2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo

From May 8-10, Chicago’s McCormick Place was the sweetest place to be. Packed with more candy than Willy Wonka’s factory, the 2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo showed the industry that people still want their treats.

Here are some highlights from the show:

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Attendees of the 2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo sponsored by the Washington-based National Confectioners Association were greeted by a 10-foot replica of Chicago’s famous Cloud Gate sculpture made with 120,000 Jelly Belly beans and Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips. It was constructed by students of the French Pastry School and After School Matters!

2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo

The show’s lobby also contained the Candy Hall of Fame.

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Candy-themed NASCARs were also on display.

2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo

A giant Hershey’s Kiss guided visitors to the Hershey’s booth.

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At the Hershey booth visitors saw the latest in seasonal candies.

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Lemonheads were the star attraction at Ferrara Candy Company.

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R.M. Palmer Candy Company featured a display of value-priced holiday themed items.

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Melting Chocolates, available in milk, dark and white, were being sampled at R.M. Palmer’s booth.

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Old Wisconsin, a division of Carl Buddig & Co., showcased its new countertop display for beef jerky sticks.

2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo

A visit to the Galerie Chocolates booth was truly out of this world. R2D2 stopped by to promote the company’s new Star Wars line of candy products, including Valentine’s Day hearts that will debut in 2013.

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Foreign Candy Co. used a Segway to entice visitors to stop by its booth to learn about Rips brand licorice.

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In honor of the brand’s 100th anniversary, a giant Oreo walked the show floor bringing good taste and excitement to everyone he encountered.

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Chris Tamillo, vice president of sales & marketing, confectionary, at Dayton, Ohio-based Revolymer, talks about the company’s revolutionary Rev7 gum. It keeps its flavor for over 2 hours and doesn’t stick to surfaces.

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Martin Palmer, president of Sioux City, Iowa-based Palmer Candy Co. proudly talks about his company’s new Bakery Delights line of Caramel Swirl Pretzels, Peanut Butter Swirl Pretzels, Munchy Medley and Yummy Chow.

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Richard Alimenti, CEO of Salem, N.H.-based Original Gourmet Food Co. talked about his new variety pack of Original Gourmet Lollipops that will soon be hitting store shelves.

2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo

At the Wrigley booth the new compact Cobalt 5 gum packs were the center of attention.

2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo

Farley’s & Sather’s Candy Company showcased – and sampled – its Brach’s, Bob’s, Heide, Farley’s and Sather’s brands of fine confections.

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Magic Straws, LLC was sampling its Got Milk? line of Milk Flavoring Straws. Each straw flavors a 10-ounce glass of white milk at a fraction of the price of pre-flavored product.

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Craig Rich, CEO of Germantown, Tenn.-based CMRI, LLC talks about his new Magician’s Cereal Marshmallows, toasted tiny marshmallow treats modeled after the marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal.

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Barry Sokol (left), executive vice president, and Dan Werther, CEO, of Trevose, Pa-based Sorbee International, LLC, talk about their new Country Time Lemonade Chews.

2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo

Gary Rollar Jr., vice president of sales & marketing at Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Galler America, points out that Galler Chocolatier chocolates are the only ones on the market with a Letter of Warrant from the king and queen of Belgium.

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Promotion in Motion produces dozens of candy products which were featured and sampled at the show.

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