and this year more than 31,000 retail locations have embraced National Candy Month as a way to drive incremental sales. There is great momentum and excitement for National Candy Month, as the industry eyes up this summer merchandising sales opportunity which is estimated to be worth up to $500 million.”

According to the NCA, strawberry, watermelon and cherry are the top three summer candy flavors for 2021.

The top three summer candy types are chocolate, gummies and hard candy, but Schildhaus noted that Americans also love marshmallows and salt water taffy during the summer.

Chocolate and other confectionery treats often accompany consumers and their summer plans. NCA found that 94% of Americans will bring chocolate or candy with them while camping, 89% of beachgoers will enjoy chocolate or candy seaside and 93% of Americans say they’ll take along candy on their road trips.

“Whether you’re headed to the beach or to the pool, out for a hike or just to your backyard, chocolate and candy can add some sweetness to the summer,” NCA President and CEO John Downs said in a release.

Confection has remained resilient during the pandemic, with chocolate sales up by more than 5% and nonchocolate sales experiencing an increase of nearly 4%, Schildhaus said, adding that, “Consumers feel a magical connection to chocolate and candy—and they view them as treats that help boost their mood and lighten their perspective.”

n a report released earlier this year, NCA found that grocery-store dollar sales of chocolate candy grew 10.5% in 2020 and non-chocolate was up 9.9%. 

Source: CSP