Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sweets and Snacks Expo- Some Trends/Insights

I had the great opportunity of attending the Sweets and Snacks Expo yesterday.   The show is a candy lover's dream-- or a diabetic's nightmare.  Fortunately for me, I am more of the former than the latter.

 Basically, all of McCormick Place is turned into row after row after row of candy aisles, with purveyors large and small enticing you to try their wares.

I do want to say that the show is not all candy.  There's a healthy (or rather unhealthy) amount of chips, popcorn, meat snacks and other kinds of delicious products, all waiting for you to sample them.  There are also a lot of business to business vendors (packagers, tin makers, distributors, etc)

Still, after a day in paradise, I was seriously craving some kale.  Or some salad.  Or some something.

Amy and I show our sophisticated sides with our tongue tattoos.
Mine looks like it was graffitied by someone on drugs, which
shows how hip I am.
I walked the floor with a friend of mine from New York, Amy Marks-McGee of TrendIncite.  Amy is  a flavor and fragrance consultant and writer, and a great companion at a show like this.  She was very discerning about what she would try, and was super knowledgeable about the upcoming trends-- basically a great foil to my "Let's try and eat our way through the show" mentality.  If you like, you should check out her blog-- it's well worth the read.

Despite the hours of sampling, I only saw about a third of the show.  I'm hoping to go back solo tomorrow and take in the rest. (the event is 3 days long) I also might need to bring bigger clothes.

Here's just a couple of the trends and interesting new products that I spotted.

I saw a number of items that listed Birthday cake as a flavor, including Flipz pretzels and some gourmet gum from Project 7. I'd been aware of Birthday Cake as a flavor (I'd seen a couple of Birthday Cake Milk Shakes at Steak'n'Shake. But I hadn't realized it had become a full-fledged flavor.

  In fact, project 7 differentiated between Birthday Cake and Wedding Cake flavors.  (I think Wedding Cake is a little more bitter. )

I saw a couple of iterations of food that you could play with, including Juicy Drop Gummies, which are gummy candies with a depression inside them, along with a pen that you can squirt a little sour gel into the depression to flavor your own candy.  They don't yet mix and match flavors (you can't buy cherry sour gel with banana candy, but I could easily imagine that being a new thing (similar to the mix and match soda that kid's love to drink at a soda machine)

The other thing I saw was edible moldable candy dough. It's play dough you can actually eat!  It tasted okay, a little like sweet cookie dough.  I don't know if it hardens up if you leave it alone or if you can cure it to become like china.  Hopefully, it's eaten long before you find out (and not discovered by ants.)

There were tons of Star Wars candies coming out.  Also big on the licensee arena were the Minions and the Avengers.  I also saw some older brands still trending, like Angry Birds.   I didn't see any Disney themed stuff (well Avengers and Star Wars are I guess technically Disney now, but none of the real Disney stuff)  Of course it could be in the part of the show I didn't see yet.  Or perhaps there's a separate show just for Disney stuff?  I also didn't see any adult television stuff (Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, etc)

I also expected to see a whole bunch of Minecraft stuff, but didn't see anything.

I know that stuff exists, so perhaps I just didn't get that far.


The great gummification continues, with Brains, gingerbread men, and pizza just a few of the latest victims in the Gummy Wars.

I hope to have more insights sometime next week, after I've taken more time to digest (pun intended!)

No comments: