15 Coolest Products From the 2012 NCA Sweet and Snack Expo

by Ryan Glasspiegel Follow Sports Rapport on Twitter!

Last week, I was lucky to fulfill every child’s dream and work a booth at the NCA Sweet & Snack Expo in Chicago. Working for Sahagian & Associates, who produce yards of bubble gum, licorice, and caramel corn as well as one-foot tubes of bubble gum, licorice, malted milk balls, jelly beans, taffee, and sour sweets, I spent most of my time on my feet.

While this was pretty exhausting for someone who usually spends all day typing nonsense into a computer, it was all worth it for the SAMPLES. Oh my God, the samples, you guys. Every candy and snack you can think of and thousands that you can’t were represented. This was the candy store for candy stores!!!!

It’s a good thing my doctor’s appointment and subsequent clean bill of health were the week before and not right now. BEATING THE SYSTEM!

Here’s a picture of the Chicago bean constructed out of Jelly Belly’s. If I devoted my entire life to it, I probably couldn’t re-create this.

After the jump, see the 15 coolest products from the convention, including milk-flavoring straws, bacon jerky, and mints packaged inside Nintendo controller.


1. Icee Squeeze – Ever hit 4:20 AM and crave a slushy but the LAST thing you want to do is shlep to the nearest 7/11? Don’t you wish you had them in your freezer? Well…..

2. Magic Milk Flavoring Straws – The straight up adorability of the cows on these labels makes you wonder why more people don’t have them as pets. Also, it’s probably a good thing that these straws didn’t exist when I was six years old because if they did, I wouldn’t exist and you wouldn’t be looking at them–my mom would have MURDERED me and no jury would convict her after my insufferable clamoring.

Photo Credit: grettajohns.blogspot.com

3. Dippin’ Dots Candy – The first time I ever had Dippin’ Dots was either at Noah’s Ark in the Wisconsin Dells or Typhoon Lagoon in Disney World. Despite the fact that I don’t remember, I totally could have definitively said one of them and YOU wouldn’t have known the difference. But I’m honest with y’all.

Photo Credit: select2gether.com

4. Nutella & Go – Let’s face it. Nutella is absolutely delicious but if you buy a whole container, you can’t stop yourself from putting that shit on EVERYTHING, mixing it with peanut butter all the time, or just eating it plain with a spoon when your sweet tooth comes calling (or maybe that’s just me and I’m projecting…). Perhaps realizing this, they’ve now given us a way to ration their sweet, creamy goodness.

Photo Credit: Amazon

5. Yummy Chow – I baby sat my friends’ adorable puppy this weekend and I think his facial expression when we went on a 4-mile walk on Saturday when it was 72 and sunny with a slight breeze (OH MY GOD ISN’T THIS AWESOME?!?!?!?!) was the same as the look on my face when I first saw and tasted these delicious treats.


6. Bacon Jerky – Does this even need an explanation? In case you’re wondering, it tastes better than it sounds. In related news, did I mention that my cholesterol levels WERE normal?

Photo Credit: Amazon

7. JalapeñPoppers Cheese Curls – These are basically like Spicy Cheetos except better. I wonder if Chester the Cheetah feels threatened yet if his era of dominance is coming to an end. If he doesn’t yet, he should. And he will.

Photo Credit: outbite.com

8. Ketchup Potato Chips – Apparently, these are big in Canada. Not really my style but who am I to judge if they’re yours?

Photo Credit: lygsbtd.wordpress.com

9. Spicy Cajun Crawtators – Haven’t tried these yet. Not quite sure if I’m man enough for ’em. Anyone ever had these? I’m sort of scared…

10. Jack Link’s Big Dippers – Do not, I repeat, do NOT mess with Sasquatch. He will tear your shit up!

Photo Credit: Ebay


11. Sahagian Yard of Bubble Gum – Here’s company founder Linda Sahagian holding up one of the tubes for proper perspective. How many gum balls do you think are in a yard?

12. Flip Flop Mints – It would be cooler if you could wear these, like the Reef flip flops with bottle openers on the bottom.

13. Nintendo Power Mints – One of the proudest moments of my life was when I beat Mario 3. Between stints of trying and giving up, it took me well over 10 years. IF YOU BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS AND TRY HARD (REAL HARD) THEY CAN COME TRUE!


14. Ring Pops – Has anyone ever successfully executed a marriage proposal with a ring pop? What woman wouldn’t want to walk around during her engagement with that huge rock? (Besides–and I’m just guessing–all of them.)

Photo Credit: candyandsnacktoday.com

15. Big League Chew – Sort of weird how the anti-tobacco mafia got all up on bubble gum cigarettes but left Big League Chew alone. You’d have thought they’d be a package deal, no?

Photo Credit: totalprosports.com

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6 Responses to 15 Coolest Products From the 2012 NCA Sweet and Snack Expo

  1. aattarw says:

    The Big League Chew guy is clearly juicing

  2. btublin says:

    I was just going to comment – I’ve always loved how the Big League chew is clearly roiding. Such an indicator of how baseball players were viewed in the nineties.

    Ryan – If BLC were created today, who would they model the guy on the package after?

    (my guess – he’d be latino with cornrows/dreadlocks, ala Jose Reyes pre-haircut)

  3. well, considering it still has the same packaging, I’m not sure how much it would change.

    • btublin says:

      Dude, have a little fun. The question was, if it were *created* today. They’ve already established their brand, and that’s probably why they have the same packaging. My perspective is that packaging is a reflection of how people viewed ballplayers at the time, albeit a caricature.

      So…. to rephrase, what would be the “caricature ballplayer” of today?

  4. Edwin Berg says:

    cajun crawtaters are delish.

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