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. Confectionery, cookies and salty snacks sales up 3.8 percent and growing $1.2 billion in 2011, according to the National Confectioners Association, the expo’s sponsor.

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 retailers 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 may impact the confectionery and snack industry.

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 before they hit the shelves. More than 3,000 confectionery and snack products are launched each year.

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

The time-saving expo app will allow customers to navigate the show floor on-site; connect with other attendees before, during and after the event; and receive real-time show alerts and updates as well as view exhibitors’ product materials.

The rebranded “Most Innovative New Product Awards” showcase shows off the most popular, hand-selected 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 can visit this new attraction to make their “treasure hunting” 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.

The expo will present the newest products from around the world, including those from European companies and the Middle East. It also will provide customers with access to Argentinian, Saudi Arabian and Russian products.

As in years past, the expo will host the international welcome lounge adjacent to the show floor, where translators and representatives can answer questions, offer concierge services and assist in making global visitors comfortable and their visits productive.

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