Sweets & Snacks Expo 2016

Sweets & Snacks Expo 2016: All you need to know

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Sweets & Snacks Expo takes place from May 24 to May 26
Sweets & Snacks Expo takes place from May 24 to May 26

Related tags Confectionery Candy

The 20th Sweets & Snacks Expo will bring the introduction of a new hall to accommodate more than 130 new exhibitors and the show's Innovation Avenue up-and-coming products showcase.

Held each year in Chicago since its inception in 1997, the 2016 show will take place May 24 through May 26 at the city's McCormick Place convention center. More than 720 companies will attend the event, a 20% increase on last year, according to expo organizer the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

New companies and emerging brands will be displayed in the Innovation Avenue in the venue's Sky Hall.

“We have seen several of our fledgling start-up companies, such as Edward Marc and Project 7​, in Innovation Avenue go on to be some of the most innovative powerhouses in large format retail stores,”​ Susan Whiteside, NCA’s VP of marketing communications, told ConfectioneryNews.

The Sky Hall will also host the NCA’s Most Innovative New Product Awards on the expo’s opening day.

“Visitors will be able to experience awards highlighting the top 45 new items deemed to have the potential to become best sellers by the Expo's hand-selected Taste Panel," ​added Whiteside.

Some Most Innovative New Product Awards nominees

  • Fruit combos:​ Banana Peanut Butter Chewy Banana Bites; Tropical Field Half Dipped Chocolate Mangos; Butterfield’s Muscadine Grape Buds
  • Small-sized confectionery​: Extra Dark Chocolate ROCA THINS with sea salt; Coffee Thins’ new Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Coffee Thin; and Mrs. Thinsters Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookie
  • Bold and unique flavors:​ Saigon Cinnamon Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup; Hammond’s Horchata Chocolate Bar; Long Grove’s Pumpkin Caramel Pecan Myrtle; Einhorn’s Epic Romsey Cookie

Key trends in US confectionery

The NCA observed that several long-term trends gained ground each year, including innovation around formats such as products that are resealable, smaller or portion-controlled.

“The popularity of minis in recent years is a perfect example,”​ Whiteside said, adding that chocolate with nuts had also been performing well in recent years. "There are some exciting new products this year that capitalize on that, including Russell Stover pistachio bark," she said.

Premium chocolate sales up 16%

Whiteside added that premium chocolate sales had increased nearly 16% year on year, while chocolate and fruit combinations were up almost 50% and dark chocolate up 8%.

Meanwhile, sales of fruit-flavored candy have increased 7%, gummies 7%, and sour candies 15%, she said.

“We expect candy sales to increase from $34.9bn in 2015 to $38.1bn in 2020," ​added Whiteside.

"Key drivers will include frequent introduction of new products, premium chocolate and candy, and shareables.” 

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