3 Biggest Trends at The 2014 NCA Sweets & Snacks Expo

3 Biggest Trends at The 2014 NCA Sweets & Snacks Expo

As quick as it came, the 2014 NCA Sweets & Snacks Expo is over!  The show had record crowds this year, and we wanted to thank everyone who stopped by our booth to sample some of our latest snacking innovations.  If you didn’t have a chance to attend this year, here is our list of the biggest trends and most innovative items we saw at this year’s show.

3 Biggest Trends at 2014 Sweets & Snacks

  1. Seeds, Grains and Power Foods…Oh My – Consumers want to eat healthier.  They also want snack foods that offer benefits above and beyond basic nutritional needs!  That is why there was an influx this year of healthier options.  We saw everything: Quinoa, Kale, Coconut, Chia, and Chickpeas.
  2. Herbs & Spices – The demographics of consumers, particularly in the U.S., are shifting.  That leads to a demand for more flavorful and exotic products.  Sriracha was one of the more popular trends, but you could also find splashes of wasabi, ginger, and soy scattered throughout the tradeshow floor.
  3. Decadence is Good – As much as people want to eat healthier, they also want snacks and candy to indulge in.  Premium chocolates, truffle oils, and decadent dried fruit still shine in the industry.  And why not…you tell me what else works at a romantic picnic?

Innovative Offerings

The NCA announced the winners of their annual “Most Innovative New Products Awards”.  Some of the winners included:

  • Chocolate Category: The Chocolate Traveler – TABASCO Chocolate Bars
  • Savory Snacks Category: POP! Gourmet Popcorn – Sriracha Popcorn
  • Premium Category: Ripple Brands Collective – Bark Thins Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconuts
  • Best-In-Show: The Hershey Co. – York Minis

Along with the New Product Showcase winners, here are two other items we were impressed with at the 2014 Sweets & Snacks Expo:

  1. Energems, NRG Innovations – Candy-coated, bite-sized gems that are fortified with caffeine, B vitamins and other unique energy additives.  Energems is growing in popularity, and seem to be a strong alternative to many of the energy drinks/shots that have flooded the market place.  Very cool concept, and certainly kept our tradeshow staff running till closing time!
  2. Dove Whole Dark Chocolate Berries, MARS – These were pretty dang good.  So much so, that some of us had to go back for thirds.  Unlike some of the competitors that are out there, MARS’ Dove line uses real dried fruit centers (Blueberries, Cranberries, and Cherries).  The tartness of the fruit, with the silkiness of premium Dark Chocolate.  Someone said it is the equivalent of John Legend performing a private concert just for you…I tend to agree.

So what were some of the biggest trends you spotted at the 2014 NCA Sweets & Snacks Expo?  What caught your eyes/taste buds by storm?   Want to find out how we can incorporate these trends into our capabilities?  Add your questions, feedback, and comments below.  Happy Snacking!