BOCA RATON, FLA. — Hostess Brands, Inc. introduced Kazbars, its first breakthrough innovation of the year, at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton.

Described by the company as a “first-of-its-kind candy-bar-inspired innovation within the snack cakes market,” Hostess Kazbars combines layers of soft chocolate cake, crème, candy crunch and caramel or smooth chocolate fudge. The bars are covered in a rich chocolate-flavored coating and topped with a drizzle.

“With Kazbars, we have taken the best of Hostess, our iconic moist cake and creamy filling, and transformed them into a confection-inspired multi-textured layered snack bar with layers of gooey caramel, our chocolate fudge and candy crunch,” Daniel J. O’Leary, chief growth officer, said during a Feb. 22 presentation at CAGNY. “We are excited with the consumer response to Kazbars and see this as another proof point for how Hostess can drive growth through innovation.”

Mr. O’Leary said Hostess was responsible for 44% of the innovation growth in the sweet baked goods category in 2022. Innovations like Baby Bundts and Bouncers led the way, he said. Now, with Kazbars, Hostess is primed for another solid run in innovation in 2023.

Mr. O’Leary said Kazbars were designed as a king size for the convenience store and single individual use channel, but during the development phase the product proved worthy of broader distribution.

“As we’re developing the product, we actually showed it to kind of our multipack consumer for afternoon reward, and they liked it just as much,” he explained. “And so we kind of got a nice win-win there. And so there’s a lot of deep consumer work underneath the occasions, but the occasion is going to provide the playing field in which to source.”

Hostess Kazbars will be available in two flavors: chocolate caramel and triple chocolate. The sweet baked goods will be available at grocery and mass retailers nationwide in 10-oz boxes containing eight individually wrapped 1.25-oz mini bars. Single individually-wrapped Kazbars also will be sold in a 2.75-oz size at convenience stores as well as grocery and mass retailers nationwide. The product will hit shelves in mid-March.