2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo

Recording-setting crowds descended on the West Building of Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center May 21-23, to attend the 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo sponsored by the National Confectioners Association. While there, attendees sampled the latest candy, gum, salty snacks, meat treats and gourmet products from hundreds of manufacturers.

Here are some highlights from the show.

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Sweets & Snacks Expo 2013

On May 21-23, the National Confectioners Association 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo was held at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Sweets & Snacks Expo 2013

It showed that the road of life is made sweeter with candy.

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Sweets & Snacks Expo attracted a broad range of retail buyers, industry executives, along with freaks and geeks.

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To demonstrate that “candy never goes out of style” a collection of dresses made from candy wrappers decorated the lobby.

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Look for this cute little number in Saks this fall – and Safeway too!

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This cool dude was wearing a suit made out of Perky Jerky – made from 100% natural beef, flavored with guarana.

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At Hershey’s booth there were kisses for everyone.

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Just in time for Christmas, Brampton, Ont.-based Create A Treat Ltd. showcased its new gingerbread carousel.

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Create A Treat’s spooky Haunted House Gingerbread Kits were a big hit at Bed Bath & Beyond last year. This Halloween the company is broadening distribution.

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Marty Palmer, president of Sioux City, Iowa-based Palmer Candy Company proudly displays his new Pumpkin Pie and Caramel Apple flavored coated pretzels.

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Dozens of upcoming hit products were on display at the Mars Chocolate North America booth including M&M’S Chocolate Bar, a milk chocolate bar with whole M&M’S Candies inside.

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The iconic M&M’S characters were a big draw.

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The Easter Bunny says plastic eggs filled with Twix candies are going to be HUGE in 2014.

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Innovators at Mars have also invented egg-shaped Twix candies that will be debuting next Easter.

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Mars Chocolate North America has big hopes for its Snickers and MilkyWay Bites candies, tiny bite-sized pieces of the favorite candy bars available in a variety of package sizes including lay-down bags, gusseted pouches and 12-count boxes of single-servings.

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Across the aisle, Mars’ licensing division was showcasing the latest in brand line extension. Here is a display featuring travel items, including neck pillows, luggage tags, luggage locks and earbuds.

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Mars officials showed how astute retailers can increase overall store sales by creating end cap displays featuring licensed M&M’S baking supplies and M&M’S Candies.

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Silly rabbit – some lucky kid is going to devour you next Easter Sunday!

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Among the products American Licorice Co. was showcasing was its Sour Punch Punchies soft and chewy sour candy.

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Visitors to the booth could watch upcoming Sour Punch TV commercials.

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Among the products featured at the Carl Buddig & Co. booth were Beef, Turkey and Pepp Bites, jerky treats in packaging that is ideal for the supermarket class of trade.

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The Jel Set Company showcased many new products, including seasonal Mondo drinks, Hershey’s Instant Pudding, Angry Birds freezer bars and Jolly Rancher gelatin mix. All were being sampled at the booth, and were so delicious that many came back for seconds (and thirds)!

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The Jel Sert Company also manufactures Mott’s freezer bars made with apple juice and instant water enhancers, as well as Chiquita Fruit Bites, made with pureed fruit.

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The Jel Sert Company also showcased many of its legacy products, including My-T-Fine and Royal pudding mixes.

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Sanders Fine Chocolates displayed its entire product line...

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... And sampled products from its popular Boulevard Collection boxed chocolate line.

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Upscale supermarket operators can set themselves apart by selling homemade fudge made with Calico Cottage mixes, says Daniel Russo, sales manager new business.

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The fudges are so mouthwatering they practically sell themselves.

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Food Market Merchandising, Inc. has developed a unique milk carton-shaped display to market its Got Milk? Magic Milk Straws.

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A variety of new meat snacks were on display – and being sampled – at the Jack Link’s booth.

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Scott Mandel, CEO, (left) and Joel Warady, chief sales & marketing officer, of Enjoy Life, talk about their line of delicious, all-natural, gluten-free and non-GMO snack bars.

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Bosco syrup was a first-time exhibitor at this year’s show. The Towaco, N.J.-based company showcased its new Bosco Mocha Syrup and Bosco Milk Chocolate Candy Bars.’

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The Bridgford line of meats, including jerky, pepperoni and salami is perfectly suited for supermarkets, says Baron Bridgford II, vice president of the Chicago-based family-owned company.

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Pemmican, a brand of Marfood USA, is rolling out its USDA Organic certified beef jerky, says Keith Megginson, director of sales, at the Taylor, Mich.-based company.

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Funky Monkey, a Fishers, Ind.-based manufacturer of freeze dried fruit snacks, has introduced a line of fruit snacks based on Marvel comic book characters, including Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man, says Matt Herzog, president (left) and Rick Albano, director, Western Sales.

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A wide variety of lollipops and cookies were on display at the Original Gourmet Food Company booth.

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Many retailers spur impulse sales by putting a 2 for $1.00 Original Gourmet Lollipop display near their checkouts.

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Safeway will be selling this 12-count Original Gourmet Lollipop assortment pack this Christmas.

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Toad-Ally Snax markets a line of chocolate-covered pretzel and popcorn treats. The company is seeing big growth in the dollar store channel, and its product line is ideal for supermarkets, say Steve Schmid, national sales manager, (left) and Darlette Jenkins, president.

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Want to try the next big thing? Then pick up a bag of Seth Greenberg’s Authentic New York Brownie Crunch. It is just like eating the crispy edge of a tray of brownies.

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Here’s something new on U.S. shores. Monty Bojangles famous Dusted French Truffles are the fastest growing chocolate in the U.K., and imported to the U.S. from France by Los Angeles-based Praim Group.

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Praim Group also distributed the Choxcard – a chocolate bar in a carrying case that is a greeting card and also a store gift card holder.

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It’s a jungle out there, so Kencraft Handcrafted Confections is marketing a line of American-made lollipops in tiger, leopard and zebra skin prints.

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Jeff Tillery, vice president of sales and marketing, (left) at Alpine, Utah-based Kencraft shows a customer his latest confections.

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