KANSAS CITY — Cookies continue to gain momentum in the sweet baked goods category, and companies are exploring ways to set their products apart from the rest. In some cases, this takes the form of flavor innovation, in others, a clean label or allergen-friendly makeover. Chocolate and confectionery launches played the same angle this spring, seeking to expand market appeal with innovative flavor combinations and an emphasis on better-for-you trends.

Entenmann’s Little Bites Chocolate Party Cake Muffins from Bimbo Bakeries USA and Charleston birthday cookies from the Campbell Soup Co.’s Pepperidge Farm brand took a celebratory route with their flavor innovations, while the Hershey Co. leaned into health and wellness with its plant-based Reese’s and Hershey bar launches. Also on the confectionery side, Chocxo expanded distribution of its dark chocolate coconut cups.

In a play on form and flavor, Hostess Brands, Inc. debuted the Kazbar, a candy bar inspired snack cake, and Signature Wafer & Chocolate Co. partnered with Hormel subsidiary Skippy Peanut Butter to launch Skippy Peanut Butter Wafer Bars. Hostess’s Voortman’s brand, meanwhile, went mini with its Zero Sugar Mini Wafers, as did Dewey’s Bakery with the introduction of grab-and-go mini snack bags. Dewey’s also introduced a Key lime flavor to its thin and crispy cookie line.

Mondelez International, Inc. subsidiary Tate’s Bake Shop added a limited-edition salted caramel cookie to its portfolio and another Mondelez cookie brand, Oreo, permanently added Mint Oreo ice cream to its frozen treat line. McKee Foods also eyed the cookies and crème flavor combo with the launch of its Little Debbie cookies and crème brownie bars.

Back on the health-and-wellness front, Partake Foods expanded its line of gluten-free and vegan snacks with the debut of its Classic Graham Crackers, and better-for-you snack brand SeedWise added a line of soft baked cookies to its seed-based snack portfolio.