Sweets & Snacks Expo spends final year in Chicago

In its final year in the windy city, Sweets & Snacks Expo 2023 gave exhibitors a taste of new collaborations, flavours and innovations from the biggest names in confection.
Daniel Reale-Chin
Associate Editor, Convenience Store News Canada
Daniel Reale-Chin, a young man with a beard, smiles at the camera
Sweets and snacks expo photo

The 2023 Sweets & Snacks Expo (SSE) kicked off on May 23 in Chicago. The show was back for its 26th year as one of the largest conventions for the confectionary and snack industries. 

Nearly 250 new exhibitors joined SSE this year. Showgoers got to tour a more than 210,000-sq.ft. showfloor packed with sweet, salty and sour products. Altogether, 800 exhibitors including Mondelēz, The Hershey Co. and Mars Wrigley, showcased new and exciting products. 

Nearly 16,000 people were expected to attend this years’ SSE, which was hosted by the National Confectioners Association (NCA) at the McCormick Place in Chicago. After nearly 30 years in the windy city, this was the last year that SSE will call Chicago home. Beginning in 2024, the SSE will cycle through a rotation of two years in Indianapolis followed by one year in Las Vegas until 2032.

John Downs headshot
John Downs, president and CEO of NCA and SSE

“This year is an important inflection point for the Sweets & Snacks Expo, as it is the show’s final year in Chicago,” John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association and Sweets & Snacks Expo host organization, said. “For more than 25 years, we have worked in collaboration with the city of Chicago to build and host the world’s premier candy and snack show. The value that the Sweets & Snacks Expo brings to confectionery and snack companies is incredibly important and it contributes in a major way to the success of these two great categories.”

According to the association, the expo brings about $21 million to the city of Chicago.

Innovative new product awards

This year’s show honoured novelty in the industry through the Most Innovative New Product Awards. The awards recognized 55 new products in 11 categories in the confectionary and snack industries. This year’s awards were sponsored by Circana and involved more than 300 submitted products.

 

The winners of the 2023 Most Innovative New Products Awards:

  • Best in Show: Chunk Nibbles — Apple Cinnamon Chunk Nibbles
  • Small Business Innovator: Jackson's Chips — Farmhouse Ranch Sweet Potato Chips made with Avocado Oil
  • Chocolate: Nuts.com/Kopper's Chocolate — Mexican Hot Cocoa Bites
  • Nonchocolate: Shenzhen Amos Sweets & Foods Co. Ltd — 4D Fruit Gummy Juicy Burst Strawberry
  • Gum & Mints: Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc. — Mentos Fruit Mints with Vitamins – Cool Fruity Mix
  • Salty Snacks: Big Dipper Food Co. — Peanut Butter Caramel Coated PopCrunch
  • Sweet Snacks: Tru Fru LLC — Parfait Poppers: Nature's Raspberries Frozen Fresh in Greek Yogurt & Granola
  • Meat Snacks: PepsiCo Foods — Jack Link's Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Beef Jerky
  • Savory Snacks: Truly Good Foods — Henrietta Said Ancho Kimchi Flavored Peanuts
  • Novelty/Licensed: Shenzhen Amos Sweets & Foods Co. Ltd — TastySounds RecordableLollipop – Peach Nectar
  • Seasonal: Hawaiian Host LLC — Strawberries & Cream White Chocolate Macadamias
  • Gourmet/Premium|Candy: Tru Fru LLC — Nature's Strawberries Hyper-Dried Fresh in White & Dark Chocolate 
  • Gourmet/Premium|Snack: Oh Snap! Pickling Co. — Cranberry Sweeties

In addition to the awards, attendees got a first look at the latest treats driving new trends, including:

  • Brand Collaborations: Your favorite treats/brands working together to create something new and exciting.
  • Flavor Mashups: Flavor combos that will delight you. Salty, sweet, sour, spicy or savory – there is something for everyone!
  • Social Media Friendly Interactive Treats: These treats give you permission to play with your food and share with your friends on social media!
  • All About Options: Everyone treats and snacks a little differently, which is why confectionery and snack companies are offering a range of package sizes and product types that fit every occasion.

SSE 2024 will take place at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, May 13 to 16, 2024.

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