Snacks & Candy

Snack Attack at Sweets & Snacks Expo

More snack companies than ever plan to exhibit at annual show

CHICAGO -- Four years ago the All Candy Expo officially rebranded itself as the Sweets & Snacks Expo and welcomed snack companies to exhibit. In that time, snack company's participation at the Expo has grown. The most substantial growth was seen from 2010 to 2011 when there was a 16% increase in the number of companies featuring snack products exhibited at the Expo.

The 2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo, sponsored by the National Confectioners Association, will be held May 8-10 at Chicago's McCormick Place. The Expo holds the honor of being the largest confectionery, cookie and snack show in the Americas featuring more than 540 companies showcasing three and a half acres of confectionery and snack products at one time, in one place. The Expo serves as a one-stop-shop for retailers and wholesalers looking to discover new products and trends in the industry.

"Snack products coupled with confectionery items are the fastest-growing powerhouse in the grocery store," said Tim Quinn, Expo chairman and vice president of trade development for Mars Chocolate North America.

"During this challenging economy, retailers are looking to the strength and staying power of candy and snacks to stabilize sales and increase profits. In 2011 alone, these categories accounted for 9 percent of all store sales and experienced a phenomenal 11% increase," he said.

Some of the snack companies and their products that will be exhibiting at the 2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo include:

  • Beer Nuts, Inc.: Beer Nuts Bar Mix.
  • Cloverhill Bakery: Danish Cinnamon Rolls.
  • ConAgra/National Pretzel Co.: Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn.
  • Diamond Foods: Kettle Brand Potato Chips.
  • Jack Link's Beef Jerky: Jack Link's Beef Jerky.
  • Kellogg: Nutri-Grain Bars.
  • KIND Healthy Snacks: KIND Fruit & Nut Bars.
  • Kraft Foods: Oreo, Ritz, Chips Ahoy and Nabisco.
  • Mrs. Fields Branded Retail: Mrs. Fields Cookies.
  • Oberto Brands: Oh Boy! Oberto Beef Jerky.
  • Old Dutch Foods: Traditional Potato Chips.
  • Popchips: Popchips Original.
  • Popcorn Indiana (formerly Dale & Thomas Popcorn).
  • Snyder's-Lance, Inc -.Snyder's of Hanover.
  • Stauffer Biscuits: Animal Crackers.
  • Tillamook Country Smoker: Tillamook Country Smoker Natural Style Jerky.
  • UTZ Quality Foods: Zapp's Potato Chips.
  • Walkers Shortbread: cookies.
  • Wise Foods: Wise Chips.

Click here to view a complete list of companies exhibiting snack products at the 2012 Expo.

"While we are thrilled with the quick adoption of snacks by our Expo visitors, it is important to remember that confectionery products continue to be a proven sales driver on their own garnering more than $30 billion in U.S. retail sales in 2011 alone," said NCA president Larry Graham. "Candy and snacks combined have the buying power of $79 billion in U.S. retail sales each year."

Added Quinn: "Most Americans snack up to four times a day and since consumers are shopping and eating in more than dining out, it is vital that retailers offer a wide variety of items and options to customers. The Expo is the best destination for candy and snack professionals to source new and innovative products and keep ahead of the trends."

New at the 2012 Expo:

  • The rebranded "Most Innovative New Product Awards" showcase. Product nominees in this new awards showcase are taste-tested by a panel of industry-wide experts with retailers casting the final votes live on the show floor.
  • Expo Mobile App. Sponsored by The Hershey Co., this tool is available for virtually all smart phones. It is a custom-designed, native application that will function anywhere on the show floor even without wifi service. To download, search the app store for "SSE12" or "sweets expo."
  • Innovation Alley. Back by popular demand, this dedicated area on the showfloor features startup companies new to the industry displaying some of the most innovative ideas not yet in the marketplace.
  • An expanded Gourmet Marketplace. Occupying a larger, more prominent area of the show floor, the Gourmet Marketplace has matured into a rich and creative resource at the Expo by providing access to hundreds of candy and snack companies displaying one-of-a-kind upscale products.

The Retail Solution Center has become a popular attraction at the Expo. This center is an area for retailers to source the latest fixtures, displays and services from the top names in the industry. For the fourth year in a row, the Magic of Merchandising Display Gallery, offers ideas and award-winning solutions that worked for other retailers.

Learning opportunities continue to play a major role at the 2012 Expo. Keep ahead of the curve and learn from industry professionals as well as business experts on hot issues and opportunities within the confectionery and snack industries. The 2012 Expo will offer morning sessions with well-known presenters including NPD's leading food trends expert, Harry Balzer; political pundits James Carville and Mary Matalin; business guru Dan Heath; and former CNBC economist Marci Rossell.

"Offering much more than just the show floor, the Expo provides a myriad of other useful vehicles to help attendees discover innovation, gain insights, learn about effective merchandising vehicles, and connect face-to-face with other industry professionals," said Quinn. "We offer a complete suite of business tools that no other show can rival and word has gotten out; the 2011 Expo grew to its largest size both in square footage and exhibitors in its 15-year history. We promise the newest, coolest, latest and greatest items and trends including nearly 150 new candy and snack exhibitors in 2012."

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