Snacks & Candy

The In-Person Trade Show Returns

The Sweets & Snacks Expo opens in Indianapolis
Sweets & Snacks Expo ribbon cutting
Photograph courtesy of the National Confectioners Association

INDIANAPOLIS — The Sweets & Snacks Expo opened June 23, touting itself as the first food-industry trade show in more than a year. The exposition, hosted by the National Confectioners Association (NCA), for the candy and snack categories offers attendees the opportunity to discover new confectionery and snack products, related insights and access to industry and retail personnel.

“There’s a lot of excitement and pent-up demand for the in-person show this year,” said John Downs, president and CEO of the NCA. “We are excited to be working with our partners in the city of Indianapolis to provide the 8,000 retailers, manufacturers, brokers and suppliers in attendance with the opportunity to find inspiration, take part in educational sessions and make meaningful connections with those in the industry they have missed over the past year to 18 months.”

The event was held in Chicago for years, but moved to Indianapolis this year to facilitate meeting in person after the shutdowns of more than a year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are extremely proud of the work our state has done to safely bring world-class events to Indianapolis, like the NCAA Basketball tournament, the Indy 500 and now the Sweets & Snacks Expo,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said. “This event is a great move forward for our business community to recover. The candy and snack industries have a strong economic footprint in our state, supporting more than 13,000 jobs. What better way to celebrate the great candy and snack companies that call Indiana home than with the Sweets & Snacks Expo in June, which just happens to be National Candy Month.”

The 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo by the numbers:

  • 8,000 attendees.
  • More than 450 exhibitors.
  • Nearly 3,000 retail attendees.
  • 1,750 retail banners across all classes of trade.
  • More than 3 acres of candy and snack supplier displays.

After cancelling the Sweets & Snacks Expo in 2020, this year’s show presents two years of product innovation and trend-watching, including these themes outlined by NCA:

  • Smaller pack sizes: More companies continue to develop smaller pack sizes containing 200 calories or less. This trend empowers consumers to make informed choices when they are ready to treat themselves to their favorite snack or candy.
  • Tropical flavors: This year, tropical flavors are taking center stage with a focus on pineapple and coconut.
  • Mix and match: Candy and snack manufacturers are bringing consumers the best of both worlds by combining multiple flavors and seasoning styles into a single package.
  • Spice it up: At the Sweets & Snacks Expo, a number of new spicy snacks feature flavors such as chili, sriracha, jalapeno and habanero.

The National Confectioners Association, Washington, D.C., is a trade organization that promotes the role of chocolate, candy, gum and mints in a balanced lifestyle and the companies that make these treats.

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