The following piece was written by NCA President & CEO John Downs and was published on the association’s primary website on June 1. We agree that there’s so much to look forward to in Indy this year when the Sweets & Snacks Expo comes to town!
Five Things I’m Looking Forward to at This Year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo
After we’ve spent two years apart, this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo is going to be a big one for our industry, as thousands of industry experts and thought leaders convene in Indianapolis June 23-25 for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
New products, new insights and new connections typically can be found in every corner of the show, but I expect this year’s show in particular will be full of innovation after so much time away from the show floor.
There’s a lot to cover at this year’s show, so I thought I would share what’s on my “must-see” list this year:
1. The Supplier Showcase
This 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo kicks off with our inaugural Supplier Showcase, an event designed to connect our supplier community with their manufacturer partners on June 22, the day before the show floor opens. Our suppliers are responsible for so much of our industry’s innovation, and I look forward to seeing new business connections unfold live during this event.
2. Sweets & Snacks Expo Awards Ceremony & Keynote
We’re doing our annual awards a little bit differently this year with our Awards Ceremony & Keynote. The Most Innovative New Product Awards, the Candy Dish Awards, the Ruby Award for Supplier Innovation and more will all be presented during an evening of celebration on June 22. Additionally, Libby Taylor, who retired from NCA just last year, will be receiving the first-ever Woman of Influence award for her lifetime of work in the confectionery industry during this event – a well-deserved honor!
3. Destination Retail
This year’s Destination Retail is bigger, bolder and more wide-ranging than ever before thanks to its expanded presence on the show floor and its exclusive series of education sessions focused on retail and promotional insights. I’ll be stopping at Destination Retail’s Candy & Snack 365 display, which offers merchandising tools and insights for keeping candy and snacks top of mind for shoppers year-round.
4. National Candy Month
For the first time, the Sweets & Snacks Expo falls during National Candy Month, a month of celebrating the unique contributions of chocolate and candy that occurs each June. Attendees should keep an eye out for National Candy Month information throughout the show, and I’ve heard from our Destination Retail team that they’re planning an activation “fit for a king and queen!”
5. Innovation Avenue
No trip to the Sweets & Snacks Expo is complete without a stroll through Innovation Avenue, which brings together the newcomers to the candy and snack industries that are launching trend-setting products that will define the category in the years ahead. This is where I find the cutting-edge products that truly have me marveling at the confectionery and snack industries’ ingenuity.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the incredible commitment to safety we’ve seen supported by our staff, the Indiana Convention Center, our attendees and our many show partners. Our top priority continues to be a safe show, and the precautions in place have me confident that a safe show is not only possible but assured.
See you in Indy – I can’t wait!
John Downs is the president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association, a trade group in Washington, D.C., representing the nation’s candy makers.