For the third year in a row, buyers at the SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO used scanners to track their interest in new items in the ever-expanding New Product Showcase. Most of the top products scanned at the 2010 EXPO, held in May in Chicago, followed the hottest trends in the confectionery and snack segments.

 "New and innovative products are the lifeblood of our industry,” says Larry Graham, president of the National Confectioners Association (NCA), which sponsors the EXPO. “In fact, 25% of annual confectionery and snack sales are attributed to products introduced in the past two years.

 “The SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO was designed to be the best resource to discover the hottest and most profitable new products around,” he adds. “Finding new products is the number one reason people attend the show. In calculating the retailer scans' in the New Product Showcase we are able to track trends in new product development to provide valuable insight to trade customers and manufacturers alike."

 The majority of new products in the Showcase fell into at least one of seven emerging trends identified by the NCA earlier this year: chocolate-covered products, new twists on classic candies, aerated confections, natural ingredients, gourmet items, fruit flavors, dark chocolate.

 More than 13,000 products and companies were scanned at the 2010 EXPO. The top ten confectionery products highlighted an ongoing trend in kid's novelty items, with half of the top scanned items fitting into this category. Another surprise is the comeback of lollipops in new shapes and flavors - three types were featured in the top 10, and another four were included in the top 25 scanned items.

 As retailers strive to meet the needs and demands of their shoppers, gourmet and healthier choice items also have reached new levels of popularity, a fact reflected in the scans.

Top 10 scanned confectionery products at the 2010 SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO

• No. 10: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Mini by The Hershey Co.
• No. 9: Jelly Pop from Decoria Company, Ltd.
• No. 8: Jumbo Push Pop by Bazooka Candy Brands
• No. 7: Pop Rocks Chocolate by Pop Rocks, Inc.
• No. 6: Dark Chocolate Acai Blueberry and Goji by Brookside Food, Ltd.
• No. 5: Snow White Gift set from Pez Candy, Inc.
• No. 4: Disney licensed items by Imaginings 3, Inc.
• No. 3: M&M's Pretzel by MARS Chocolate North America
• No. 2: ICEE Fizzing Lollipops by Koko's Confectionery & Novelty
• No. 1: Cocktail Classic jelly beans by Jelly Belly Candy Co.

Top 5 scanned snack products at the 2010 SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO:

• Nov. 5: Chocolate Covered Candy Coated Kettle Corn by Kimmie Candy Co.
• No. 4: Freeze Dried Fruit Snacks by Crunchies Food Co.
• No. 3: Biscotti Crisps and Seasoned Nuts by Sahale Snacks
• No. 2: Nutorious Nut Confections by Nutorious
• No. 1: Silly Seeds by Sunflower Food Co.
"Each of the most popular scanned products reflect one or more of NCA's top seven confectionery and snack trends for 2010," Graham notes. "Based on the interest level verified by customer scanning reports at the SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO, we can expect to see them stocked at retail locations soon."

 The 2011 SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO will be held May 24-26 at Chicago's McCormick Place. 
For more information about exhibiting, contact Grace Woodyard at 1-202-534-1440.