In 2015, we launched the “Best New Snack & Bakery Products” of the year contest to honor outstanding new snack and bakery products entering the industry, with the online Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery audience voting for their favorites. Since then, we’ve noticed that the winners often reflect that year’s current prevailing consumer sensibilities—from a strong gluten-free focus in the first year of voting (both winning products were gluten-free), to specialized with a health halo the second time around (with boutique ready-to-eat popcorn and thin cookies winning). Most recently, back in 2017, health and wellness took the driver’s seat (with plant protein bars and clean-label fruit chips on top). Through the years, the companies producing these snacks and baked goods have ranged from innovative mom-and-pop startups to some of the largest companies in the business today.
This year, the roster of candidates included many of these same attributes—including products ranging our full snack and bakery spectrum, from offbeat and category-defying to squarely appealing to the bulk of mainstream America. Better-for-you items factored in via use of whole and diverse grains, as well as pulses. Gluten-free once again had a presence. Paleo made an appearance. Artisan sensibilities were represented.