Sweets & Snacks Expo 2022 kickstarts summer with show of strength

Even a pandemic can’t stop the Expo from setting up shop. Last year, it was one of only a few trade shows to take place in North America, albeit in much-reduced circumstances and in a different city (Indianapolis).

With 2022 marking the Sweets & Snacks Expo’s 25th​anniversary, it came back to its spiritual home in Chicago after a two-year break (the show was canceled in 2020) and boasted almost 700 exhibitors, with more than 110 exhibitors in the Supplier Showcase section – and generating a cool $21m in revenue for the city’s coffers.

The Expo’s producers, the National Confectioners Association (NCA), said this year the event just attracted under 16,000 attendees and covered 4.5 acres of candy and snack innovation at Chicago’s McCormick Center.

Almost hitting pre-pandemic figures so soon is an impressive recovery for a that the NCA said generated $36.9bn in retail sales in 2021 and is projected to reach $44.9bn in sales by 2026.

The confectionery industry in the US employs nearly 58,000 workers in more than 1,600 manufacturing facilities across all 50 states – and the Expo is its showcase event, also attracting exhibitors from overseas.

With National Candy Month running throughout June, last month’s Expo highlighted many of the seasonal trends with S’mores-flavored treats – and everything you need to make them – taking over this summer and throughout the year. Everything that could be s’morified was, said NCA spokesperson Lauren O’Toole Boland, from candy bars and chocolate bunnies to popcorn and Rice Krispies treats to cookies.

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