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Using scanners to track their interest in new items, retail buyers at the 2008 All-Candy Expo identifed the hottest products that embody seven hot trends in the confectionery and snack categories.
More than 7,000 products and companies were scanned this year at the Expo. The majority of new products in the Expo's New Products Showcase fell into at least one of seven emerging trends: Authentic & Artisan, Helpful Helpings, Chocolate Evolution, Traditional Twists, Sensory Experiences, Play Time and Packaging Innovations.
"Emerging trends and hot, new products are the number-one reason people attend each year and by calculating the scans in the showcase we were able to pinpoint customer's interest in new items," said Larry Graham, president of the National Confectioners Association, which sponsors the Expo.
The fifth most-often scanned item was Indulge Gourmet's absolutely fabulous chocolate covered pretzel. The product is a chocolate-dipped, candy-covered pretzel rod, packaged in cellophane with a hand-tied bow. The pretzels encapsulate the Chocolate Evolution, Authentic & Artisan, and Packaging Innovations trend, Graham noted.
The fourth-most popular item, embracing the Helpful Helpings trend, whereby consumers are looking for better-for-you treats, was Hillside Candy's Go Naturally Organic Hard Candy.
Number three on the hit parade, in the Traditional Twists category, was Tootsie Roll Industries' all-new Tootsie Pop Drops and Junior Mint Mini's. Number Two, which embodies the desire by consumers looking to broaden their Sensory Experiences, was the Lollistraw, from Squire Boone Village. The brightly striped drinking straws are made of hard candy. They come in two sizes and multiple flavors to spice up cocktails, smoothies or iced coffee.
The most-scanned products at the Expo's new products showcase, playing into the Play Time trend, was Fassin America Inc.' s silly and sour products, including Sour Cosmix and bulk crEATables and Sour Snagx.