NCA's Sweets & Snacks Expo Sold Out

Tasting panel includes category managers from 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Sam's, Safeway, Meijer

CHICAGO -- The 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo promises to be the largest both in show floor size and exhibitors for the third straight year, according to the National Confectioner's Association (NCA).

The confectionery and snack industry's biggest event expects more than 14,000 trade professionals to descend on its sold out show floor at Chicago's McCormick Place.

With 7.9% growth in the number of exhibitors from 2012, the exhibit floor is maxed out with 616 confectionery and snack companies.

In its 17th year and ranking 155 on Trade Show News Network's top 250 events, the Expo takes place May 21 through 23 at Chicago's McCormick Place.

"Welcoming over 160 new exhibitors this year, the Expo has proven itself as the best place to discover the latest product innovations," said NCA president Larry Graham. "In addition, international exhibitors see the Expo as a solid business decision. We are hosting more than 30 countries representing 130 global companies this year--up 12% from 2012. We continue to evolve the event so that it offers more opportunities to discover, learn and connect--from the all-new Industry Buzz Network Reception to success-focused keynote speakers who offer winning insights and profit-driven ideas in today's marketplace."

Tim Quinn, expo committee chairman and vice president of trade development for Mars Chocolate North America, said, "Despite the 35% drop in new confectionery product releases this year, the Expo's Most Innovative New Product Awards had a 15% increase in submissions. This year's tasting panel comprises industry and food experts including category merchants from Sam's Club, Walgreens, Safeway, Meijer and 7-Eleven--they have their work cut out for them!

"The awards selection process is a truly interactive, collaborative experience," continues Quinn. "After the panel selects their top product nominees, attendees vote for their favorites right on the show floor. We have found that products that receive a nomination often go on to become new best-sellers for many retailers of every size."

Graham added, "In response to post-show survey feedback from attendees, we are premiering a new version of our merchandising gallery rebranded as the Shopper Solutions Theater. This new addition located on the show floor, features a Gallery of Success showcasing results-driven merchandising vehicles as well as the case studies and performance metrics behind them. What's more, in the theater industry leaders will lead twenty minute learning labs on shopper insights and marketing as well as proven merchandising principles."

The 2013 Expo promises to deliver innovation and new offerings both on and off the show floor. At no extra cost, attendees will also have a chance to hear from leading industry and category leaders as well as business experts like Duke University's "Coach K," Kantar Retail's senior vice president of retail insights Leon Nicholas, Saatchi & Saatchi's Worldwide CEO Dina Howell, and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author George Will.

Industry professionals can get connected even before the show begins by downloading the new Sweets & Snacks Expo app for iPhones, Droids and Blackberry devices. It's searchable by typing "SSE13" in the device's App Store. The app is constantly updated with show information and among other utilities users can map their route on the floor, view exhibitor profiles and receive show alerts.