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CHICAGO — The 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo will examine the latest trends in consumer behavior surrounding candy and snack purchases, and offer educational tips at the Sweet Insights Theater.
The expo will be held May 19-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The educational experience kicks off May 19 with a keynote address from National Confectioners Association (NCA) President and CEO John H. Downs Jr., followed by a presentation from IRI Executive Vice President Larry Levin on the key consumer, shopper and retailer changes affecting the candy and snack worlds.
During the following day, leading experts will take the stage to provide industry perspective on the current economic climate, snacking and lifestyle mega trends, and the nation's changing demographics in three short, high-impact briefings at the all-new Retailer Impact Forum. The forum will be hosted by Michael Sansolo of MorningNewsBeat.com.
Joining Sansolo will be Darren Seifer of The NPD Group to discuss consumer snacking behaviors in a balanced diet and Tina Manikas, president of FCB/RED, to share tips on how retailers can manage split efficiencies between Millennials and Boomers. A panel of retail executives from leading companies including Meijer and Schnucks will provide real-time feedback on these briefings.
On the final day of the expo, the keynote sessions will conclude with Bill O'Reilly of Fox News providing his perspective on current events and issues in our world and their impact.
All keynote sessions will be held in a new location central to taxi and shuttle bus dropoffs in Room 183 on Level 1 in McCormick Place West.
"The Sweet Insights Theater and keynote sessions bring great added value to retailers, brokers and manufacturers alike," said Tim Quinn, Expo chairman and vice president of trade development at Mars Chocolate North America. "This year's lineup offers a variety of impactful topics, from the evolving and influential role of the in-store dietitian and their impact on in-store shopper decisions, to the latest research on what consumers really think of chocolate, and the latest in shopper marketing and digital integration. The theater will provide attendees with a one-stop solution center to help build their confectionery and snack category sales."
In addition, 20-minute learnings labs will be held in the Sweet Insights Theater on the show floor at the top of every hour from noon to 5 p.m. on the first two days of the show. Speakers will include:
- Michelle Cote, vice president of research for MyWebGrocer who will present the latest trends in ecommerce grocery shopping related to the confectionery and snack industry;
- Joanna Parker, director for the Nielsen Perishables Group, who will speak to building market baskets by partnering with "Store Hero" categories that connect with candy and snacks; and
- Cam Cloeter, founder of Impulse Marketing Inc., who will share the latest innovations taking place at the front-end that are driving sales and profitability.
NCA is the trade organization that represents the $35-billion U.S. confections industry.