NCA Opens Registration for 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo

This year's event includes new large-scale exhibitors, well-known speakers

WASHINGTON -- Registration has opened for the 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo, to be held May 21-23, 2013, at Chicago's McCormick Place, sponsored by the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

The group expects the 2013 Expo to be the most successful in the event's 17-year history, with exhibit space sales nearly at capacity five months in advance.

A number of big-name items, including Frito-Lay's Cracker Jack and Unilever's single-serve frozen novelties, will debut for the first time at the 2013 Expo, pointing to the importance and growing popularity of snacks for both retailers and manufacturers.

"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," said Larry Graham, NCA president. "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."

Continuing the trend from last year, the Expo's Most Innovative New Product Awards will serve as a launch platform for more than 200 completely new confectionery and snack products in the marketplace.

Tim Quinn, Expo chairman and vice president of trade development at Mars Chocolate North America, added, "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."

In addition, the Sweets & Snacks Expo continues to offer well-known keynote speakers as part of a modest Expo registration fee enforcing its focus on creating a 360-degree customer-centric experience.

Its educational content offers a suite of experts promising to deliver strategic direction into effective leadership and insights that can contribute to bottom line success.

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, will share his winning leadership philosophy that applies to all facets of life. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will, whose newspaper column spears in nearly 400 newspapers in the United States and Europe, will examine the political climate and how this affects businesses in the industry.

Dina Howell, worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi X, will discuss how to evolve from category-to-solution based strategies to increase brand connection with shoppers, while Leon Nicholas, director of retail insights for Kantar Retail, will present twice on the state of the confectionery and snack industry.

The 2013 Expo will also include more international exhibitors, 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," said 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."