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    NCA Expo Draws Sweet Attendance

    More than 550 exhibitors showed off their products

    A record 556 exhibitors debuted their products to more than 14,000 industry professionals during the National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) 2011 Sweets & Snacks Expo, which took place May 24-26 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

    Billed as the “largest confectionary, cookie and snack event in the Americas,” The show featured more than 170 new exhibitors displaying their edible treats to visitors from more than 70 countries.

    “For the second year in a row, we posted significant growth in both the show size and number of companies," said Larry Graham, president of the Washington-based NCA, which hosts the annual show. “…Occupying more than 140,000 net square feet, this was our largest show with the most exhibitors in the expo's 15-year history.”

    On the attendee side, Graham was not only pleased with the turnout at the sold-out show, but he also was pleased that 28 percent of attendee titles represented executives from the nation's highest-volume accounts.

    Some highlights of this year’s expo included Innovation Alley, which featured 10 candy and snack-related startup companies; the largest-ever New Products Showcase, which featured hundreds of product launches; and the second annual Buyer's Choice awards, which were voted on by attendees in two categories on the first day of the show.

    Best New Concept Winners in the New Product Showcase were 2 Chicks With Chocolate for The Wine Collection, Albanese Confectionery for Awesome Blossoms They’re Bloomin’ Fantastic!, Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co. for Trolli Big Bold Bears, Food Market Merchandising Inc. for Got Milk? Magic Milk Flavoring Straws, and Jelly Belly Candy Co. for Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips.

    Best New Concept Winners at the Magic of Merchandising Gallery were Food Market Merchandising Inc., Jelly Belly Candy Co. and Squire Boone Village.

    The 2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo will next take place at McCormick Place from May 22 to 24, 2012.

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