10 Must-Have Products From the 2018 Sweets and Snacks Expo

nra sweet snacks expo

Manufacturers, distributors, retailers and hungry folks from across the country gathered at Chicago’s McCormick Place from May 22-24 to sample the industry’s hottest new products at the annual Sweets & Snacks Expo. Everything from chips and gummies to protein bars and other healthy alternatives were on display, giving retailers a glimpse at what may arrive in their stores down the road.

Here are 10 products from the show that Convenience Store Products noticed …

1. Chickpea Butter

The Amazing Chickpea chickpea butter

Traditional peanut butter has some competition. Snacking company The Amazing Chickpea offers Chickpea Butter in three varieties: creamy, crunchy and a Choc'A Chic chocolate spread. Each flavor comes in a 16-ounce jar and contains between 3 grams and 5 grams of protein per serving. The spread’s ingredients include chickpeas, olive oil, sunflower seeds, sea salt, palm oil and pure cane sugar.

2. Coffee Thins

Tierra Nueva coffee thins

Here's a new way to consume coffee: Manufactured by Tierra Nueva, Cruz 1879 Coffee Thins are produced in a conching process that converts the beans into an edible ingredient to capture the traditional taste and caffeine of normal coffee with the creamy texture of chocolate. The square-shaped thins are made with 100% Arabica coffee beans and are non-GMO and soy-free. One thin equals about a third of a cup of coffee, the company told Convenience Store Products.

3. Haribo Sour Cubes and Streamers

haribo sour cubes and sour streamers

Gummy giant Haribo is introducing Sour Cubes and Sour Streamers. Keith Danoff, vice president of marketing for Haribo, told Convenience Store Products that the sour products are specifically intended to appeal to teenagers and millennials, unlike most of Haribo’s products, which target families with young children. Both products are expected to emerge in convenience stores nationwide in November, Danoff said.

4. Jolly Rancher Misfits 2 in 1 Gummies

The Hershey Co. launched a new take on Jolly Rancher with Jolly Rancher Misfits 2 in 1 Gummies. It combines two of the four Jolly Rancher fruity flavors mashed into one gummy for three flavor combinations: green apple and cherry, blue raspberry and watermelon, and strawberry and lemon. Jolly Rancher Misfits come in 3.4-ounce and 5-ounce packages.

5. Kit Kat Snack Mix

kit kat snack mix

Nestle’s newest Kit Kat product is a 0.9-ounce snack bag containing Kit Kat Minis, pretzels, chocolate wafer bites and honey roasted almonds. The tiny bags are on-trend with grab-and-go options and are ideal for adults and teens on the go, the company said.

6. Nakd Blueberry Muffin Bar

nakd bar

Natural Balance Foods has launched the newest member of its Nakd Bars lineup: Blueberry Muffin. The vegan-friendly bar is free of gluten, wheat and dairy, as well as added sugars, artificial sweeteners and syrups. This expands Nakd Bars' roster, which already includes flavors such as Peanut Delight, Cashew Cookie, Lemon Drizzle and Berry Delight.

7. M&M’s Sweet & Salty Snack Mix

m&m sweet and salty mix

Mars Wrigley Confectionery debuted its M&M’s Sweet & Salty Snack Mix in April. The product comes in Milk Chocolate and Peanut variations and is available in 1.75-ounce, 4-ounce and 7.7-ounce packages. The former mix contains M&M’s Milk Chocolate Candies, M&M’s Crispy Chocolate Candies, Almonds and Pretzel Balls, while the latter counterpart is filled with M&M’s Peanut Chocolate Candies, M&M’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies, Peanuts and Pretzel Balls.

8. Starbursts Minis Sours

starburst mini sours

Also from Mars Wrigley comes new Starburst Minis Sours. Each 1.85-ounce bag contains 200 calories worth of the square chewy candies in flavors that include Sour Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Watermelon and Strawberry.

9. Happy Valley Farm Crunchites Veggie Snacks

happy valley farm crunchites veggie snacks

Happy Valley Farm has launched a new line of healthy, crunchy snacks. Crunchites Veggie Snacks are gluten-free and come in several varieties, including mixed vegetables, broccoli, pumpkin and onion. It will launch later this year, the company told Convenience Store Products. The company’s fruit-based crunch snack flavors include Cantaloupe, Mandarin Orange, Pineapple, Chili Mango and All-Natural Mango.

10. Welch’s Holiday Variety Fruit Snacks

welchs holiday variety

Earlier this year, Welch’s released a limited-time offer of Valentine’s Day fruit snacks, which ran through mid-February. The company now has more seasonal gummies in the works, including mixes for Halloween, Christmas and Easter. Each variation contains 45 calories per pack, and a full box contains 28 pouches.