INDIANAPOLIS — The 2024 Sweets & Snacks Expo took place May 13-16 in Indianapolis, where more than 16,000 people attended and 1,000 exhibitors showed off their latest product innovations, making it a record year for exhibitors. This year, brands and products displayed at the show focused on consumer trends, ranging from enhancing special snacking occasions to tapping into multisensory experiences to turning to social media to reach a greater audience for new products.

The trend of multisensory experiences was big on the show floor, as consumers are looking for new and unique textures in their snacks. Tapping into that is Kellanova, with its “out-of-the-can” Pringles Mingles. Pringles Mingles, which come in a bag, are more like a puff than the classic chip the brand is known for. Available in a bowtie shape, the puffs come in cheddar and sour cream, sharp white cheddar and ranch and dill pickle and ranch flavors.  

“We really dove into understanding what consumers like and don’t like about existing puffs today,” said Nicole Sorensen, senior director, salty snacking innovation marketing at Kellanova, in an interview with Food Business News. “And we incorporated that into our food designs. What you’ll see when you eat (Pringles Mingles) is that it’s a little bit smaller than a lot of other puffed products, and that was intentional to being more poppable and munchable.”

The Hershey Co. also is bringing a new texture to several of its classic brands. The company is adding Hershey’s crunchy waffle cone flavor to its chocolate bar portfolio, which features waffle cone pieces.

Additionally, also looking to offer consumers a multisensory experience is Hershey’s Ice Breakers, which will debut a pineapple mango seltzer flavor to its sparkling mint lineup.

“What’s super interesting about this (seltzer) line is that we saw a strong overlap between the mints consumer and the sparkling beverage consumer,” said Momin Bhatti, associate manager, communications at The Hershey Company, in an interview with Food Business News.

Another big trend across the show floor in Indianapolis was brands turning to social media to get the word out about their new products, as 34% of consumers turn to social media to discover new snack foods and trends, according to data from Chicago-based market research firm Circana.

“Social media has influenced how consumers eat snacks,” said Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader for the market researcher Circana, during a presentation at the show. “Whenever there is a viral moment, make an occasion out of it for your products. Really find a way to connect with consumers during those viral moments — even if you’re not the product, it doesn’t matter.”

Click to view new products from the 2024 Sweets & Snacks Expo.