Slideshow: Top trends at Sweets & Snacks 2015

by Monica Watrous
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CHICAGO — Step aside, sriracha. The hottest new flavors hitting the snack aisle include maple syrup, Meyer lemon and marshmallow. Products displayed at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, held May 19-21 in Chicago, draw inspiration from breakfast staples, exotic fruits and nostalgic treats.

Customization also is a top trend in cookies, crackers and candies featured at the annual show.

“We saw a lot of products where you have to make a portion of it yourself or you dip it or spread it or decorate it yourself,” said Susan Whiteside, vice-president of public relations and marketing communications for the National Confectioners Association, which hosts the event. “DIY snacking is how I’ve been classifying it.”

Before the expo, Ms. Whiteside spoke with Food Business News about a few trends to watch in the latest launches from candy and snack manufacturers. She identified technology as another prominent theme of this year’s show, citing examples in sustainable packaging, automation for customized confections, and a 3D chocolate printer presented by the Hershey Co.

But in spite of cutting-edge innovation exhibited across four acres of candy and snacks, confectioners are still sweet on traditional flavors.

“I saw a lot of cinnamon and peppermint,” Ms. Whiteside noted. “I thought that was interesting because those are classic flavors that have been around forever, and I felt like they may be making more of a resurgence.”

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