Tasting Around the Sweets & Snacks Expo

A slideshow of some of the most distinct flavors at this year’s show

CHICAGO -- Sriracha, smoky and coconut are among the flavors that have dominated the Sweets & Snacks Expo for the past few years. While there was no shortage of these favorites, manufacturers are getting more sophisticated with their taste profiles, opting for unique yet balanced combinations instead of shock factor.

Well, let’s be honest: There were plenty of attention-grabbing flavors too, such as Boulder Canyon Authentic Foods’ Turkey & Gravy kettle chips, which had a surprisingly lovely sage and umami flavor.  But many other products highlighted natural pairings, such as Perky Jerky’s upcoming Pale Ale Jerky and grapefruit-melon gum from Project 7.

A few ingredients and flavors showed up enough to be considered serious trends, including sour confections, crispy rice and marshmallow treats, and decadent yet healthier combinations of dark chocolate, dried fruit and nuts. Others, such as tres leches gum and honey gummies, are more indicative of hot flavor micro trends. Browse some of the most unique flavors sampled on the show floor in the slideshow below.

Perky Beef Jerky

Perky Jerky gave a sneak preview of two new upcoming flavors: a Korean-inspired barbecue beef jerky and a turkey jerky with the flavors of a pale ale.

Rivo Hot Mints

Rivo rolled out a line of mints flavored with cayenne pepper for a hot yet cool effect. Flavors include mango, peppermint and passion fruit.

Project 7 Gum

Project 7 featured a wide variety of “gourmet gum” flavors, including Summer Snow, Kettle Pop, Birthday Cake, Tres Leches, Front Porch Lemonade and Grapefruit Melon.

Boulder Canyon Turkey & Gravy kettle chips

Boulder Canyon’s Turkey & Gravy kettle chips had a surprisingly nice taste of sage and umami. The company also sampled its Pumpkin Pie chip variety. 

Skinny Girl Fruit Mints

The Skinny Girl licensing brand continues to flourish with a broad line of confections that tout impressively unique flavor combinations. The mint line includes pomegranate matcha green tea and mocha cappuccino, while the gummy candies include Fuji apple and honeycomb and cherry and mango.

Goetze Marshmallow and Crispy Rice Treats

It’s not a new trend, but it’s certainly one experiencing a major resurgence: Marshmallow and crispy rice treats were found all around the show floor. Goetze’s showed off its own variation that comes topped with its Caramel Creams and Cow Tales candies. 

Haribo Sour Candy

Sour candies were abundant on the show floor, from Skittles Sour to Haribo’s new Twin Snakes, featuring a sour gummy worm connected to a traditional sweet one.