KANSAS CITY — More than 450 exhibitors showcased innovation at the 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo, which was held June 23-25 in Indianapolis. Last year’s expo was canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The Sweets & Snacks Expo is where the top candy and snack companies showcase their newest products, and this year is even more important as we get back to business,” said John Downs, president and chief executive officer of the National Confectioners Association (NCA).  “While consumer purchasing habits may have shifted to meet the new environment, manufacturers are exceeding expectations with new products, flavors and innovations.”

The NCA identified four trends among the innovation at the show.

Smaller pack sizes containing 200 calories or fewer were prevalent at the show, pointing to consumer demand for smaller portion sizes for more mindful snacking.

Tropical flavors flourished in new product launches, with pineapple and coconut taking center stage. The fruit flavors are featured in new Torie & Howard Gummi-Snaps, Tic Tac Tropical Adventure and VegoBears.

Mix-and-match offerings give consumers the best of both worlds, allowing a combination of sweet, salty, fruity or tart flavor profiles. For example, Bazooka Candy Brands showcased new Juicy Drop Gummy Dip N’ Stix, which feature sweet gummy sticks and a sour gel for dipping.

Fiery flavors like chili, sriracha, jalapeño and habanero heated up the show floor, showing up in spicy mango candies, jelly beans, walnut snacks, pork rinds, jerky and potato chips.

View slideshow of new products on display at Sweets & Snacks 2021.