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Top Snacks and Drinks Trends at This Year's Sweets & Snacks Expo

S&S Expo was back in Chicago on May 23rd through the 26th with over 700 exhibitors and about 16,000 attendees. Formerly called the Candy Expo, 2022 marked The Sweets and Snacks Expo 25th Anniversary. Sweets & Snacks Expo was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid and was then held in 2021 in a reduced capacity format, but this year’s show gave retailers and exhibitors plenty to celebrate. Consumers spent about $302 billion dollars on snacks in 2021 and that number is expected to expand at a CAGR of 2.7% from 2022 to 2030.

Here are some of the trends we observed:

Plant Based Alternatives Continue to Grow  

Mindful indulgence, snacking well without compromising taste or hurting the planet, has fueled the need for more plant-based snacks and there were plenty to choose from at S&S.

German-based Katjes USA showcased a portfolio of vegetarian gummies that uses plant-based alternatives such as pectin to recreate the chewy texture of gelatin derived from animals. Since switching to purely plant-based products in 2020, Katjes was able to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent in just two years. From gummies made of pectin, non-dairy oat milk chocolate bars, marshmallows made of carrageenan to the savory side of carrot bacon, which contains no animal products but delivers on solid smokey flavors, there was an abundance of tasty innovations in plant-based snacking. We’ve even noted some snack companies that were formerly marketing snacks as “vegan” are changing to “plant-based “on their packaging to reach a broader demographic.

Bold, Edgy Flavor Profiles Make Any Snacking Occasion Even More Exciting


Candy Dynamics launched new products under their Slime Licker Sour Rolling Liquid Candy brand, the candy phenomenon that captivated TikTok with their famous Slime Licker challenge.

Newcomer to the show, Warheads branded soda, packed the perfect punch of sour, was delightfully refreshing and came in the five iconic Warheads flavors: blue raspberry, lemon, green apple, black cherry, and watermelon.


We saw many twists on classic iconic flavors from caramel candies with bits of Oreo pieces to Jello Candy Squares and Bazooka’s Push Pop Gummy Pop-its which offer the four iconic flavors of Push Pops in a fun drop shape gummy format. Creative gummies and chewy textured treats were a top trend at this year’s show.

And perfectly timed with the start of the summer season were numerous S’mores mashups- with so many offerings you don’t even need a campfire to get that comforting Smore’s feeling in your belly.


If you prefer to fire it up there were plenty of snacks with heat. Some notable offerings included Plant Based Tomato Jerky w/ Sriracha, 4505 Chicharrones Fried Pork Rinds with Tajin, Tapatio Mixed Nuts and Vidal’s Spicy Mango Candy.

Innovations in Healthier Indulgence

Trü Frü Natures Strawberries Hyper-Chilled Fresh and Immersed in Ruby Caco product won this year’s Best in Show winner at the 2022 Most Innovative New Products Awards. By hyper chilling the raspberries you get that fresh, juicy burst when you bite into these mini fruit & chocolate calls- truly an incredible taste experience with no guilt.

Biting into a Buzz

If you’re looking for a little extra pep in your step grab Hostess Boost ™ Jumbo Donnettes®. These wickedly good donnettes pack an energy boosting 60 milligrams of coffee enough to get you through the midday slump. This is an interesting indulgent take on the growing functional food trend where consumers are favoring consumables with added benefits.

Among the boozy consumables two standouts included new jellybean line of trending alcoholic beverage flavors like gin and tonic, mimosa and Moscow mule (no actual alcohol) and The Great Spirits Baking Company, which had decadent cakes with added alcohol from brands including Guinness, Jack Daniels, Baileys and Pallini.

The LMCA team had a great time checking out the trends and innovations at this year’s Sweets & Snacks. If your company is looking to learn more about brand licensing in the food and beverage space or to learn more about opportunities with Odwalla, please visit 

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