Sweets & Snacks Expo Attendees Excitedly Get Back to Business

Posted June 29, 2021 by Alyssa Stahr

I woke up last week feeling like a kid on Christmas morning, ready to taste the trends we’ve been talking about as of recent on the show floor: namely gummies; popcorn; chocolate and (add ingredient here) combinations; and better-for-you confections and snacking products. I got that, of course, but there were a few surprises along the way.

Jerkys. There was a surprising amount of meat on the show floor of the Indiana Convention Center. Sweetwood’s Fatty was a smoked meat stick that was gluten-free offered in grass fed beef and pork raised without antibiotics and with no nitrites. Old Trapper’s display offered one of my “wow” moments, Gone Rogue’s Turkey Bites went the “bite” versus stick route, and Soldier Boy’s Beef Jerky line went the philanthropic route as a veteran-owned company complete with camouflaged packaging and eye-catching display.

Skinless Popcorn. Honey Mustard & Onion, Creamy Ranch, Sweet & Salty and Sweet Cinnamon are enticing flavor mixes for any popcorn, but subtract the hull of the popcorn, and you’ve got an innovative, teeth saving gem of a snack. I was looking for something unique at this first show out of the pandemic, and Papa’s Skinless Popcorn Pops delivered.

Dried Fruits and Pickles. Marry dates (the fruit) and dates (the interviewing process to find a mate) and what do you have? A Date-Ing Booth! One of the most memorable displays featured Joolies Organic Medjool Dates, garnering smiles from passersby that may otherwise have overlooked the product.

I was also surprised to see a large amount of various pickle products on the floor, including Van Holten’s Pickle Flavored Freeze Pops. The calorie-free pops are low carb, sugar-free, fat-free and gluten-free, offering a hydrating twist on a summer favorite.

Larry Wilson, vice president of industry affairs of the National Confectioners Association, offered attendees some advice during his State of Treating address in the Expo’s Discovery Theater session: “Don’t pull back; consumers are starved. It’s like a jail break.” And, it felt so great to taste freedom once again.

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