Little Bites from the 2013 Candy Show

Minis, bites and no wrappers. That’s my quick, four-word take on the Sweets & Snacks Expo put on this week (May 21-23) by the National Confectioners Assn. This is what used to be called the Candy Show.

While candy bars probably always will be with us, there has been a movement lately to smaller pieces of candy, sometimes a smaller version of a bar (fun size?), sometimes tiny “poppable” versions in stand-up pouches. While some of the companies are marketing these as a form of portion control, I think they’re just the opposite. A 1-oz. bar has a logical ending point. An 8-oz. bag of smaller candies can become a half-pound single-serving.

Some examples of this downsizing trend:

  • Hershey introduced Kit-Kat Minis and Twizzler and Jolly Rancher Bites (the latter a soft, chewy version of the traditionally rock-hard candies).
  • Mars Chocolate North America showed Snickers and Milky Way Bites. And subsidiary Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. debuted Lifesavers Berry Bites (gummies) and Starburst Minis (those, by the way, are unwrapped and even smaller than a regular Starburst).
  • Do you hate the way Butterfingers crumble when you bite into the full-size bars? No more melted chocolate on your corduroy pants with Butterfinger Bites, a new one from Nestle.
  • Remember Bonomo Turkish Taffy? Roll that taffy into a little ball and cover it with chocolate and you have Bonomo Taffy Nibbles, from Warrell Corp.

Other apparent trends were soft licorice, more popcorn (especially marketed as a healthy snack) and, despite recent lawsuits and FDA scrutiny, caffeine-laced candies.