CHICAGO — Gas station snacks are heating up with new Buffalo-flavored items. Tropical flavors are showing up across convenience store candy aisles. Crunchy textures and dippable formats also were trending in new products unveiled at the National Association of Convenience Retailers’ 2021 NACS Show, held Oct. 5-8 in Chicago.

J&J Snacks Foods Corp., Pennsauken, NJ, teamed up with French’s Food Co., LLC, to create a Buffalo Cheddar Stuffed Soft Pretzel made with Frank’s RedHot sauce.

Hot Buffalo almonds and peanuts come together with spicy Cajun corn sticks and habanero corn nuggets in the Kar’s Nuts Hot Buffalo Snack Mix from Second Nature Brands, Madison Heights, Mich. The brand’s new Tropical Fruit ‘N Nut Trail Mix combines banana chips, mango, pineapple, coconut flavored candies and yogurt raisins with peanuts and almonds.

Tropical flavors are appearing in new candy items from Ferrero USA, Inc., Parsippany, NJ. The company’s Tropical Adventure Tic Tac line includes flavors such as pineapple, mango, banana and passion fruit. Chicago-based Ferrara Candy Co., a company related to The Ferrero Group, showcased Laffy Taffy Laff Bites in tropical flavors at the NACS 2021 show.

Crunchy textures were highlighted in both sweet and savory categories. The new M&M’S Crunchy Cookie from Mars, Inc., McLean, Va., features a crunchy center covered in milk chocolate, wrapped in a colorful M&M’S candy shell.

Ellsworth, Wis.-based Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery is transforming its fresh cheddar cheese curds into a crunchy snack. The company freeze-dries its original cheese curds to create Cheddar Curd Crunchers, which offer 10 grams of protein per serving. 

Other new products on display at the NACS 2021 show encourage consumers to customize their snacks through interactive dippable formats. New Fudge Stripe Dipm’s from Ferrara Candy Co. feature Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies that may be dipped into liquid Keebler Fudge. Meiji America Inc., York, Pa., launched Yan Yan Caramel, a combination of crispy cracker sticks and smooth caramel crème for dipping.

Dairy Food USA, Inc., Blue Mounds, Wis., is offering a healthier take on the dippable snack format with SnackUps. Available in cheddar cheese and smoked gouda varieties, the product pairs savory Wisconsin-made cheese dips with crunchy pretzels in a grab-and-go package.

View a slideshow of new products at the 2021 NACS Show.