S’mores are seemingly everywhere and “new-stalgia”–a fresh take on aging products–is on the rise, according to exhibitions at this week’s Sweets and Snacks Expo.
The expo, which is the candy industry’s biggest annual trade show, returned to Chicago’s McCormick Place with over 700 vendors after two years of COVID disruptions, including moving to Indianapolis last year due to Chicago’s pandemic restrictions.
The candy industry, which was valued at $30.1 billion in the U.S. in 2022 according to IRI, is being shaped by several pandemic and economic forces: Although COVID caused more people to snack at home–45% of U.S. consumers snack more than three times a day–it has also led to supply chain issues causing limited stock, according to Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive VP and practice leader with IRI. Inflation might also lead people to become more hesitant about buying products, although rising prices have not taken a big toll yet, said Lyons Wyatt, who spoke at the expo.
At the expo, hosted by the National Confectioners Association, sweets and snacks marketers showed off a range of new s’mores flavors as well as new packaging meant to be more sustainable. A fondness for the past also permeated this year’s products, seen in new partnerships for brands such as Pop-Tarts and the revamping of legacy brands such as Bazooka.
Below, trends and innovations to keep an eye on, based on a tour of the expo floor.
S’mores are smoking
The campfire food is a big trend. Products on display included two-year-old brand Stuffed Puffs, which markets what can only be described as a condensed s’more: a marshmallow covered in graham crackers and filled with milk chocolate.