A Real Sweet Spot

A huge assortment of new, improved and traditional mainstay candy, salty and savory snacks will be on display at this month’s Sweets & Snacks Expo.

hersheysMay the Force be with retailers as they explore this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Not only because more than 650 manufacturers of confections, salty snacks, cookies, meat snacks, fruit snacks, ice cream and other treats will be filling the halls of Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center May 19-21, showcasing and sampling their newest, best and legacy products. But because there will be a definite “dark side” in the air as Jelly Belly introduces its new packaged line of jelly beans based on the Star Wars franchise.

“We will have Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper at our booth available for photo ops,” says Tomi Holt, director of communications, Jelly Belly Candy Co., based in Fairfield, Calif. “We will also have a large Jelly Belly portrait made of Darth Vader and the artist Kristin Cuming will be there signing autographs.”

While a visit to Jelly Belly’s booth will take one back to a galaxy far, far away, a stop by the Hershey’s booth will more likely be something out of Futurama, with the Hershey 3-D chocolate printer on display.

“Hershey’s 3-D chocolate printer is the most advanced 3-D chocolate printer in the world,” says Michele Buck, president North America for The Hershey Co., based in Hershey, Pa. “Developed in partnership with 3D Systems, a leading 3-D printing company, the printer offers nearly endless possibilities for custom, 3-D chocolate. In just one year, Hershey has evolved the technology very quickly based on consumer feedback. The show will feature Hershey’s sixth generation printer. It can print a variety of custom shapes, including faces, animals, buildings and logos in intricate designs simply not possible with traditional molding.”

Here is just a sampling of what else the estimated 16,000 visitors will find on the show floor of this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo, sponsored by the National Confectioners Association:

Van Holten’s Foods

Booth #51


“Come and stop by our booth to sample Dill-icious pickles and popcorn,” says Ericka Schaefer, sales and marketing coordinator, at Van Holten’s Foods, based in Waterloo, Wis. “We will be sampling our Dill, Kosher (Garlic) and Hot & Sour pickles. Our pickles come in four flavors and three sizes for every taste and price point. We will also be sampling our Big Papa Dill Pickle and Bacon Cheddar Popcorn.”

lovely_candyThe Lovely Candy Co.

Booth #173


Here’s a lovely idea:  Gluten-free licorice. The Lovely Candy Co. is debuting its gluten-free licorice at Sweets & Snacks Expo, say officials with the Woodstock, Ill.-based company. It is available in 6-ounce bags of bite-sized pieces combining natural flavors and ingredients with true licorice extract.

Cornfields/G.H. Cretors

Booth #262


Show goers can sample G.H. Cretors’ Classic Chicago Mix popcorn, along with the new single-serve Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Organic Simply Salted. They can also try a “sneak peak” of limited edition SKUs launching in August. “For Hi I’m Skinny, we will be sampling our new Quinoa Sticks with Sea Salt, Quinoa Sticks with Sweet Onion, our reformulated Sweet Potato Sticks, and our Veggie Tortilla Sticks,” says Michelle Suhrie, vice president of marketing for Waukegan, Ill.-based Cornfields.    


Booth #303


“We will be presenting retailers with new and exciting products on the hottest licenses in the toy and novelty arena today,” says Clark Taylor, vice president of sales for CandyRific, based in Louisville, Ky. “We will also guide them on the hottest movies and incremental sales on 2016 and 2017 programs, including Captain America 3, Toy Story 4, Trolls and Cars 3.”

Enjoy Life Foods

Booth #366


“We will be featuring our Plentils, a crunchy lentil-based chip,” says Carolyn Wiesemann, marketing manager at Enjoy Life Foods, based in Schiller Park, Ill. “They are certified gluten-free, free-from the top eight most common food allergens, non-GMO verified and come in four flavors: Garlic Parmesan, Margherita Pizza, Dill & Sour Cream and Light Sea Salt.”     

Mars Chocolate North America

Booth #805


A host of new products from Hackettstown, N.J.-based Mars Chocolate North America will be on display and offered for snacking. Among them are Combos Sweet & Salty Chocolate Fudge Pretzels; Starburst Orange Sorbet Bars; Real Fruit Dipped in DOVE Dark Chocolate in a new 17-ounce stand-up pouch size available in October; M&M’S Brand Crispy Chocolate Candies; Milky Way Brand Marshmallow with Caramel Bar; and two items from Snickers. New Halloween and Christmas items will also be available.


Booth #813


Wrigley, the Chicago-based subsidiary of Mars, is showcasing a variety of new products and initiatives, including retail and corporate programs and collaborations with sister company Mars Chocolate. New products being featured include Skittles Sweets & Sours, Starburst Sweets & Sours and Extra Berry Burst, bringing together raspberries and strawberries in a gum combination.

Jelly Belly Candy Co.

Booth #837


In addition to its Star Wars line, Jelly Belly will debut Pancakes & Maple Syrup flavor Jelly Belly jelly beans that combine the flavor of pancakes topped with maple syrup in a single jelly bean. Also being featured is the new 1.9-ounce peg bag for the grocery channel of BeanBoozled jelly beans—classic Jelly Belly flavors paired with wild tasting look-alikes. 

Original Gourmet Food Co.

Booth #875


Original Gourmet Food Co, based in Salem, N.H., is launching three new items. Squrtz candies are available in six fruit flavors with a juice burst in the middle. Sour Squrtz have a sour powder in the center. Hand Pulled 5-ounce Swirl Pops are available in paddle and unicorn shapes. Also being featured is Original Gourmet’s new gourmet chocolate line, Bella Chocolate, available in many different varieties and packages.    

Mondelez International

Booth #1037


Show goers will not be able to miss Mondelez International’s large 50- by 60-foot booth, where the East Hanover, N.J.-based company will be showcasing its new products, including Trident Black Raspberry Twist gum, Trident Pineapple Twist gum, Stride Sour Patch Watermelon flavor, Chocolate & Mixed Berry flavored belVita Bites, CA! Choco Chunky and CA! Coconut Chunky candies.       

SkinnyPop Popcorn

Booth #1391


SkinnyPop will be sampling all four of its flavors: Original, White Cheddar, Black Pepper and Naturally Sweet. “Retailers will learn that SkinnyPop has the number one SKU in grocery and is the fastest growing brand in ready-to-eat popcorn,” says Carrie Mathews, director of operations for Skokie, Ill.-based SkinnyPop.

sandersSanders Candy

Booth #1491


Sanders Candy will display its complete product line. “We have everything there and will be highlighting our new fruit and snack dips, fruit and granola clusters and our new popcorn line,” says Tiffany Van Hemm, senior account executive, Sanders Candy, based in Clinton Township, Mich. Also look for Sanders’ legendary ice cream toppings, full-boxed chocolate collection and new ice cream and bakery items, including a new Mini Bumpy Cake debuting at the show. 

The Hershey Co.

Booth #1505


In addition to watching the world’s most-advanced 3-D chocolate printer in action, visitors can also learn about Brookside Fruit and Nut Bars, and see other new products such as Ice Breakers Cool Blast Chews, Hershey’s Caramels and Brookside Crunchy Clusters Roasted Almonds and Berry Flavor. “Hershey is focused on innovation that anticipates rapidly changing consumer desires, and we are excited to be featuring a range of delicious candy and snacking products,” says Buck.

Booth #1743


“Spangler Candy Co. will feature its full product line including everyday and seasonal offerings of Dum Dums lollipops, Saf-T-Pops, Circus Peanuts and Candy Canes,” says Evan Brock, director of marketing for the Bryan, Ohio-based company.

R.M. Palmer Co.

Booth #1837


“We will be featuring our new Pretzel Bits Bar and exciting hot new license Yoo-Hoo—a large 4.5-ounce bar and pouched mini bars with a new formula that tastes like Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink,” says Gail Youse, customer service manager, for West Reading, Pa.-based R.M. Palmer Co. “Retailers will also see our exciting new seasonal items for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter.”

Carl Buddig & Co./Old Wisconsin

Booth #1971


Old Wisconsin is introducing a protein-packed healthy snack alternative, Fast Fuel Sticks and Bites—high-protein, low-calorie meat snacks

that exceed Smart Snack Guidelines. “The protein found in fresh meat has a high biological quality compared to many plant foods and a higher protein quality compared to other processed forms of meat,” says Jeff Weber, Old Wisconsin national brand manager at Homewood, Ill.-based Carl Buddig & Co.

Loacker USA

Booth #2000


Italian wafer, cookie and confectioner Loacker USA will be showing its greatly expanded product line that it is now importing into the U.S. “We are going to be sampling our classic 45-gram Quadratini Wafers as well as our Rose of the Dolomites chocolates,” says Crystal Black Davis, vice president–marketing, Loacker USA, based in New York.  



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