In a room full of confectionary giants, it is hard for small companies to stand out. The little guys in the industry have to find a trend or an innovation to gain customers.
Allen Benz makes smart fries, an air popped potato stick that has taken the market by storm due to health-concerned consumers.
“Our product yields the lowest fat content of any product on the market, with only two grams of fat per serving,” said Benz. “This is definitely a better for you snack, that's our niche in the marketplace.”
The healthy angle has brought many awards to smart fries and also to Plocky's hummus chips.
Paul Sepola, owner of Plocky's, says unorthodox snacks like his are starting to fill shelves because customers demand a healthier option.
“Consumers are concerned about what they eat and so fourth and there are more and more non traditional snacks,” said Sepola.
Sepola's hummus chips, which have been around since 2005, are also aided by growing public interest in Middle Eastern flavors.
He says his business increased 25 percent last year and is already up 20 percent in the first quarter of 2012.
“We saw a trend as hummus was growing we thought it would be a great idea to make a chip from hummus,” said Sepola.
Just tweaking an existing product still is not enough sometimes. There were over 5,000 different sweets and snacks products coming out last year, some companies have to throw out the book entirely to come up with a new innovation.
“So you know when you've eaten onion or garlic and you brush your teeth or chew gum and you can't get rid of that smell because it's coming from your stomach not your mouth? This is the answer,” said Jacqui Rosshandler, President of Jacqui llc.
Eat whatever is a two pronged breath enhancer that kills bad breath in the mouth and in the stomach.
A revolutionary gel capsule is swallowed to kill bad breath at the source. This wards off odor for hours.
“Kids can have a pepperoni pizza and a keg of beer and then take eat whatever and have amazing fresh breath,” said Rosshandler.
Rosshandler says her product will soon be available at over 400 colleges.