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CHICAGO — The National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) 2017 Sweets & Snacks Expo will introduce two new features at Chicago's McCormick Place May 23-25.
First on the docket is the launch of "Eye Opener" educational sessions. Taking place before the start of the show, these 30-minute sessions will provide actionable insights on a variety of category specific topics that can immediately be applied to business models.
"We want attendees to be prepared with the tools they need to be successful before they hit the show floor," commented Barry Rosenbaum, Expo chairman and president of Nassau Candy Distributors Inc. "These must-see sessions, along with the entire show's educational slate, ensure that the Sweets & Snacks Expo, along with being the place where a majority of business gets done for our industry, is also a place where candy, snack and specialty professionals can acquire unrivaled insights."
The full schedule for Eye Opener sessions can be found here.
Next on the docket is the addition of the Small Business Innovator Award to the 2017 Most Innovative New Products Awards program.
After retailer and attendee feedback indicated that there is a need to recognize smaller companies, the Small Business Innovator Award was specially designed to highlight companies with net sales of $500,000 or less, providing an avenue for companies just starting in the industry with an opportunity to shine and gain recognition alongside well-established companies, NCA stated.
The Most Innovative New Products award program — now in its sixth year — highlights the most innovative ideas, concepts and products that the industry has seen over the course of the year. On average, 300 item submissions are made each year.
Tyler Merrick, founder of Project 7, a previous Most Innovative New Products Award winner said of the program: "Innovation continues to be at the heart of what Project 7 seeks when developing new products. Having been fortunate enough to be nominated and win a Most Innovative New Product Award has helped with the success of our products tremendously. We were able to utilize the recognition the award brings with top retailers from across the country including Target and Starbucks. Having a new category for small business innovators is an invaluable asset for smaller companies to gain visibility."
In addition to the Small Business Innovator Award, submissions, nominees and winners of the Most Innovative New Products program will be recognized in a number of ways, including:
- New Showcase location. Now centrally located next to the Expo’s New Product Showcase, award nominees and winners will be featured in an eye-catching, tech-savvy display just outside the show floor entrance.
- Awards ceremony kickoff. Like last year, the 2017 Sweets & Snacks Expo will kick off with a mimosa toast revealing and celebrating the award winners across nine segments.
- View and visit 45 nominees. Expo attendees will have access to all 45 panel-recommended new product nominees across the nine segments via the Expo app.
- Sweet & Snacks Expo website gallery. Following the Expo, all registrants will have access to all 300-plus products submitted into the awards program via a gallery on the Sweets & Snacks Expo website.
The Most Innovative New Product Awards continues to serve as an evaluation tool for new products hitting store shelves. Companies that submit an entry receive direct feedback from the taste panel of judges following the Sweets & Snacks Expo.
Deadline to submit entries for the Most Innovative New Product Awards is April 7.