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CHICAGO -- The National Confectioners Association's (NCA) 2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo marked the event's third straight year of record-breaking growth, the NCA announced Approximately 15,000 industry professionals from 70 countries attended this year's show, held May 8-10 at Chicago's McCormick Place.
"Without a doubt, the 2012 expo was our most successful show yet for both exhibitors and attendees," said NCA President Larry Graham. "For the third year straight, we posted significant growth in both the show size and number of companies. We delivered more than 570 exhibiting companies and 140 new exhibitors to the 2012 expo -- that's a 15 percent increase from the 2010 show."
This year's show was also physically the largest in the event's 16-year history, occupying more than 142,000 square feet and featuring more than three acres of candy and snack products. The expo hall held more exhibitors than ever before, and nearly 5,500 candy and snack trade customers registered to attend, representing key distribution channels such as grocery, convenience and mass, as well as niche and specialty outlets, according to the association.
"Record-breaking growth is just one aspect of our success," said Tim Quinn, vice president, trade development for Mars Chocolate North America and chairman of the expo. "Our event covers so much more than the show floor. The expo provides many other useful vehicles and opportunities to connect face-to-face with other industry professionals and learn about the latest innovations."
For the second year in a row, the expo hosted Innovation Alley, a sold-out area that highlighted 10 candy and snack-related startup companies. The event also featured the Most Innovative New Product Awards, which recognized the most innovative ideas, concepts and products in the sweets and snacks marketplace.
"The cookie and snack categories, added to the expo four years ago, continued to flourish with nearly 40 percent of exhibitors featuring snack-related products," commented Rick LaRue, vice president, international sales for Promotion In Motion Companies Inc. and vice chairman of the expo. "Candy and snacks offer more new products each year than any other retail category and the expo gives you the tools and resources to simplify your search for the next best seller."
The NCA also launched a special mobile app that provided expo information and news updates.
"We offer a complete suite of business tools that no other show can rival. Attendees come to find not only product innovations, but also to discover new companies, gain insights and learn about effective merchandising. Our show has proven itself to be the most efficient one-stop destination that retailers need to visit every year to keep on top of the trends," stated NCA's Graham.
The 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo will take place May 21-23, again at Chicago's McCormick Place.