Prepared Foods profiles new retail chocolate and non-chocolate confections. Mintel shares consumer preferences and behavior insights involving chocolate.



The Jelly Belly Candy Company, Fairfield, Calif., introduced two new lines to coincide with some of the year’s biggest movies, Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The Incredibles 2 Collection, featuring Disney Pixar fans’ favorite Super family, debuted in two snackable and shareable package sizes: 1oz. bags and 2.8oz. Grab & Go bags featuring bold character art. Both bags are filled with an assortment of popular Jelly Belly jelly beans including Berry Blue, Jewel Wild Blackberry, Lemon, Sour Orange and Very Cherry flavors. 

The Jurassic Mix, an assortment of five flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans, is available in a variety of movie-themed packages in 1oz. bags, 2.8oz. Grab & Go bags and 7.5oz. Gift Bags. The line’s “Sparkling” flavors are Berry Blue, Sour Apple, Orange, Very Cherry and Wild Blackberry.

Additionally, this line included two new chocolate items. The Chocolate Dinosaur is milk chocolate with crisped rice molded into the shape of “Blue” the Velociraptor. Each chocolate comes packaged with one of five 3D lenticular collectible cards. The Chocolate Dinosaur Egg is solid milk chocolate with crisped rice, and hides a surprise gummi dinosaur in the center.



Ferrara Candy Company’s Big Chewy NERDS earned the “Most Innovative New Product Award” in the non-chocolate category at the National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) 2018 Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago. 

Available at retailers nationwide, Big Chewy NERDS features a chewy center covered in a crunchy NERDS candy shell, and is moving the popular brand—known for its small size and bold flavors—into the growing chewy candy segment. A bag of the new NERDS product contains a variety of flavors, such as Orange You Nerdy?, Left-Click Lemon, Strawber2y Squared and Giga Grape. Big Chewy NERDS are available in 6oz medium peg ($1.99 SRP) pouches and 10oz stand-up bags ($2.89 SRP). 

“We are thrilled and honored to be recognized as the most innovative non-chocolate product by the NCA,” said Daniela Simpson, director, Non-Chocolate. 

This April saw Italy’s Ferrero Group complete its $2.8 billion acquisition of Nestlé SA’s US candy business, including the Butterfinger, BabyRuth, 100Grand, Raisinets, Wonka SweeTarts, LaffyTaffy, and Nerds brands. Those businesses are now part of Ferrara Candy, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.



This June saw Mars Incorporated, Hackettstown, N.J., introduce three, limited-edition “Intense Flavors” to its SNICKERS candy bar line: Espresso, Fiery and Salty & Sweet.

Each bar features peanuts and caramel covered in milk chocolate, with a bold new flavor twist: espresso, chili pepper or salt-infused. The new flavors joined the brand’s popular, “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, with the new SNICKERS Intense Flavors corresponding to the hunger symptom on the outside of the packaging: Irritable = Espresso, Wimpy = Fiery, and Indecisive = Salty & Sweet.

To launch, the brand created an “intense” pop-up on June 19, in New York City featuring “escape room-style” challenges related to each of the three new flavors. Capitalizing on the popularity of Doomsday-themed shows and the rise of escape room-style physical adventures, the challenges were set in a bunker-inspired room, begging fans to solve the question: “Which intense flavor will you need to survive intense hunger?”

Fans had a limited amount of time to complete each challenge and at the end of the simulation, they received a Flavor Diagnosis, ultimately identifying which flavor they need to ward off intense hunger.



All natural and organic candy producer Torie & Howard, New Milford, Conn., used the 2018 Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago to introduce a Halloween multi-pack organic Chewie Fruities Chews original flavors and new sours. 

The new 8.46oz Chewie Fruities Halloween package contains 20 .42oz packs of individually wrapped pieces of the organic candy, which also is kosher, free from major allergens, and contains no artificial or genetically modified ingredients, says Torie Burke, company co-founder. Suggested retail price for the Halloween package is $7.99, and it is available in master cases of 12.

Flavors include a mix of Chewie Fruities original flavors, Italian Tarocco Blood Orange and Wildflower Honey, California Pomegranate and Sweet Freestone Nectarine, and Meyer Lemon and Raspberry, along with its new sour flavors, Sour Apple, Sour Berry and Sour Cherry. 

“With more and more parents looking for organic options for their children, we’ve seen growing retail demand for our original Halloween pack of organic hard candy,” Burke adds. “With the popularity of fruit chews and sours, the Chewie Fruities Halloween multi-pack was a natural extension of our line.”

All Torie & Howard candy is USDA Organic, kosher certified, contains no artificial dyes, flavors, preservatives or genetically engineered ingredients. It also is vegan and free from major allergens, including soy, wheat, gluten, nuts and dairy.



Justin’s, a Boulder, Colo., producer of nut butters, nut butter snacks and organic peanut butter cups, expanded its confections line with two new USDA-certified organic offerings: Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups and Dark Chocolate Cashew Butter Cups. 

“If you know me you know I have a sweet tooth, and with that I believe the world doesn’t need more candy,” says Justin Gold, founder of Justin’s. “But, we know consumers still want candy (like me!) but that means it needs to be made better, with high quality and organic ingredients. And for as long as I can remember (since launching my organic PB cups anyway) brand fans have been asking me for almond butter cups—well now they’re here.”

Gold says the new offerings feature “mindfully sourced ingredients and less sugar than conventional cups.” The confections retail for $2.29 per two-cup pack. All Justin’s new confections are Non-GMO Project Verified, certified gluten-free and made without artificial flavoring or preservatives, while also being crafted with Rainforest Alliance Certified chocolate and Orangutan-Friendly Palm Oil.

Justin’s also added Organic Mini White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups to its lineup earlier this year rounding out the peanut butter cup product line. As the only organic White Chocolate Mini Peanut Butter Cup on the market, the company says its new bite-sized treat addresses the growing desire for variety and more snackable forms.



The Hershey Company, Hershey, Pa., used the National Confectioner’s Association’s 2018 Sweets and Snacks Expo to showcase sales insights and several new offerings.

Those new products included … 

• Reese’s Outrageous, a new treat featuring caramel and crunchy Reese’s Pieces candy surrounded by creamy peanut butter, and covered in smooth milk chocolate. New Reese’s Outrageous Bars are available nationwide in a 1.48oz standard bar (SRP $1.09), 2.95oz King-size (SRP $2.09) and a 10.5oz bag (SRP $3.89).

• Hershey’s Gold, a proprietary blend of caramelized crème with peanuts and pretzels in a crunchy crème bar.

• Hershey’s Waffle Layer Crunch Dulce de Leche Bar, and Hershey’s Waffle Layer Crunch Strawberry Bar. These latest additions to the Hershey’s Layer Crunch platform combine Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with crispy waffle cone pieces and ice cream-inspired Dulce de Leche and Strawberry-Flavored Crème.

“We’ve set our sights on becoming an innovative snacking powerhouse, and that means focusing on the essential role our core candy brands play in the overall snacking category,” said Todd Tillemans, president, U.S., The Hershey Company.  

Hershey’s booth also featured its Popped Snack Mix and Dipped Pretzels line as well as its barkThins and Krave brands.

In other news, Hershey’s said the company it is investing more than $100 million across four US plants to increase production capacity for its Hershey’s, Reese’s and Kit Kat brands.

Originally appeared in the September, 2018 issue of Prepared Foods as Hitting the Shelves.