Registration has open for the 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo, which is scheduled for May 19-21, 2015, at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Sponsored by the National Confectioners Association, the 2015 Expo is anticipated to be the most successful in the event’s 18 year history, with an already sold-out show floor including an extensive exhibitor wait list.
The 2014 Expo set an all-time record in volume of confectionery and snack products with more than 650 companies, increased exhibitor participation for five straight years with more than 3.5 acres of product innovation. In 2015, the show floor square footage expanded to accommodate more new exhibitors and plans to welcome more than 16,000 industry professionals.
“Each year, the show continues to thrive and break standing records while reaching new milestones,” said Tim Quinn, Expo chairman and vice president of trade development for Mars Chocolate North America. “More specifically, the Most Innovative New Product Awards program has proven its value and popularity by recognizing candy and snack makers for their imaginative ideas, concepts and products. We have a grand celebration in store this year with an awards ceremony highlighted by a champagne toast happening right on the show floor at the close of the opening day. In addition this year, taste panelists will assist in presenting the awards to the innovation winners. It’s one of our most esteemed programs, demonstrating double-digit growth for the past three years and we wanted to ensure the winners and nominees receive show-wide recognition and accolades.”
“The global market is growing at a fast rate in a $428 billion candy and snack industry worldwide, and it is essential that the Expo provides access to more product categories from more international companies. Last year the show experienced double digit growth in international participation, making the Expo a one-stop-shop for candy and snack buyers from around the world,” said John Downs, Jr., president & CEO of NCA. Nearly 100 international companies from more than 20 countries are expected to exhibit at the 2015 Expo.
“We asked, listened, and delivered,” commented Quinn about the Expo’s retooled education offerings. “After extensive surveys and personal outreach this past year, we discovered that our attendees needed to gain more insights beyond the show floor which is why we are offering the Expo’s Knowledge Series for the first time.”
The series will kick off on the first day with an industry address featuring NCA’s new President and CEO John Downs Jr. and follow with insights on sweets and snacks from Executive Vice President and Practice Leader Larry Levin of IRI Wordwide.
On day two, the newly-created Retailer Impact Forum will reveal how to get ahead of the biggest drivers of change in ‘bite size’ portions. Leading experts will provide industry perspective on the current economic climate, the health and wellness mega trend and the nation’s changing demographics in three short, high-impact briefings. Following speakers, a panel of channel executives, ranging from grocery to online, will provide perspective on how these market, consumer and shopper trends impact the retailing business and our category. The panel will be moderated by retail expert Michael Sansolo.
On the final day, host of FOX’s top-rated The O’ Reilly Factor, Bill O’ Reilly, will offer Expo attendees an unfiltered perspective on current events and global issues. He brings a hard-hitting style and “no-spin” perspective on the nation’s most important issues in his straightforward and provocative manner.
The 2015 Sweet Insights Theater located live on the show floor will offer even more knowledge-building sessions. Attendees can learn from industry experts on how to exceed shopper’s expectations, and build confectionery and snack sales during 20 minute learning labs featuring case study success stories and proven recommendations. This dynamic line-up includes sessions on the new and evolving role of the in-store dietitian and how they are meeting needs of today’s information seeking shoppers as well as research findings from the latest chocolate consumer study. The labs will also include impactful sessions exploring digital and social media and value shopping as the “new normal”, in addition NCA will debut the new S5 series uncovering consumer driven principles for leveraging seasonal occasions.
The wildly popular Specialty Market sold out in early January, and will feature 88 companies and providing access to hundreds of one-of-a-kind, upscale, free-from and organic style products. The market’s growth and sales success continue to accelerate since recent consumer statistics show that nearly 40% of shoppers will pay more for premium, specialty or all-natural products.
New in 2015—the Expo’s Specialty New Product Showcase located within the New Product Showcase will offer manufacturers a distinct location to exhibit their new organic, premium or gourmet candy and snack items in one place.
Entering its 18th year, Sweets & Snacks Expo continues to excel in its commitment to offer attendees the best value for their investment. As always, Sweets & Snacks Expo registration includes activities off the show floor including the respected and influential keynote speakers, new and innovative show floor learning labs, and other network-building events like the Industry Buzz Network Reception.
For more reasons than ever before, the Sweets & Snacks Expo is the one place more confectionery and snack retailers and manufacturers come together to get inspired, make connections, find new best sellers and return to their office with unparalleled value for time well spent.