ECRM hosted its annual Candy Planning: Everyday & Summer Seasonal event in late August at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel in New Orleans, La.
For those unfamiliar, ECRM events bring together confectioners and candy buyers for meetings that resemble speed dating, since they have just 10 or 20 minutes at each appointment.
However, no Everyday & Summer Seasonal event would be complete without the Buyer’s Choice Awards, sponsored by Candy Industry Magazine and ECRM. Participating candy companies submitted new products for retail buyers to taste. The buyers also voted for their favorite in each of three categories: Chocolate, Non-Chocolate and Novelty.
Candy Industry would like to extend its congratulations to the winners. Aside from bragging rights and a new plaque, the winners also received advertising space in our magazine. A look at the winning companies and products appears below, along with other new products that caught our attention at the show.
Buyer’s Choice WINNERS!
Best New Non-Chocolate
Anastasia Confections, Inc.
Orlando, Fla. / coconutcashewcrunch.com
(800) 329-7100 / Coconut Cashew Crunch
Coconut Cashew Crunch started with a recipe from Hoffman’s Chocolate retail chain in Florida, a sister division of Anastasia’s parent company, BBX Sweet Holdings. It has been updated for a nationwide launch. This addictive, tropical-inspired treat is made in copper kettles with simple ingredients: shredded coconut, premium cashews, butter, brown sugar and a hint of sea salt.
S.R.P.: (6-oz. bag) $4.49-4.99
Best New Novelty
Bazooka Candy Brands
New York, N.Y. / topps.com
(212) 376-0300 / Juicy Drop Gum
The newest addition to Bazooka’s Juicy Drop line, Juicy Drop Gum provides long-lasting flavor in a unique way. Its design includes sour gel that can be used to continually boost and extend flavor. Fans can also create their perfect mix of sweet bubble gum and sour gel for a 2-in-1 flavor experience. Juicy Drop Gum comes in four flavors: Knock-Out Punch, Blue Rebel, Apple Attack and Watermelon Blast.
Best New Chocolate
Big Little Fudge
Montgomery, Texas / biglittlefudge.com
Big Little Fudge is made in small batches, but it packs big cocoa flavor. The individually-wrapped, gluten-free Littlers* were created to offer the option to choose ‘BIG’ or ‘little’ portions. As noted on the wrapper, Littlers* are “for fudgin’…just a little.”
S.R.P.: (4.5 oz. bag) $4.99
Check out these new products from the ECRM Show!
Atkinson Candy Co.
Lufkin, Texas / atkinsoncandy.com / (936) 639-2333
Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars
Lovers of the classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars can rejoice — they now come in a larger size. The low-fat, gluten-free and kosher-certified candies that have brought peanut buttery goodness to generations are available in a 2-oz. bar.
Brown & Haley
Tacoma, Wash. / brown-haley.com / (253) 620-3000
Like their well-established cousins, the 100-year-old Mountain Bars, the new Mountain Thins combine chocolate with fruit and nut flavors for a powerful punch. However, Mountain Thins boast tons of crunchy inclusions. They come in three flavors:
- Milk Chocolate Trail Mix: Milk chocolate with peanuts, sunflower seeds, pretzels and banana.
- Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter: Milk chocolate with peanuts, specially-made peanut butter morsels and sea salt.
- Dark Chocolate Wild Berry: Dark chocolate with dried blueberries and raspberry crunch.
S.R.P.: (5.3-oz. bag) $4.99
Louisville, Ky. / candyrific.com / (502) 893-3626
Princess Belle Character Fan
Belle, from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, sits atop this working fan. Each fan includes 0.53 oz. of microbites candy. Princess Belle comes in an assorted display with Cinderella, Ariel and Rapunzel.
Trolls Character Fan
Poppy and Branch, two characters from DreamWorks’ movie, Trolls, crown these novelty character fans. Each includes 0.53 oz. of microbites candy. All characters have a tuft of pink or blue hair and are just the right size to take on your next adventure.
Creative Concepts, Inc.
Irondale, Ala. / creative-concepts.com / (205) 838-0570
Whackies Crunchy Candy Bits Super Sour Mix
These gluten-free treats may look small, but they pack a powerful punch. Available in Blue Raspberry, Lemonade and Wild Cherry flavors, these super sour bits take Whackies to a new level.
Darrell Lea Limited
Ramsgate, New South Wales, Australia / dlea.com.au / 61-2-95-29-3366
These filled candies combine the softness of Australian licorice and the snap of Belgian white chocolate. Available in Strawberry and Mango flavors, Stix are non-GMO and made without high-fructose corn syrup.
Licorice enthusiasts will enjoy this traditional mix of colorful, layered treats made from natural flavors. The pieces are kosher, non-GMO and free of high-fructose corn syrup.
S.R.P.: (5 oz. bag) $2.99
Sugar Free Aussie-Style Soft Licorice
Darrell Lea has retooled its traditional Black and Strawberry flavors so licorice lovers with sugar concerns may enjoy them. Like its counterparts, the sugar-free licorice uses no artificial flavors or colors.
Melrose Park, Ill. / fanniemay.com / (330) 494-0833
Known for creating high-quality chocolate pieces, Fannie May has put its expertise into bark bars with plenty of fruit and nut inclusions. It comes in three flavors:
- Nuts and Seed Bar: Dark chocolate with toasted coconut, almonds and pumpkin seeds.
- Very Berry Bar: Milk chocolate with dried blueberries, cranberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds and a pinch of sea salt.
- Blueberry and Pistachio Bar: White chocolate with dried blueberries and pistachios.
S.R.P.: (3-oz. bar) $3.99
Ferrara Candy Co.
Forest Park, Ill. / ferrarapan.com / (708) 366-0500
Brach’s Apple Nut Goodie
Building off the success of the Maple Nut Goodie, the Apple Nut Goodie is comfort in a bite. Crunchy toffee and an apple-flavored coating cover roasted peanuts for a snack that is sweet and satisfying.
Trolli Sour Gummi Crunchers
Each bite of a Trolli Sour Gummi Cruncher is an explosion of sourness. This treat’s thin candy shell bursts into a jolt of sour and then sweet, thanks to its chewy center.
S.R.P. (4.25 oz.) $1.49
G. Debbas Chocolatier
Fresno, Calif. / ownbrandchocolate.com / 559-294-2071
Sodapops! Sparkling Chocolate
If chocolates that taste just like classic soda flavors weren’t enough, Sodapops Sparkling Chocolate offers another surprise — a bubbling sensation similar to taking a swig of your favorite soda. They come in six flavors: Vanilla, Lemon Lime, Root Beer, Orange, Grape and Cola.
Chocolate Cluster Bombs
It’s hard to beat chunks of chocolate with sweet and crunchy inclusions, but the Chocolate Cluster Bombs take it to the next level with an explosion in each bite. They come in six flavors: Peanut Butter and Jelly Crunch, Fruity Crisp Cereal, Potato Chip Pretzel, Cookies and Cream, Espresso Cornflake and Strawberry Lemon Cheesecake.
Innovative Candy Concepts
Atlanta, Ga. / icccandy.com / (404) 505-7332
Melted Chocolate Candy
This treat’s smooth consistency provides more intense flavor than the traditional chocolate bar. Sold in round jars with a spoon, the sugar-free confection comes in three flavors: Creamy Chocolate, Chocolate Caramel and Chocolate Cheesecake. Melted Chocolate Candy does not require refrigeration.
S.R.P.: (2-oz. jar) $2.99
Kenny’s Candy Co.
Perham, Minn. / kennyscandy.com / (218) 346-2340
This sweet and crunchy mix has something for everyone. It comes in two varieties:
- Original: Kettle corn, pretzel sticks and milk chocolate-coated potato chips, all drizzled in caramel and dark and white chocolate.
- Peanut Butter: Kettle corn, pretzel sticks, peanut butter-covered pretzels and crushed peanut butter cups, all drizzled in dark and white chocolate.
S.R.P.: (8-oz. bag) $5.99
Cockeysville, Md. / kokos.com / (410) 252-1020
Sweet Fire Sriracha Candy
These treats have a sweet berry flavor and a fiery kick, thanks to sriracha, a hot chili sauce used in Asian cuisine. They come in three varieties:
- Sweet Fire Popping Candy with lollipop
- Sweet Fire Cotton Candy
- Sweet Fire Gumballs
S.R.P. (1-oz. bag) $1.29
Kruger North America, Inc.
Oak Park, Ill. / krueger-unternehmen.de / (708) 851-3670
Schogetten, a popular chocolate bar brand in Europe that has recently been introduced to the United States, is now available in Caramel Brownie and Cookies and Cream flavors. The 100g/3.5-oz. bars come in 18 pre-portioned pieces. Schogetten is made in Germany with the highest quality ingredients and contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
Lovely Candy Co.
Woodstock, Ill. / lovelycandyco.com / (815) 337-0673
Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles
After forming a partnership with Honey Acres earlier this year, Lovely Candy Co. has released a line of Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles that continue a long-standing tradition of simple, high-quality confections. The gluten-, dairy- and artificial color-free treats come in Original, Mint and Raspberry.
S.R.P.: (4.5-oz. bag) $3.99
The all-natural Hula Chews will transport you to the white-sand beaches of Hawaii. These treats, made with dark cocoa, black cacao and bits of real coconut, are non-GMO and gluten-free certified.
S.R.P.: (5.5-oz. bag) $2.99
City of Industry, Calif. / mexi-land.com / (626) 336-1305
Made of concentrated fruit and accompanied by chia seeds, these fruit snacks are full of nutrients that benefit the body and the brain. Day Fruit, which comes in Grape, Strawberry and Raspberry, is fat-free, gluten-free, enriched with vitamin C and contains no artificial colors and flavors.
S.R.P.: (0.52 oz.) $0.59
These individually wrapped gummies are covered in tamarind and chili powder for a sweet and spicy combination. They come in Mango and Watermelon flavors.
Original Gourmet Food Co.
Salem, N.H. / ogfc.net / (603) 894-1200
These Taffy Wheels will make your sweet tooth spin. They come in three flavors: Blue Raspberry, Strawberry and Cotton Candy.
S.R.P.: (3.1 oz.) $1
Pearson’s Candy Co.
St. Paul, Minn. / pearsonscandy.com / (651) 698-0356
It’s a new spin on a classic. Bit-O-Honey Chocolate has Pearson’s signature honey taffy at its base, but cocoa powder gives it an extra layer of flavor. It’s available in 4.2-oz. peg bags, 4-oz. theater boxes and 30-lb bulk cases.
S.R.P.: (4.2-oz. bag) $1.29
Perfetti Van Melle USA, Inc.
Erlanger, Ky. / perfettivanmelle.com / (859) 263-1234
Airheads Xtreme Sourfuls
One of the newest Airheads creations, Xtreme Sourfuls have the best of both worlds. The bite-size pieces have a soft center surrounded by the sweetly sour chew that’s characteristic of the Airheads Xtremes.
S.R.P.: (6-oz. bag) $2.29
Piedmont Candy Co.
Lexington, N.C. / piedmontcandy.com / (336) 248-5878
Birthday Cake Candy Puffs
Piedmont’s signature puffs have gotten a little more festive with the Birthday Cake Candy Puffs. These treats are fat- and gluten free, and like the other puffs, are made with pure cane sugar.
S.R.P.: (4 oz.) $1
Taste of Nature, Inc./Shari Candies
Santa Monica, Calif. / candyasap.com / (310) 396-4433
Swirlz Organic Cotton Candy
This hand-spun cotton candy is not like the typical carnival and circus fare. The USDA organic, fat-, cholesterol-, gluten- and GMO-free treat uses radish for its pink color.
S.R.P.: (3-oz. bag) $2.49