In May, during the 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo, hosted by the National Confectioners Association, The Original Cannoli Chips was nominated among more than 300 product entries as one of the Expo’s Most Innovative New Products of 2016 by a panel of experts.

The Most Innovative New Product Awards were introduced five years ago at the Sweets & Snacks Expo to showcase the most innovative ideas, concepts and products in two of the fastest growing categories, confectionery and snacks.

The day before the Expo, a panel of experts collaborated to narrow the field of more than 320 product entries, which was a 12 percent increase in submissions over 2015.

Panel participants included executives from some of the top retailers of candy and snack products representing more than 20 percent of U.S. buying power as well as trends experts and a supermarket registered dietitian.

The jump in number of products submitted in 2016 reflects the sprawling innovation that happens in the candy and snack categories,” said Phil Lempert, food trends editor for NBC’s TODAY show and panel moderator. “As leaders in center store innovation, more than 6,500 new candy and snack items generated more than $6 billion in sales in 2015. Candy and snack manufacturers know how important it is to meet the demands of the consumer through innovative and diverse products.”

The panel analyzed nine candy and snack segments ranging from chocolate and non-chocolate to savory and salty snacks to gum and mints. Panelists then rated product submissions on four criteria including taste, packaging, innovation, value, and go-to-market potential, and the top five rated items across the nine segments were identified. The Original Cannoli Chips was one of the elite five items to be hand-selected by the panel as a finalist in the sweet snack segment.

On the first day of the Expo, the top panel-rated product in each segment were announced during a Mimosa Toast awards celebration live on the show floor. Past and current nominees for NCA’s Most Innovative New Product Awards have gone on to realize phenomenal marketplace success including Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle, Snappers by Edward Marc Brands and Project 7 gum. 

“Since the depth, breadth and diversity of overall panel feedback possesses decades of category experience, retail knowledge and consumer trends smarts, panel-selected products have all but a guarantee to become best sellers with shoppers in the coming year,” added Jenn Ellek Sr. Director of Trade Marketing & Communications at NCA and organizer of the Expo’s Most Innovative New Products awards program.

The 2017 Most Innovative New Product Awards will be presented at next year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo to be held in Chicago, May 25 – 27, 2017. For more information, visit

The story of Golden Cannoli, including in-depth details on the new Cannoli Chips line, will form the basis of the upcoming August cover story of Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery.