Why is the Expo moving to Indianapolis?

As of October 2020, the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago remain under coronavirus-related restrictions and do not permit the convening of trade shows like Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Together with the Board of Trustees and the Sweets & Snacks Expo Committee, the National Confectioners Association made the decision to move Sweets & Snacks Expo out of Chicago’s McCormick Place in 2021.

Will the show be permanently moving to Indianapolis?

No. Sweets & Snacks Expo will return to Chicago’s McCormick Place May 23-26, 2022.

What are you going to do to make the show safe? Will masks be required?

The health and safety of Sweets & Snacks Expo exhibitors, attendees, support staff and convention center employees are our number one priority.

Sweets & Snacks Expo management will follow the COVID-19 preparedness and safety guidelines developed by the Indiana Convention Center, the city of Indianapolis and public health authorities as they evolve.

The Indiana Convention Center’s COVID-19 safety plan currently includes:

  • Health department approval and input required for large events
  • Temperature and health screenings
  • Face coverings in common areas and event spaces
  • Built-in six-foot physical distancing measures for floor plans, seating areas, and crowd management
  • Limited and designated entry and exit doors
  • One-way travel markers in hallways and corridors
  • Additional hand-sanitizing stations
  • 24/7 air circulation and hospital-grade air filters
  • Plexiglass shields at all service areas
  • Modified food service policies, including cashless and touchless point of sale, in subsequent stages (when allowed)
  • Enhanced training on COVID-19 related practices and protocols for all staff

The Indiana Convention Center is currently holding events with these and other social distancing guidelines in place, and we will be working closely with ICC to ensure a healthy and safe environment in June 2021.

Learn more in our Exhibitor Guidance below.

Exhibitor 2021 FAQ


Sweets & Snacks Expo is not anticipating having to cancel. However, should government regulations force us to cancel the show, the Board of Trustees and staff will be transparent in their decision making and will take into consideration what is best for NCA, the industry and the community.

Just as show management has done with respect to public spaces at the venue, each exhibitor should create their own plan for the design and operation of their booth space to accommodate for social distancing and keep a safe environment for their respective staff and guests. This would include designing booth elements to provide for a traffic flow, as well as abstaining from in-booth activities that generate crowds (e.g., celebrity signings and product demonstrations).

Only designated individuals are allowed to pick up badges on behalf of others onsite. During the registration process, the booth contact will be able to name the person who is picking up the badges, as well as select the specific location and time for pick-up.

Yes. We will have locations onsite for any last-minute changes and additions. In an effort to cut down lines and reduce crowding, each exhibitor’s booth contact can designate a single individual responsible for adding or changing badge information and picking up badges for the exhibitor’s employees.

Yes. Education sessions will have limited capacity in an effort to maintain social distancing. Exhibitors will register for education sessions during the registration process, and all attendees are encouraged to register early.

You can see the 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo exhibitor badge allotments by logging in to your dashboard. We would also like to encourage our exhibitors to bring only essential staff members to the 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo to reduce the amount of people in booths and aisles and maximize the opportunity for customers and valued buyers attending the show.

Booth Space & Brand Marketing

Everyone will be contacted to choose exhibit space during an online “real-time” exhibit space selection to be held the week of November 30, 2020. We will contact you via email and telephone before the space selection to explain how it will work.

Yes, all companies will need to complete a 2021 Exhibit Space Rental Agreement. Rental agreements with deposit must be received by November 6 to participate in the November space selection process. If you rolled over all or part of your exhibit booth fee from 2020, payments/credits will be reflected on your 2021 application.

Payment for booth fee balances must be received by January 31, 2021.

When you complete your 2021 Exhibit Space Rental Agreement, you will have the opportunity to request either an increase or a decrease in exhibit space. During your space selection appointment, you will have an opportunity to select exhibit space.

  • Confectionery manufacturer: NCA Member $39.50 per square foot
  • Confectionery manufacturer: NCA Non-Member $53.50 per square foot
  • Snack Manufacturer: $45.00 per square foot

The Indianapolis Convention Center has multiple entrances, so there is no “main” entrance. Attendees will be able to access the exhibit hall from a number of lobby doors and exhibit halls.

There are plenty of sponsorship opportunities available at Sweets & Snacks Expo 2021. Those who have had sponsorship and advertising packages in the past will be contacted and advised of the plans for 2021. If you are interested in sponsorship and brand marketing opportunities, on-site or otherwise, please contact Kim Nolan at kim.nolan@SweetsAndSnacks.com.

Show Dates/Hours

The exhibit dates are:
Wednesday-Friday, June 23-25

The event will kick off on Tuesday, June 22, with the new Supplier Showcase, as well as an evening Most Innovative New Product Awards Keynote.

A complete show schedule, including insight sessions and other educational opportunities will be available by February 2021.

Exhibit Hall hours will be Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The exact dates and times for move-in of exhibits have not been determined, but Saturday, June 19 – Tuesday, June 22, have been designated as move-in dates.

Sweets & Snacks Expo Features

The following features are planned for Sweets & Snacks Expo 2021:

  • Broker Awards Breakfast
  • Destination Retail
  • Diamond Club
  • Discovery Theater
  • Featured Product Showcase
  • MINPA (Most Innovative New Product Awards)
  • Supplier Showcase
  • Women’s Leadership Group Breakfast
  • Young Professionals Network Reception

The nature of sampling at Sweets & Snacks Expo will be different in 2021 on account of the pandemic. Exhibitors may provide packaged, 2 oz. or less samples to attendees. More detailed information on sampling will be available in the Exhibitor Dashboard in December.


No, your orders will not carry over. You will need to order all services and labor when the Exhibitor Dashboard opens in December.

The list of contractors will be available in December.

There are some differences in the union regulations and the various groups that perform services. Rigging and electrical are handled by the Indiana Convention Center and not by Freeman.

The Indiana Convention Center requires that Exhibit Appointed Contractors apply and be approved by the facility. Information on this is available at www.ICCLOS.com.

There will be cart service to the exhibit space and exhibitors will be able to hand-carry freight to their booth.

Yes, cold storage will be available through Centerplate, the food and beverage contractor (the same contractor that is at McCormick Place in Chicago).


The Indiana Convention Center is located at 100 South Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46225. www.ICCLOS.com.

There is parking available all around the Indiana Convention Center and in the surrounding area, with pricing currently at $1.50 per hour to $8.50 per hour. All hotels have parking, as well, and you can review their parking fees on each hotel’s respective website.

The exhibit hall is all on one level and is one contiguous space.

Yes, you can have a vehicle in the booth. Contact show management at ExhibitorHelp@sweetsandsnacks.com for more information.


The online hotel booking system will be available shortly through the Sweets & Snacks Exhibitor Dashboard. Hotel rooms with the lowest rates are offered by Sweets & Snacks Expo in the surrounding hotels. Exhibitors that wish to block more than 19 rooms should call 800-950-5526 or email sweetsandsnacks@onpeak.com for assistance.

Yes, all hotels in the Sweets & Snacks Expo hotel room block are within six blocks of the Indiana Convention Center. Several have skybridges connecting them directly to the center.

There is no need for shuttles because all official Sweets & Snacks hotels are within six blocks of the Indiana Convention Center.

Indianapolis has much to offer and many great places to eat and entertain! Go to www.VisitIndy.com for more information.

Sweets & Snacks Expo Exhibitor Guidance

January 1, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, NCA is offering the guidance below to ensure the 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo is held in a safe and responsible manner. This guidance is offered to help exhibitors plan for their participation in the show and ensure the health and safety of their staff and customers.

We continue to pay close attention to the guidance offered by state and federal agencies and to news from the medical community, along with developments impacting the trade show, travel and hospitality industries. As we learn more about what the requirements will be for holding the Sweets & Snacks Expo in June, we will update this guidance.

New items in this guidance document are called out in italics. We have also added our newly revised refund policy for attendees.

Face masks covering the nose and mouth must be worn by all attendees, exhibitors, EACs, workers and contractors while on the show floor and in public areas of the Indiana Convention Center.

We plan to provide masks and personal hand sanitizer for our guests.

Hand sanitizing stations will be clearly marked and located throughout the Indiana Convention Center.

All who wish to enter the show will be subject to temperature checks before entering.

There will be enhanced onsite medical services to ensure the safety of all guests.

The current social distancing guidelines in Indiana require that all persons maintain six feet between themselves and allow for 25% of the listed occupancy. With the expansive size and layout of the exhibit halls at the Indiana Convention Center, a 25% limit will still allow for all interested attendees and exhibitors to participate at the show.

As the parameters for business conferences and trade shows are established, we will update this guidance.

In order to reduce crowding and lines each morning, attendees will be assigned an entry door for entry into the show. Once in the show, attendees may move about freely from one hall to another while observing one-way aisles and social distancing in accordance with the guidelines in effect at that time.

Entrances and exits will be clearly designated as entrance-only or exit-only and monitored by security.

Show floor navigation will be clearly marked on floor plan maps, onsite signage, the show’s mobile app and the Sweets & Snacks Expo Show Planner.

All attendees and exhibitors are encouraged to register in advance using the show’s online registration, which will open during the first week of February.

The Sweets & Snacks Expo is not anticipating having to cancel. However, should government regulations force us to cancel the Sweets & Snacks Expo, the Board of Trustees and staff will be transparent in their decision making and will take into consideration what is best for NCA, the industry and the community.

We will hold educational sessions in larger rooms so we can maintain social distancing and ensure the rooms are thoroughly cleaned between each session.

The attendance capacity of these sessions will be capped in accordance with the social distancing guidelines in effect at the time of the show.

If there is sufficient demand, we may offer the same session multiple times during the show so as many people as possible can attend.

Exhibitors will be permitted to order badges for their booth staff based on the badge allotment chart found in the Exhibitor Resource Center.

In the past non-exhibiting manufacturers have been credentialed so they may evaluate the show in anticipation of exhibiting. For the 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo, non-exhibiting manufacturers will be limited to two per company to promote social distancing and reduce crowd density.

We will limit the number of people in the press room at any given time in order to ensure social distancing and maintain a safe environment.

The Indiana Convention Center has designed food service protocols and menus in accordance with best practices during this time. You can find precise efforts being taken by each venue in the guidance documents linked here.

For the Sweets & Snacks Expo, all attendee samples must be pre-packaged. There will be no cutting or cooking allowed, and all samples must be wrapped for individual consumption.

All exhibitors must complete the sample form found in the Sweets & Snacks Expo Exhibitor Resource Center.

It is recommended all exhibitors have a staff member disinfect products and displays on a frequent basis. You can either have your own staff member perform this or hire the appropriate service providers that may be contracted specifically for this service based on your booth location.

It is suggested that exhibitors also:

  • Designated and control entrance and exit points into their booths;
  • Implement signage to gently remind attendees of physical distancing throughout the booth;
  • Designate area required for social distancing with markers around product or demos;
  • Set meeting rooms with an open ceiling to promote air circulation;
  • Place stools for demonstrations at a safe distance;
  • Consider touchless lead retrieval to eliminate handling business cards;
  • Consider having sanitizer stations within their booths; and
  • Consider bringing fewer furnishings and structures to allow for more space inside the booth, assisting with social distancing.

Indiana Convention Center Health and Safety Protocols can be found here.