The 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo, which took place in Chicago in May, welcomed a record 16,000 attendees from nearly 90 countries and more than 640 exhibitors, among which some 121 were exhibiting for the first time, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA), which sponsored the Expo.
“The Sweets & Snacks Expo continues to be the quintessential tradeshow for any company in the candy or snack industry,” said NCA President and CEO John Downs, Jr. “We maxed out our available exhibit space making it our largest show ever and still had more than 200 companies on the exhibitor wait list. Our Expo committee is laser focused delivering the most valuable experience within our industries and it’s apparent that we are accomplishing that; but we won’t stop learning and improving.”
Exhibitors from 23 different countries, were able to meet with nearly 6,000 pre-qualified candy and snack trade customers representing leading retailers as well as small start-ups from the industry. Trade customers were able to experience NCA’s Most Innovative New Product Awards showcase, which contained nearly 300 new items just hitting store shelves.
“Submissions for the new product awards were up 8% from 2014, reinforcing our industry’s commitment to creating innovation in the marketplace,” said Tim Quinn, outgoing Expo chairman and vice president of trade relations at Mars Chocolate North America. “The Sweets & Snacks Expo remains a must-see for any retail customer to discover the hottest trends and items the candy and snack industry has to offer.”
“As we strive to reinforce candy’s place in a happy, balance lifestyle, the overwhelming success of the Sweets & Snacks Expo is further proof of the unique role our products have in today’s society,” concluded Downs.
2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo Highlights:
– Thousands of attendees downloaded the Expo app in order to gain real-time access to download presentations from more than 20 speakers throughout the event.
– Tic Tac’s Minons received the Best-In-Show new product award during the inaugural champagne celebration open to all visitors, which happened live on the show floor at close of the first day.
– More than 300 young professionals attended NCA’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) reception on Wednesday evening, May 21. The reception, hosted by the recently opened Dylan’s Candy Bar on Michigan Ave., provided emerging leaders within the industry a venue to connect with their peers and industry mentors.
– For the first year, the Sweets & Snacks Expo hosted an Instagram contest asking people to post their best picture from the show using the hashtag #SSE15. Over 1,100 submissions were received in just two days.
– Running for the third consecutive year, the Buzz Networking Reception held on the grand concourse drew thousands. Attendees were able to network in a casual atmosphere after a busy day on the show.
– NCA introduced a pop-of-service rating kiosks at key locations at the Expo. The kiosks allowed attendees to provide immediate, honest feedback with the simple push of one of four rating buttons with happy to sad faces. The Expo’s education offerings in the Sweet Insights Theater, located directly on the show floor, and the keynote sessions received the highest marks.
– After the show closed, a tractor trailer full of leftover candy and snack products donated by exhibitors were taken to Give Kids the World, a non-profit for children with life-threatening illnesses.
The Expo is 90% sold out for 2016, but space still remains. The 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo is set for May 24 – 26 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.