It’s all about innovation and re-invention when it comes to appealing novelty candy ideas.

Re-inventing the wheel is what Bazooka is known for, says Anthony Trani, v.p. of marketing for Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of The Topps Co. Inc. And, each of its three new products is a re-invention.

The company re-invented taffy with its Juicy Drop Taffy, sold in single-serving sizes and currently rolling out in retail stores in 3.9-oz. peg bags filled with 15 pieces of Knock-Out Punch and Blue Rebel-flavored chewy taffy and a sour raspberry-flavored gel pen.

Bazooka also re-invented the sucker with the ring pop, and now the New York manufacturer has taken it a step further with Ring Pop Gummies, which are 100 percent edible. The four flavors — strawberry, cherry, watermelon and blue raspberry — are available in 5-oz. peg bags. Limited edition New York Yankees Ring Pops also were introduced earlier this year and the plan is to expand to other baseball markets next year, Trani says.

And, Bazooka completely overhauled its bubble gum into pocket-friendly wallet packs, two flavors to a pack of 10 with five original and five blue raspberry flavors. The graphics also have been modernized to appeal to today’s consumers.

The novelty category is where the “true innovation in new ideas” occurs, explains Trani. The company re-vamped BazookaJoe.Com to not only include its trademark comics but fun games and mindbenders as well as a code to unlock more content on its website. He notes that its CandyMania.Com interactive website, which in the past was used for summer promotions, is now open year-round for all its candy brands and includes games and videos as well.

Another company that’s truly innovating is Radz. Their candy dispensers have been on the market for a little more than a year, and have picked up several awards, including being named 2013 Top Toy of the Year by Creative Child magazine. More than 250 different characters have been designed, yet only 102 have been released in the U.S. thus far, according to company President Todd Elliott. Another 150 designs will be coming out next year, he says. The toy characters are filled with a package of candy and a code to access exclusive videos, games and more on the company’s online entertainment site, RadzWorld.Com, and some of the characters have accessories such as sunglasses. Each candy dispenser has a backpack clip and some are available on lanyards. Some even have interchangeable parts like Mr. Potato Head, he notes.

There are now several lines such as Radz Gone Wild, which has a zoo safari theme and is sold in a number of zoos and aquariums;Radz Sports Crazy, in the shape of various sports themes;Radz Barnyard, all farm animals; and a collegiate line that ties in with all the big-named schools.

At this fall’s toy show in Dallas, Radz will be previewing five new products: a Radz Fashionista line, a ‘tween girl-focused, fashion-driven line of trendy Radz, which come with multiple fashion accessories, as well as two new licensedRadz product lines, and two new non-licensedRadz product lines.

“It’s turned out to be phenomenal for us from a marketing perspective,” says Elliott. Radz panned compressed dextrose candies also are available in 1.5-oz. refillable bags. The candies, in apple smash, strawberry splash, orange burst and Radzberry ( a mystery flavor) are all gluten- and peanut-free and kosher.

Innovation doesn’t always mean a tie-in with the web though. Sometimes it’s all about the licensing.

For those who like it hot, Jelly Belly Candy Co. has introduced Tabasco Jelly Belly Jelly Beans with real Tabasco seasoning  in 1.5-oz. miniature Tabasco bottles.

Consumers will taste red peppers, Avery Island salt and distilled vinegar with a subtle sweetness. The new flavor also is available in the more traditional 3.1-oz. Grab & Go bags.

Both items sell well, particularly in the South, says John Pola, v.p. of specialty sales for the Fairfield, Calif., manufacturer.

“Spicy is a big trend right now and this flavor is right on point,” he explains.

Jelly Belly also has two new flavor pairings in itsBeanBoozled collection: lawn clippings/lime and stinky socks/tutti-frutti. It’s the third edition of flavors that pairs one delicious flavor with a disgusting one, and is available in a 1.6-oz. flip-top box, in two 24-count caddies and a 3.5-oz. spinner gift box.

“One search on YouTube will show you how popular this line is,” says Pola.

Meanwhile, its Harry Potter line, Jelly Slugs in five flavors — pear, sour cherry, tangerine, watermelon and banana — are now available in 2.1-oz. bags. Under its Disney line, Jelly Belly has four varieties of Jelly Bean Disney Gifts. The 2.8-oz. peg gift bags with a writeable space to pen personalized messages come in a Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy special editions, each with its own variety of flavors.

Jelly Belly also has introduced aJelly Belly Buttered Popcorn Jelly Bean Box, a nostalgic red and white-stripped stand-up box that looks like an old-fashioned pop corn box.

The company also has a new Jelly Belly Hello Kitty bean-shaped candy dish with a 1-oz. starter bag and aJelly Belly Hello Kitty large candy dish with a sample of five .28-oz. pyramid bags filled with 20 flavors.

”In the last decade, we’ve seen tremendous growth of our novelty category,” says Pola, noting growth of 40 percent for Jelly Belly.

CandyRific also has found a lot of success with licensed novelty items.

The company released a complete line of Monsters University products this year — including a Mike Candy Fan and a Sulley Flashlight — and will have a full line of items for Disney’s upcoming “Good Dinosaur.”

Candyrific also will offer everyday products for Disney TV personalities Sophia and Jake, and continue to carry Mickey and Minnie helicopter Candy Fans. All these toys are filled with micro bite candies.

CandyRific also are offering Pac-Man Flashlights and LaLaLoopsy Character Fans.

 “Progressive retailers, who take the effort to have diverse and exciting offerings to their customers, become a destination, instead of just picking up impulse buyers because they happened to be in the store … ,” says Rob Auerbach, CandyRific’s president.

The Praim Group, of Salem, Mass., didn’t have to search very long for it’s latest license — Where’s Waldo?

The company partnered with DreamWorks Classic to offer four limited edition Where’s Waldo? milk chocolate bars featuring Waldo in his distinctive red and white striped shirt, bobble hat and glasses. The 3.5-oz. all natural and kosher bars are available in two everyday and two Christmas wraps.

“The response to Waldo has been phenomenal, more than we anticipated and with less than five months out of the gate,” says Paul Pruett, the company’s ceo.

Meanwhile, Au’Some Inc. recently picked up a Monopoly license,  offering both regular and natural 3-D Gummies in the famous board game shapes  — hotel, Scotty dog, race car and top hat.

Under the same license, Monmouth, N.J.-based Au’Some has introduced red Monopoly dice in itsSnerdles line. Inside the red dice are tiny crunchy candies on square fruit strips designed to resemble the iconic game’s famous spots: railroad, light bulb, car and question mark.

“We try to go get licenses we know have some ‘legs’ on them — the ones we see will be around for some time,” says Vanessa Muniz, Au’Some’s marketing assistant. “Monopoly has been around for some time.”

Creating fun novelty candy doesn’t always mean relying on a license though.

Au’Some also has introduced a pirate and princess-themed activity candy box, which includes dextrose candy kids can make into necklaces, bracelets, soda bottles and rings for the pirate treasurer chest and lipstick, rings, necklaces and bracelets for the princess set.A Princess Mermaid shell candy set allows children to make their own necklaces as well.

And, holiday and seasonal items are also an important segment of the novelty cateogory as well — offering another way to expand existing lines or create new products. 

New for this Halloween, Au’Some has a Candy Cauldron which includes a broomstick lollipop to dip into fizzy powder located inside the cauldron and a Gummy Mummy, which is a huge gummy in the shape of a mummy.

Meanwhile, Candyrific has Kissing Bears for Valentine’s Day, keychain flashlights topped with pumpkins and mummies for Halloween, andM&M’s ornaments for Christmas.

“The seasonal events are increasing as retailers focus more and more on the rhythm of their customers,” Auerbach says. ”For example, besides the four major holidays — Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter — back-to-school and summer programs are becoming more common and successful.”

 Back-to-school seasonal candy? Sounds like a novel idea.