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Sweets and snacks event bucks trade show trend


Retailer and supplier consolidation has led to the demise of some conventional trade shows, but that’s not the case with the Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Record attendance is expected at the event scheduled for May 21 through May 23 in Chicago due in part to format changes by event organizer the National Confectioners Association and the strength of merchandise categories represented at the mega event.

Sponsored by the National Confectioners Association, the 2013 Expo is now in its 17th year and event organizers recently announced that exhibit space at Chicago’s McCormick Place is nearly sold out. The increased popularity is due in part to a format change seven years ago that added snacks to the mix of categories represented. As a result, a number of big-name items, including Frito-Lay’s Cracker Jack and Unilever's single-serve frozen novelties will be on hand this year.

"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," says 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."

According to Tim Quinn, Expo chairman and vp of trade development at Mars Chocolate North America, "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," Quinn said.

Event organizers also said this year’s Expo will feature an unprecedented number of international exhibitors, with a new Ecuadorian pavilion joining 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," Quinn said. "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."

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