While the move to Indianapolis next year may be a bittersweet inflection for some of the brands that have been established over the years, those ConfectioneryNews spoke to said they hope to embrace a new era and build on the success of last quarter. of a century.
And the Expo left Chicago with a bang after organizers, the National Confectioners Association (NCA), announced a record 18,000 registrants this year.
The Expo also attracted 800 exhibitors, 250 exhibiting for the first time, and the 200 international exhibitors included a delegation from Ukraine, who received support from the US government to come and display their confections.
Christopher Gindlesperger, NCA’s Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications, said the city has been a key component to the trade show and an opportunity to see the latest innovations and developments in the candy and snack scene.
He said the Expo has a waiting list of more than 100 companies and highlighted great examples of collaboration/brand mashups like the innovation of Stuffed Puffs S’mores, a young company that has experienced incredible growth since its debut in 2012.
Gindlesperger said that sweets and snacks are an affordable indulgence and that businesses continue to show resilience in the face of recent global events such as war, pandemics and economic downturns.
The improvement was evident this year at the Expo, with a renewed sense of optimism clearly detectable not only from exhibitors and attendees, but also from NCA’s vendors, brokers and event team.
Ferrara is one of the companies that has seen tremendous growth at Expo over the years and has its roots firmly in Chicago. Still, Greg Guidotti, the company’s chief marketing officer, said the departure will be bittersweet, but the new opportunities and space brought by the move to Indianapolis and then Las Vegas will meet industry demands for years to come.
Guidotti is responsible for fudge and fruit snacks in Ferrara’s daily and seasonal businesses and, as chief marketing officer, leads the leadership, growth and profitability of the strategic and capital delivery portfolio of the brands and said the company has been able to capitalize on multi-sensory trends. with a series of novelties, such as the clusters of Nerds jelly beans.
Andrew Clarke, president of Mars Wrigley, reported that the gum category has also recovered to near pre-pandemic levels, but the category needs more innovation, compared to other sectors. He was pleased with the company’s recent acquisition of Tru Fru, which gives the company a presence in the permissible leniency space.
Sustainability is an increasingly talked about topic at the Expo and attendees heard that consumers are willing to switch to more sustainable brands, but price remains by far the top criteria for buying treats. Nearly a third of consumers surveyed by data company Numerator said they had no idea of a brand’s sustainability credentials and recommended education as a priority.
Heather K Terry, founder and CEO of ethical chocolate brand GoodSam, said consumers are becoming more curious about sustainability in their sweets and snacks and that it is at the core of her brand’s mission to appeal to those who want a chocolate that is “good for me and good”. for the planet.
As a reminder of next year’s location for The Sweets & Snacks Expo, there was an Indy 500 car on display at the concourse and engines are already revving up to race back to Indianapolis, where the show was first held as a unique event. in 2021, due to Covid restrictions in Illinois.
The Indiana Convention Center has a lot to accomplish, but everyone at the NCA is ready for the ride and confident to keep the Expo firmly on track.