How Sweet It Is

The 2013 Sweets and Snacks Expo May 21 to 23 at Chicago’s McCormick Place continues to expand its status as a global resource for products, innovations and insights. Companies from 23 countries have secured booths or pavilions on the show’s floor.

More than 570 confectionery, cookie and snack companies are expected to participate in the expo sponsored by the National Confectioners Association (NCA). “NCA recognizes the power of U.S. brands around the world and the expo serves as a destination for global markets to come together,” Larry Graham, president of NCA, said in a statement. “The 2013 expo is the ideal venue to connect with industry professionals from around the world and to discover international products and trends that will set retailers apart from the rest.”

Among the highlights of the expo will be the retail solution center and the shoppers’ marketing theater. Attendees will be able to explore proven merchandising ideas and solutions, find out what's working for other companies and learn how to merchandise products to increase sales.

They also can get inspired by proven brands as well as up-and-coming products, people and companies; tap into direct access to more manufacturers representing more product categories; and network face-to-face with global sales and marketing executives from leading manufacturers, importers, exporters, brokers and distributors.

Industry leaders and category experts will discuss the latest trends in new products, in-store merchandising and snacking, and how the economy might impact the confectionery and snack industry.

“The expo offers so much more than the show floor,” noted Tim Quinn, expo chairman and vice president of trade development for Mars Chocolate North America. “It provides complimentary keynote sessions where attendees gain insights as well as the all-new Shopper Solutions Theater featuring the latest in merchandising and promotion best practices, as well as 20-minute learning lab sessions."

More than 30 percent of sales in the confectionery and snack categories reportedly are items that have been introduced to the market in the last two years. The new product showcase at the expo boasts the largest collection of new confectionery and snack items of any show.

Back by popular demand, Innovation Alley will feature start-up companies just beginning their confectionery and snack businesses and celebrate their innovative spirits. The “Taste of Gourmet” will feature cutting-edge offerings, unique demonstrations and the latest in tastings, pairings and flavor combinations.

The rebranded “Most Innovative New Product Awards” showcase will show off the most popular up-and-coming products in eight different categories. Product nominees in this new awards showcase are taste-tested by a panel of industry-wide experts before the show, with retailers casting the final votes live on the show floor. Attendees will be able to visit this new attraction to make their “treasure hunting” even more profitable.

The show will welcome back the Brazilian, Chinese, German and Mexican pavilions and will host the Ecuadorian pavilion for the first time. The expo offers several features and amenities for international attendees, including an international product showcase, an exporter floor plan and a guided retail tour that make it easier for international attendees to explore both on and off the show floor.

“Every year we host a number of country pavilions, but in 2013 we are thrilled to host a new country’s pavilion, and a number of new international companies, as well,” Graham noted.

For more information about the 2013 Sweets and Snacks Expo sponsored by the National Confectioners Association, visit

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