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Registration has opened for the 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo, scheduled for May 21-23 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. The Washington, D.C.-based National Confectioners Association (NCA), which sponsors the annual trade show, said that “the 2013 expo is poised to be the most successful in the event’s 17-year history, with exhibit space sales nearly at capacity five months in advance.”
Several big-name items, including Frito-Lay’s Cracker Jack and Unilever’s single-serve frozen novelties, will make their debut at the show.
“Seven years ago, when the NCA board decided to incorporate snacks into the expo, the thought was to increase the opportunities and efficiencies of those already attending,” explained the association's president, Larry Graham. “By adding respected brands like Cracker Jack, as well as new categories like ice cream, the expo has become now, more than ever, a retailers' one-stop-shop for candy and snack needs in a growing variety of product categories.”
As they did last year, the expo’s Most Innovative New Product Awards will serve as the launchpad for more than 200 all-new confectionery and snack products into the marketplace.
Noted Tim Quinn, expo chairman and VP of trade development at Hackettstown, N.J.-based Mars Chocolate North America: “Candy and snack category sales continue to outpace total-store sales, and in a challenging economy, retailers increasingly rely on those categories that are proven sales performers. The expo was designed to not only provide retailers access to more new and exciting products, but also to offer merchandising solutions and keynote topics designed to turn insights into actions.”
The Sweets & Snacks Expo also offers distinguished keynote speakers and educational content from acknowledged experts. This year, the event will feature Duke University’s Coach K, who has coached the men’s basketball team for more than 30 years and led the team to four NCAA championships, on leadership; Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will, on the current political climate and how this affects industry businesses; Dina Howell of worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi X, on evolving from category-to-solution-based strategies to boost brand connections with shoppers; and Leon Nicholas, director of retail insights for Wilton, Conn.-based Kantar Retail, on the state of the confectionery and snack industry.
Additionally, this year’s expo will host more international exhibitors than ever before, adding the Ecuadorian pavilion and welcoming back the Brazilian, Chinese, German and Mexican pavilions.
“It has become increasingly important that our industry continue to expand our markets to include other countries and regions,” added Quinn. “The global marketplace provides an area of growth opportunity going forward, and our expo is the place to connect with manufacturers from around the world to discover international products that can set retailers apart from the rest.”