I have been attending the Sweets & Snacks Expo for more than a decade. Each year, I uncover some detail of the snack and confections category that informs my perspective of both broad and razor-edged industry trends.

The Sweets & Snacks Expo fosters a positive context for pondering the forces at play in the snack and confections segments, if in no other way than providing attendees the opportunity to snack at will. For many people, snacks represent a break, a time-out. In these moments when we step outside of our routine responsibility, we give ourselves space to shift perspective and make fresh observations while we chomp away at something portable and tasty.

As I moved in and out of the flow of more than 17,000 industry professionals, snaking through aisles of more than 800 company booths, I found a handful of themes. The first of which is better-for-you foods. 

The phrase “better-for-you” appears on packages with more frequency than in years past. Evidently, product developers have identified individual components of their formulations that can be adjusted to cast products in a healthier role. Sometimes the shift can be a one-for-one ingredient substitution such as exchanging refined sugar for fruit sugars, or a brand may discover that its entire mission should be dedicated to this new way of snacking. 

The changes are occurring while consumers view the burgeoning segment from a slightly different vantage point. According to a 2016 Mintel survey, 78% believe snacks marketed as healthy and better-for-you are not actually healthy.

In any case, a commitment to better-for-you products is obvious across the snack and confection categories with brands such as General Mills with its Lärabar varieties, Boulder Canyon, and Amplify Snacks Brands (among many others) playing a role in developing better-for-you aspects of new snack and confection products.

Meat snacks continue proliferate on retail shelves and dozens were on display at the Sweets & Snacks Expo. With inherent protein properties, meat snacks have benefitted from the wave of healthier snack trends.  Product developers in the meat snacks segment have found opportunity in the traditional satiety snack realm while finding new promise in marketing products to physically active consumers, craft/small-batch connoisseurs and those who seek clean label/simple ingredient products.

We’re Moving West—to Denver! 

Join us as Prepared Foods presents its 35th annual New Products Conference.

Speakers Include

• Doug Hall, Inventor, Researcher, Author, Chemical Engineer, Master of Marketing and Founder of Eureka Ranch 

• Errol Schweizer, Co-Founder, BeyondBrands; Owner, Errol Schweizer LLC and Former Vice President of Grocery at Whole Foods 

• Tina Owens, Senior Manager-Sustainability & Procurement, Kashi 

• Barry Calpino, Vice President of Innovation, Conagra Brands 

• Carolina Fryer, Managing Director, Mission Field Innovation Consultants

• Taryn Forrelli, ND, Vice President of Innovation & Resident
Nutritionist, Olly

• Tulin Tuzel, Chief Technology Officer, Sabra Dipping Company LLC

• Lynn Dornblaser and David Jago, Directors of Innovation
& Insight, Mintel 

• Jim Painter, PhD, RD, Professor at University of Texas – Houston 

And more! 

New Products Conference Denver “StreetDive” 

Attracting a medley of entrepreneurs, young millennials and athletes, the Mile High City has become a hotbed for cutting-edge food trends and culinary innovation.  Join our local experts for SRG StreetDive, an off-the-grid tour of food + drink hotspots that push the culinary boundaries. SRG, Boulder, Colo., leads NPC attendees on an exciting, fast-paced 2 ½ hours to explore a medley of restaurants, markets and retailers that will challenge us all to think differently about the future of food. Registration is limited. Advance registration required.

Prepared Foods’ New Products Conference has arranged a special rate of $225 plus tax per night for attendees at Grand Hyatt Denver in Colorado. Make plans to attend now ensure availability. Register today and save $300! 

For more information, visit www.NewProductsConference.com orcontact Marge Whalen at 847-405-4071 or whalenm@bnpmedia.com.