The glorious smell of candy will be in the air once again as the National Confectioners Association (NCA) Sweets & Snacks Expo comes to town. This year's event is held in May at Chicago's McCormick Place. It is the largest confectionery and snack trade show in North America, representing a substantial portion of the more than $330 billion worldwide confectionery and snack market. Of special note is the growth of the show in the gourmet category.
According to the NCA, the popular Gourmet Marketplace sold out in early January, housing 84 companies and providing access to hundreds of one-of-a-kind, upscale, natural and organic products. Says NCA president Larry Graham, "We are committed to finding innovative ways to grow the expo, including an emphasis on new confectionery and snack products, distinct exhibit space for organic, natural and gourmet products, highlighting international companies, and exploration of the latest trends in shopper marketing. We service all your confectionery and snack needs in one place."
The expo is a great place to cultivate ideas for generating sweet and savory sales. In this issue we feature an exhibitor preview so retailers who are attending the show can whet their appetites in anticipation of the big event.
Additionally we take a look at new flavors in nuts, interesting cracker creations, healthy and delicious choices, and Erika Flynn introduces you to some wonderful cheese makers. There are many exciting — and sweet — products being unveiled this spring!