CHICAGO -- Registration has opened for the 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo, slated for May 21 through 23 at McCormick Place here. It's sponsored by the National Confectioners Association, which expects the 2013 staging to be the most successful in the event's 17-year history. According to the association, exhibit space sales are nearly at the capacity of the available space, five months in advance of the opening date.
A number of big-name items, including Frito-Lay's Cracker Jack and Unilever's single-serve frozen novelties, will make their first appearance at the Sweets & Snack Expo in 2013. This is indicative of the importance and growing popularity of snacks for both retailers and manufacturers, the show's organizers reported.
"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," said 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."
Back by popular demand this year, the expo's Most Innovative New Product Awards program will serve as the launch platform for more than 200 confectionery and snack products in the marketplace.
Expo chairman Tim Quinn, vice-president of trade development at Mars Chocolate North America (Hackettstown, NJ), explained that "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 pointed out.
The 2013 exposition again will offer presentations by well-known keynote speakers as part of the programming available for a single modest registration fee. The show's educational component offers an expert faculty providing strategic direction for effective leadership, and insights that can contribute to bottom line success, NCA said.
Duke University's "Coach K," who has coached the men's basketball team for more than 30 years and led the team to four NCAA championships, will share his winning leadership philosophy. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will, whose syndicated column spears in nearly 400 newspapers in the U.S. and Europe, will examine the political climate and how it affects the industry.
Dina Howell, worldwide chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi X, will explore ways to evolve from category- to-solution-based strategies to increase brand connection with shoppers, and Leon Nicholas, director of retail insights for Kantar Retail, will present twice on the state of the confectionery and snack industry.
The 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo will also boast more international exhibitors than ever before, welcoming back the Brazilian, Chinese, German and Mexican pavilions and adding a new one for Ecuadorian exhibitors.
"It has become increasingly important that our industry continue to expand our markets to include other countries and regions," Quinn noted. "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."
Additional information about the show, and online registration, may be found at sweetsandsnacks.com.