Unique Flavor Trends, Occasions Reflect Honey’s Arrival in Candy, Snack Categories

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Hundreds of companies at this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo wanted to make one thing clear: If it doesn’t taste good, it’s not worth presenting to the consumer. No matter what the trend reflected on the show floor was — plant-based, reduced sugar or exploring what “better for you” really means — the bottom line is that products that reflect exciting, new, nostalgia-with-a-twist, and enticing flavor combinations are going to be the ones that come out on top.

Valley Occasions
No matter what holiday we celebrate, there is a food — even a flavor — that goes with it. Peppermint reflects the coolness of Christmas; chocolates are the way to our hearts on Valentine’s Day; and pumpkin is the ghoulish flavor of All Hallows' Eve. And now, with a food holiday that fits almost every day of the calendar year, snack and confectionery makers have the chance to develop “the” flavor of the moment. Or even “the” flavor of the day. Manufacturers are trying to close the gap between seasonal occasions, with the industry inventing their own secondary holidays in hopes to entice consumers to purchase. Further, there are more than three-and-a-half snacking occasions per day, per person in the U.S. alone.

Eggs are one of the flavors of breakfast, and Over Easy bars have used the traditionally named dish and turned them into breakfast bars sweetened with honey for a new twist. They’re breakfast bars with unique flavors like Toasted Coconut and Vanilla Matcha, filled with simple ingredients including honey and, of course, cage-free egg whites.

Photo Credit: Thrushwood Farms

As we mentioned, there’s a day for everything, and National Jerky Day is June 6. It’s the perfect day to grab the wide range of made-with-honey jerkies that were on the show floor. Thrushwood Farms’ Honey BBQ Seasoned Smoke Meat Sticks tell us to “Get Your Honey’s Worth.” Country Archer’s 100% Natural Pork Minis — Teriyaki Style gave us a new flavor and meat variety to gnaw on, and Old Wisconsin’s Honey Brown Sugar Turkey Sausage Bites gave us a smaller snack with “Made with Real Honey” imagery on the front of the packaging.

Taste Matters Most
Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight for food and drink at Mintel, said in her “Trends in Better-For-You Confectionery & Snacks” presentation that if she were to write an essay on food in 2022, it would be on taste. No matter what type of product or innovation manufacturers are trying to create — plant-based, reduced sugar, added functionality — taste matters.

But how do you push the boundaries of flavor innovation and still attract less adventurous consumers? The next big new product development will mostly always be a line extension where a hero flavor or ingredient is mixed with something new.

Spicy and sweet were a hot flavor combination on the show floor, and Crunchy Cravings’ Honey Roasted Pineapple Habanero Sesame Chips gave us something traditional — honey and sesame — mixed with something new in the pineapple habanero twist. SOW Good’s lineup of uniquely named honey-added granolas caught our attention with Whoa Mango, Acai the Light and Pumpkin to Talk About. Wilde’s Protein Chips appealed to our Chicken & Waffles loving side with protein chips crafted from actual chicken breast and chicken bone broth, basted with egg whites and sweetened with honey. And we were particularly intrigued by Harvest Snaps’ snack offering — baked navy bean snacks. The Honey Dijon variety was indeed bold, crunchy and tasted great.

Photo Credit: Wilde Chips

With more than 300 varietals of honey in the United States alone, the flavor combination potential in the sweets and snacks industry is endless. Gather inspiration to formulate the next tasty product at next year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo by visiting honey.com.