KANSAS CITY — The holidays are on the horizon, and a slew of seasonal innovation is here this year to help consumers celebrate the season.
The breakout flavor star of the season is hot cocoa, which lent its chocolatey flavor profile to a range of holiday sweets.
Lily’s Sweets debuted Mocha Hot Cocoa Extra Dark Chocolate bars, featuring 70% cocoa. Sweetened with stevia and erythritol, the treats are made with unsweetened chocolate, chicory root fiber, cocoa butter, coffee and vanilla extract.
“It may be cold outside, but this Mocha Hot Cocoa Extra Dark Chocolate gives us all the warm and fuzzy feels,” Lily’s Sweets said. “Rich and toasty just like a good cup of hot cocoa, this bar is extra chocolatey goodness.”
McKee Foods Corp. launched Little Debbie Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate Mini Donuts, featuring hot chocolate flavored cake donuts rolled in a mixture of powdered sugar and cinnamon spices.
“The chocolate and cinnamon is a wonderful flavor combination, reminiscent of steaming mugs of hot chocolate with cinnamon sticks,” said Erica Harrison, product manager at Little Debbie. “They bring a little bit of comfort to cold winter days.”
Hostess Brands, LLC’s hot cocoa and marshmallow flavored Donettes are chocolate cake mini donuts with a marshmallow flavored glaze.
“As consumers break out their ugly sweaters and festive decorations, more and more they are also reaching for the Hostess holiday-themed snacks that are quickly becoming a staple of ‘the happiest season of all,’” said Christopher Balach, director of all-day snacking at Hostess Brands. “While the holidays may look different this year, we at Hostess believe there is always joy to be found, and we hope to sprinkle in a little holiday cheer with this tempting lineup of seasonal classics.”
Godiva Chocolatier’s new Holiday Sparkle chocolates, which feature festive shimmer on the outside, include a Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa chocolate. The confection features cocoa ganache surrounded by dark chocolate and sprinkled with white edible glitter
“The inspiration for these chocolates came directly from the twinkling lights and ornaments of the holiday season that decorate our homes and somehow transform the everyday to something magical,” said Godiva’s chef chocolatier Jean Apostolou. “Each of the handcrafted Godiva chocolates are topped with edible glitter, making them shimmer, and the insides are filled with classic holiday flavors like hot cocoa and almond, instantly evoking the warmth and wholesome goodness of the season. I created the Sparkle Collection to bring happiness to others by capturing the joy of the holiday season, which we are all especially eager to embrace this year.”
The traditional taste of peppermint also was prevalent in new holiday offerings. Mint appeared in new Silk Almond Dark Chocolate Peppermint Creamer from Danone SA, Chocolate Peppermint Bark stuffed marshmallows from Stuffed Puffs, Kellogg’s The Elf on the Shelf Vanilla Candy Cane Cookie Cereal, Peppermint White Chocolate Style bars from Lily’s Sweets, Mint chocolate flavored Twinkies from Hostess, and Brach’s Peppermint Crushed Canes and Brach’s Giant-Sized Peppermint Candy Canes from Ferrara Candy Co.
The seasonal staple of gingerbread added its spice to new Gingerbread Cheesecake Mini Cookies and Gingerbread Grain Free Paleo Puffs from LesserEvil Healthy Brands, LLC, Gingerbread Milk Chocolate Style bars from Lily’s Sweets and gingerbread plant-based coffee creamer from Elmhurst 1925.