The National Confectioners Association (NCA) has announced the winners of the 2018 Most Innovative New Product Awards.
The winners, chosen from more than 300 entries, were announced at an awards ceremony at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, held May 22-24 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
The awards are sponsored by IRI, a Chicago-based research firm. The company has long appreciated the role new product development plays in strengthening the category.
“Historically, innovation has driven about 7 percent of the growth in confections,” said Larry Levin, IRI’s executive v.p. of consumer and shopper marketing. “New products spark excitement for the consumer and generate more opportunities for treating.”
In addition to nine core categories judged in previous years, the NCA awarded Barry Callebaut the inaugural Ruby Award for Supplier Innovation for its development of Ruby chocolate, a rosy chocolate made from naturally pink cocoa beans.
Chicago-based Vosges Haut-Chocolat received the second Small Business Innovator Award for Wild Ophelia Hazelnut Cocoa Toast. This award recognizes companies with net sales under $500,000, giving them the opportunity to gain recognition among well-established peers.
This year's Best in Show award went to Hostess for Bakery Petites Double Chocolate Cake Delights, made with real chocolate and without high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors.
Product submissions for all categories were rated on four weighted criteria: taste, packaging, innovation and go-to-market feasibility.
Winners in the other categories include:
Hershey’s Gold Standard Bar
The Hershey Co.
Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. – Junior Mint Minis
Seattle Chocolate – Seattle Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Truffle Bar
R.M. Palmer Company – Football FANtasy
Tru Fru, LLC – Coconut Melts Freeze-Dried & Immersed in Dark Chocolate
Big Chewy Nerds
Nestle USA/Ferrara Candy Co.
Ferrara Candy Co. – Sour Brite Sneaks
The Hershey Company – Jolly Rancher Misfits
Impact Confections, Inc. – HOTHEADS Scorching Heat Twists
Hammond’s Brands – Vanilla Caramel Marshmallow
Organic White Chocolate Mini Peanut Butter Cups
Tangerine Vanilla Cashew Macadamia Glazed Mix
Trail Mix Crackers
Alli & Rose
Warheads Dippin’ Ring
Ferrero Rocher Golden Heart for You and Me
Parm Crisps Trios
That's How We Roll
Gum & Mints
Cool Tropical Tic Tac Gum
Ferrero USA, Inc.