Last week I attended the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago. The National Confectioners Association (NCA), who sponsored the expo, hosted a breakfast briefing exclusivise for us that are part of the Mom Blog Tour. We got to hear from NCA’s Vice President of Public Relations & Marketing Communications on candy trends and more about the association.
Goals of the NCA
The NCA’s goal is to help child obesity. They have made a commitment to the candy industry that there will be more products with 200 calories or less by 2022. They are doing this through their Always a Treat initiative. America’s leading chocolate and candy companies are coming together to provide consumers with information, options, and support as they enjoy their favorite treats.
Americans eat two-three pieces of candy a week. Candy is a big part of holidays, family celebrations and traditions.
You can learn more by going to alwaysatreat.com.
Sweets & Snacks Expo
The Sweets & Snacks Expo, in its 22nd year, is the largest show of its kind in the United States with 800 exhibitors from 90 countries. It is only open for retail and not open to the public. Many of the exhibitors are small business owners. You’ll find large multinational firms down to boutique, gourmet candy and snack exhibitors.
Most Innovative Snack Awards
Want to be the most coveted of the show? Exhibitors can enter the Most Innovative Snacks Awards! The awards program showcases the most innovative ideas, concepts and products in two of the hottest categories in the store – candy and snacks! A panel of retail experts selects winners in nine different categories.
The winners of the 2018 Most Innovative Snack Awards are as follows:
Chocolate – Hershey’s Gold Standard Bar
The Hershey Co.
Non-Chocolate – Big Chewy Nerds
Nestle USA/Ferrara Candy Co.
Sweet Snacks – Organic White Chocolate Mini Peanut Butter Cups
Salty Snacks – Tangerine Vanilla Cashew Macadamia Glazed Mix
Savory Snacks – Trail Mix Crackers
Alli & Rose
Novelty/Licensed – Warheads Dippin’ Ring
Seasonal – Ferrero Rocher Golden Heart for You and Me
Gourmet – Parm Crisps Trios
That’s How We Roll
Gum & Mints – Cool Tropical Tic Tac Gum
Ferrero USA, Inc.
Believe it or not, candy trends are always changing! Here’s the trends at the Sweets & Snacks Expo this year:
- artisanal salts
- big, bold flavors
- ingredients that challenge your perception of what treats & snacks are
I also saw a lot of dark chocolate, protein, spicy flavors and noticed a lot of smaller serving sizes. It was easy to spot the trends when strolling through the many exhibitors at the expo.
Many exhibitors have fun games and prizes for you to take part in and entice you to stop by their booth. Pez had a fun game of planko we could play to try to win the coveted Limited Edition Pez Dispenser. Well, apparently I have mad skills when it comes to Pez because I won that little dispenser after more than ten people in front of me lost! I was pretty darn excited even though I didn’t even realize they made limited edition dispensers!