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Trends report: The latest in sweets and snacks

From combination flavors to better-for-you treats, the sweets and snacks category is seeing a bevy of new trends.

4 min read


Trends report: The latest in sweets and snacks

Barcel USA

Sweets and snacks of all stripes have been powerhouse products throughout the pandemic, with consumers increasingly reaching for everything from indulgent delights to better-for-you small bites. In fact, Mondelez International found that 88% of adults around the world are snacking more amid the pandemic, and 52% consider snacking to be a “lifeline.”

Savory snacks and popcorn are having a particular heyday, according to The NPD Group, as people look for comfort and something salty to go along with their at-home entertainment. What other major snack and confectionery trends are currently leading the pack? 

Combination flavors

Blending multiple different flavors together has been a major hit in the snack space, and the National Confectioners Association counted it among the four trends they expected to see a lot of at this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo. Kellogg’s Pringles brand, for example, combined sweet and spicy flavors together for its limited edition Pringles Wavy Pineapple Habanero.

Herr’s recently released a mystery potato chip that is made with three different flavors on the same chip. The company is asking customers to guess the mystery combination for the chance to win a grand prize of $10,000.

Other brands are mixing multiple flavors of the same item into one bag, including M&M’s MIX, which brings milk chocolate, peanut and peanut butter candies together in one bag. The peanut variety combines milk chocolate peanut, dark chocolate peanut and white chocolate peanut. 

New takes on old favorites

Food manufacturers are turning classic candies and snacks on their heads with new takes on fan favorites. Takis, for example, recently expanded into several new snack categories with the introduction of Takis Hot Nuts, Takis Watz cheese snacks, Takis Waves ridged potato chips, Takis POP! ready-to-eat popcorn and Takis Stixcorn corn snack sticks.

Frankford has turned classic candies on their head by lending their flavor to marshmallows, including Swedish Fish Marshmallows and Sour Patch Kids Watermelon Marshmallows. Other interesting candy innovations include Starburst lollipops, Kool Aid Cotton Candy and Skittles candy canes.

Better-for-you options

The better-for-you grocery trend of the past few years has only amplified during the pandemic, with many customers looking for healthier alternatives to their favorite foods. Among the options in this category introduced at the Sweets & Snacks Expo are ChocXO’s Coconut Almond Butter Cups and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Both chocolate cup products include organic 70% cacao, simple ingredients and are low in real sugar.

SkinnyDipped has also unveiled Peanut Butter Cups with 79% less sugar than traditional brands and are sweetened with maple sugar, allulose and cane sugar. Ferrero North America’s Nutella brand is now offering Nutella &GO! Multigrain Sticks, which are made with oats and blueberries and are paired with Nutella for dipping.

Small indulgences

While better-for-you treats and snacks have been making steady headway in recent years, consumers are still more than happy to treat themselves every now and then. Some 64% of people around the world say indulgent snacking is fine as part of a balanced diet, according to a report from FMCG Gurus.

Ferrero North America recently introduced Kinder Bueno Minis, which are bite-sized and individually wrapped takes on the classic candy bar. Mars is also offering an indulgent take on its classic Snickers bar with its new almond brownie and dark chocolate squares. Bimbo Bakeries’ Entenmann’s brand, meanwhile, has rolled out Little Bites Mini Tarts with apple, strawberry or cinnamon filling. 

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