Thursday, June 10, 2021

Sweets & Snacks Expo to Take Place in June, National Candy Month


Photo: 2019 Sweets & Snacks Expo by Virginia Lee

Did you know that June is National Candy Month? This year, the Sweets & Snacks Expo (aka, The Candy Show) will be held in June in Indianapolis, Indiana instead of its traditional May date in Chicago. Show owner National Confectioners Association unveiled its most popular summer candy flavors (strawberry, watermelon, and cherry) and candy types (chocolate, gummies, and hard candy). Candy is frequently consumed during summer activities. 94% of Americans will bring chocolate or candy with them when they go camping according to the National Confectioners Association. Campfire smores please! For those taking road trips, 93% of Americans will take candy with them. Looking for inspiration on what candy to enjoy this summer? Here’s my take on the most popular summer candy types and flavors based on the products I saw at the 2019 Sweets & Snacks Expo that is open to the trade only.


Pocky Crunchy Strawberry from Ezaki Glico USA Corporation combines a chocolate biscuit stick and strawberry cream with real strawberry bites. Pocky is a popular treat in Japan where it originated and comes in multiple flavor varieties including chocolate, cookies & cream, strawberry, and chocolate banana. There is even a strawberry Pocky flavored donut being offered by a newly opened mochi doughnut shop - Dochi - in Denver. The founders of Dochi were inspired by the classic mochi doughnuts found in Japanese street markets to create a cross between mochi (a Japanese rice dessert) and a traditional American fried doughnut.

SweeTARTS Tangy Strawberry Soft & Chewy Ropes from Ferrara Candy Company offers bendable fun by combining fruity licorice and SweeTARTS into one soft and chewy candy with a tangy strawberry flavored filling.


Watermelon is an iconic summertime fruit as it’s associated with hot dogs, picnics, and family fun. Candy makers use watermelon flavors to tap into childhood nostalgia.

HARIBO featured a gorgeous display with watermelons carved by Chef Chanse at the 2019 Sweets & Snacks Expo to promote its new HARIBO Watermelon Gummi Candy. Its three layers of color and flavor are aimed to “send your taste buds on a journey back to summer days spent in the sun”.

Jolly Rancher Misfits 2in1 Gummies from The Hershey Company includes three varieties of dual-flavored gummy candy: blue raspberry + watermelon, strawberry + lemon, and green apple + cherry.


I’m happy to see that cherries are a popular summer time candy flavor as cherries are my favorite fruit. I’ve been known to eat a whole pound of cherries in one sitting since they are only available during the summer months. 

Jelly Belly Very Cherry Sugar Free Gum from Ford Gum, Inc. offers the “Jelly Belly flavors you love!” in a gum format. I was excited to try all four varieties – Very Cherry, Berry Blue, Island Punch, and Watermelon – at the 2019 Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Photo: Tru Fru, LLC

Tru Fru Nature’s Cherries from Tru Fru, LLC are hyper-chilled cherries sold in the freezer case that have been picked ripe and frozen fresh in white & dark chocolate. In addition to other frozen fruits (bananas, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) that have been immersed in chocolate, the company also offers shelf-stable fruits (bananas, mangos, raspberries, strawberries) that have been frozen fresh and then freeze-dried before being immersed in dark chocolate.


At the Mars Wrigley booth, I got to see their new M&Ms’ Bars and Snickers Creamy Bars. The M&Ms Bars embed M&Ms Minis into a milk chocolate tablet bar for a multi-sensory taste experience. The five varieties are Peanut, Milk Chocolate, Crispy, Almond, and Crispy Mint.  The Creamy Snickers line adds a creamy nut butter filling (Almond Butter, Peanut Butter) to the caramel and milk chocolate coating to the Snickers bar.

The Hershey Company showcased their Hershey’s Emoji Bars and Kit Kat Duos at the 2019 show. The Hershey’s Emoji Bars were designed to appeal to parents of Gen Z by serving as a fun ice breaker for children as they head back to school. The Kit Kat Duos combine Mint + Dark Chocolate Candies for a minty and crispy experience. 

Jacques Torres by Chocolate Orchard was launched by Nature’s Garden at the 2019 show. The Fruit & Nut Clusters combine the Nature’s Garden’s premium fruits and nuts with Belgian chocolate from the host of the Netflix cooking show, “Nailed It”, Master Chocolatier and Pastry Chef Jacques Torres. I was excited to meet Jacques at the show after seeing his chocolate artistry on “Nailed It”.


Photo: Mondelez Global

Sour Patch Kids Heads from Mondelez Global offer 2 flavors in 1 soft & chewy candy that is 2x bigger than original Sour Patch Kids. The 2 in 1 flavor combos are pink lemonade + blue raspberry, pineapple + redberry, and peach + orange.

SMARTSWEETS INC promoted its Kick Sugar, Keep Candy! Message at the show with its stevia leaf extract-sweetened SMARTSWEETS Gummy Bears and Peach Rings that contain only 3g of sugar per 1.8 oz bag. The SMARTSWEETS are also high in fiber, with 28g of dietary fiber from prebiotic soluble fiber from tapioca and chicory root fiber. 

Fini Sweets, Spain’s #1 candy manufacturer, celebrated the creativity of candy by partnering with Chicago teenagers and candy artists. The company showcased original Fini Creations Hooplas, Kollisions, Shock Tongues and Sour Tornadoes made for the U.S. market in collaboration with a focus group of Chicago teenagers. For the 2019 expo, Fini Sweets worked with American candy artists Jim Victor and Marie Pelton to create artwork that pays tribute to Chicago using Fini candy.

Hard Candy

I got to meet Smarties Candy Company’s Co-President Liz Dee at the 2019 expo. Did you know that each classic roll of Smarties is only 25 calories? I did not know that until I started writing this article. In case you were curious, the six classic Smarties flavors are White (Orange/Cream), Yellow (Pineapple), Pink (Cherry), Green (Strawberry), Purple (Grape), and Orange (Orange). Smarties are also gluten-free and vegan.

Check out my recap of the 2019 Sweets & Snacks Expo where I observed trends in nut butters, keto friendly, flavor duos, superfoods, and low sugar.