WASHINGTON (June 3, 2016) – Hosted by the National Confectioners Association, the 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo set an all-time record in attendance as more than 17,000 industry professionals from more than 90 countries set foot in Chicago’s McCormick place to view the latest trends and innovations in the candy and snack categories. The show floor expanded into a second hall, the new Skyline Hall, to accommodate the growing exhibitor base and welcomed more than 750 companies showcasing nearly four acres of product innovation.
“The Sweets & Snacks Expo continues to be the premiere, world-class event in the candy and snack industry,” said John Downs, president and CEO of NCA. “This year we welcomed more than 200 new exhibitors who were able to connect with thousands of pre-qualified candy and snack customers representing nearly every distribution channel from the largest global retail chains down to small, independently-owned candy shops. Retail customers in the candy, snack and specialty category know that attending the Sweets & Snacks Expo is a must.”
Sweets & Snacks Expo attendees represented 80 percent of the buying power in the candy category and nearly 75 percent of the buying power in the snack category. Attendees were able to experience more than a dozen companies in Innovation Avenue, the Most Innovative New Product awards which featured more than 300 submissions and more than 20 educational sessions, double the amount from the year prior. The education sessions provided insights on innovation, technology and marketing for the confectionery and snack industry featuring executives from some of today’s leading companies.
“The 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo was a seminal event for the candy and snack categories as the show experienced 10 percent growth in attendance,” commented Barry Rosenbaum, Expo chairman and president of Nassau Candy Distributors, Inc. “Expo’s evolution into an iconic candy and snack global event allows us to offer even more reasons for attendees to return each year.”
For the first time, Progressive Grocer’s 4th Annual Retail Dietitian Symposium was held in conjunction with the Sweets & Snacks Expo. The symposium is an exclusive, invitation-only event designed specifically for the most active and innovative retail dietitians in the grocery industry. NCA was recognized as a partner sponsor of the event, and provided relevant content on the latest research and category insights.
“Having the Retail Dietitian Symposium in conjunction with the Expo provided an opportunity for the industry to showcase its commitment to transparency and responsibility,” commented Downs. “This partnership has allowed the industry to showcase candy’s unique role in a happy, balanced lifestyle.”
2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo Highlights:
- Skyline Hall debuted for the first time with more than 115 exhibitors and a second educational theater, Discovery Theater.
- Thousands of attendees downloaded the Expo app in order to gain real-time access to download presentations from more than 20 speakers throughout the event.
- Educational offerings were doubled with a theater on each of the two show floors featuring 20 sessions over three days.
- Hershey’s Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups received the Best-In-Show new product award during the champagne celebration which took place live on the show floor.
- Nearly 200 registered to attend NCA’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) reception on Wednesday evening, May 25. The reception provided emerging leaders within the industry a venue to connect with their peers and industry mentors.
- For the second year, the Sweets & Snacks Expo hosted an Instagram contest asking people to post their best picture from the show using the hashtag #SSE16. More than 1,000 submissions were received in just two days.
- Running for the third consecutive year, the Buzz Networking Reception held on the grand concourse drew thousands. Attendees were able to network in a casual atmosphere after a busy day on the show.
- After the show closed, leftover candy and snack products donated by exhibitors were taken to Give Kids the World, a non-profit for children with life-threatening illnesses.
The Expo is nearly 90 percent sold out for 2017. The 2017 Sweets & Snacks Expo will take place May 23-25 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
The National Confectioners Association is the trade organization that advances, protects and promotes chocolate, candy, gum and mints, and the companies that make these special treats. As the leading association for the $35 billion U.S. confectionery industry, NCA educates the public to help ensure that it understands and appreciates the unique role that chocolate and candy can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle. Confections are produced in all 50 states, creating jobs for approximately 55,000 workers in more than 1,000 manufacturing facilities across the country. More than 400,000 jobs in agriculture, retail, transportation and other industries rely in part on the sale of confections for their livelihood. For every one job that is created by confectionery companies, another seven are supported in related industries. Learn more about the “Power of Sweet” at CandyUSA.com, or follow NCA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
NOTE TO EDITORS: High resolution photos from the 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo can be downloaded from NCA’s media photo gallery.