After the postponement of last year’s event in Chicago and a new venue (The Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis) and date, the ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the first official trade show to take place in Indianapolis in approximately 18 months.
This ceremony also marked a return to near-normal business for the confectionery and snack industries in the US with its premier event back on the calendar.
New product launches
Sponsored by the National Confectioners Association (NCA), the Expo has a reputation for featuring new product launches, business-building solutions, networking opportunities and merchandising innovations.
In a media call from The Indiana Convention Center, Christopher Gindlesperger, the NCA’s Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Communications, said: “We picked the right city at the right time … it's a trend-setting show in a lot of ways not just in terms of figuring out the logistics of operating a large-scale event in this day and age.”
He said Indianapolis made the Expo possible because of the investments made in upgrading the Convention Center that allows for safe and successful events to happen.
“The excitement, the energy, the vibe is very strong and positive for everyone looking to get back to business in Indianapolis.”
Gindlesperger said this year’s event has attracted approximately 450 exhibitors with 3,000 retailers registered and 8,000 people expected through the doors over the next two days.
Although CBD confectionery is becoming an increasingly popular trend, Gindlesperger said the Expo is not featuring any products this year, but had planned to host and hold a CBD gallery in 2020 if the show had gone ahead - and he hopes the trend will be back in the mix at Sweets and Snacks Expo in 2022.
In general, Gindlesperger said the trends that are established at the Expo, not only drive innovation within chocolate candy, and snacks categories, but also influence other food categories.
“Tropical fruits are really on trend. We've seen coconut, pineapple, banana, and peanut butter and chocolate as a great combo, along some other tropical fruits, both in the chewy and gummy space.
Spicy flavours are also big this year along with mix-and-match combination of flavours but not just necessarily flavours - also products.
“On the flavour front Haribo has a new product called Rainbow Worms, which are a combo of a couple of different flavours - and Hershey with mocha and chocolate KitKat Duo's, along with Reese's Pieces and Brownie Brittle coming together."
The other big trend at Sweets & Snacks Expo this year is around packaging.
“Smaller packs are continuing to gain steam and they have for the last couple of years, where consumers, want some help with portion guidance.
“They like to have the option of picking up smaller pack size and that could be an in-the-moment purchase at the register as folks get back to the different retail channels and continue to drive that great growth that we've seen in grocery,” said Gindlesperger.
- Check-out the Sweets & Snacks Expo website for more information on this year’s event.