The National Confectioners Association (NCA) has announced the 2019 winners of the Most Innovative Product Awards, presented annually at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago.
A panel of judges representing leaders in confectionery and snack retail evaluated products in nine categories: chocolate, non-chocolate, sweet, salty, savory, novelty, seasonal, gourmet/premium and gum and mints. 
More than 300 products were entered for consideration across the categories. Judges evaluated products based on their taste, packaging, innovation and go-to-market feasibility.
“Innovative new products generate fun and excitement for consumers which is key to building a satisfying and compelling shopper experience,” NCA President and CEO John Downs. “The companies highlighting their new products should feel proud of what they have created and their impact, which drives category growth in our vibrant industry.”
In addition to awards in each of the nine categories, the Most Innovative New Product Awards also present a Best in Show award for overall best new product and a Small Business Innovator award that recognizes companies with net sales less than $500,000. 
The Most Innovative New Product Awards are sponsored by IRi, a market research company that has built a reputation for using integrated data to help CPG, retail and media companies grow their businesses.
“Innovation is always a source of excitement in our industry,” said Larry Levin, IRi executive v.p. of market and shopper intelligence. “Honoring groundbreaking innovations through the Most Innovative New Product Awards helps companies share that excitement with show attendees, who in turn help build that excitement with consumers in the market. We always look forward to seeing where the winners’ products will take them.”
The NCA also honored packaging manufacturer Cascades with the 2nd Ruby Award for Supplier Innovation for its Northbox packaging, the first-ever fully recyclable insulated packaging in North America. The packaging is itself made of recycled materials and provides multiple insulation options for various shipping needs. 
The 2019 Most Innovative New Product Awards winners and nominees are:
Best in Show
Trolli Sour Crunchy Crawlers – Ferrara Candy Co.
Small Business Innovator
Classic Peanut Frittle – Newfangled Confections, LLC 
Ghost Pepper Hard Candy – Flamethrower Candy Co. 
Freeze Fresh/Strawberry – Pols Gıda Dış Ticaret A.Ş 
Keto Krisp – Almond Butter Praim Group
Original Shortbread Cookie Fries – The Cookie Joint 
Kit Kat Duos Mint + Dark Chocolate  – The Hershey Co.
ChocXO PB & Ruby Cups – ChocXO Chocolatier
Reese’s Thins Milk Chocolate – The Hershey Co.
Kinder Bueno – Ferrero USA, Inc. 
Organic PB&J Candy Bar – OCHO Candy
Lemon and Marshmallow Flavored Jelly Beans – Just Born Quality Confections
Haribo Watermelon – Haribo of America, Inc. 
Starburst Duos Fruit Chews  – Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., LLC 
Ring Pop Gummy Gems – Bazooka Candy Brands
Justin’s Organic Almond Butter Covered Almonds & Justin’s Organic Cashew Butter Covered Cashews  – Justin's
Sweet Snacks
Whole Raspberries Freshly Frozen & Immersed in Premium White and Milk Chocolate  – Tru Fru, LLC
Rice Krispies Treats Snap Crackle Poppers  – Kellogg Co.
Tropical Fields Half Dipped Mango – Alli & Rose
Woodridge Snacks Ginger Chews - Sesame Seed – SPI West Port Inc.
Munchelo Drizzled Trail Mix Crackers – Alli & Rose
Salty Snacks
Cheez-It Snap’d – Kellogg Co.
Pineapple Rum Cashew Coconut Snack Mix – Sahale Snacks, LLC
Pringles Wavy – Kellogg Co.
Cherry Cocoa Almond Coconut Snack Mix – Sahale Snacks, LLC
Smokehouse, Honey Chipotle, Cheddar – A’mond Snacks
Savory Snacks
Triscuit Wheatberry Clusters - Pumpkin Seeds & Sweet Corn – Mondelez International, Inc
SnakYard Shiitake Mushrooms – Alli & Rose
Bacon-on-the-Go Thai Curry – Riffs Smokehouse
Just The Cheese Aged Cheddar Bars – Specialty Cheese Co., Inc
Island Saba Banana Chips - Sweet Chili – Sun Tropics, Inc.
Sour Patch Kids Twin Tube Freezer Bars – Jel Sert Co.
Hostess Dessert Kit - Ding Dongs – Jel Sert Co.
PEZ LOL Surprise Mystery Packs – Pez Candy, Inc.
Baby Bottle Pop Gummy Blast – Bazooka Candy Brands
Marvel Avengers Fanimation  – CandyRific, LLC
Trolli Sour Brite Candy Corn  – Ferrara Candy Co.
Reese's Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Lovers Cups – The Hershey Co.
Baby Bottle Pop Candy Canes – Bazooka Candy Brands 
Magical Easter Unicorn – R.M. Palmer Co.
Sparkling Prosecco Cordials – Kopper's Chocolate 
Whole Raspberries Freshly Frozen & Immersed in Premium White and Dark Chocolate – Tru Fru, LLC
Ferrero Golden Gallery Signature – Ferrero USA, Inc.
Lotus Root Crisps – SoKusa 
Everything Bagel Flavored Cashews – Pear's Gourmet 
Dove Chocolate Salted Caramel – Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., LLC
Gum & Mints
Tic Tac X-Freeze – Ferrero USA, Inc. 
Extra Refreshers Spearmint – Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., LLC 
Mentos Chewy & Fresh – Perfetti Van Melle USA, Inc. 
Ice Breakers Duo Orange Mints – The Hershey Co.
Jelly Belly Sugar-Free Gum - Very Cherry – Ford Gum