Confection Connection: Sweets & Snacks Expo Predictions

Posted June 24, 2021 by Alyssa Stahr

It’s finally here, and boy do I mean finally. After a year and a half of no work travel, Indianapolis is welcoming the Sweet & Snacks Expo in person. Not over Zoom, not virtually, but a bonafide, real, awaken the senses event. 

I’m peering into my crystal ball for this one, because for the first time ever, I can safely say that my expectations of what the new tradeshow normal will be flipping back and forth. On the one hand, I’m predicting a huge turnout of excited attendees and vendors clamoring to taste and showcase, respectively, the creations spawning out of the past year of way too much time on their/our hands. On the other hand, my quarantined mind of solace sees a muted show with a fair amount of attendees, but still those who are cautious about all the unknowns. Here’s what we do know, based on what show organizers (the National Confectioners Association) have released.

  1. It’s the first time this Expo will be held in Indy, a departure from the usual location in Chicago. The NCAA tournament was held there in March, so the city has already had its test run of large-ish events. 
  2. The NCA predicted more than 2,250 retail attendees in May — I’m curious to see if that many will walk the show’s floor. 
  3. Trends expected include smaller pack sizes of fewer than 200 calories; tropical flavors like pineapple and coconut, taking everyone to the beach via the senses; mixing and matching of fruity, tart, sweet and salty combinations; and spices galore like chili, sriracha, jalapeno and habanero. 
  4. Holiday bonanza, otherwise confectionately known (see what I did there) as “destination retail.” As if the big four sales seasons — Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Winter — weren’t big enough in the sweets and snacks world, the NCA sees even further opportunities for “candy moments,” especially with consumers venturing into celebration mode. 

As for me? I can safely say that I am pumped like a 5 year old on Pixie Sticks. I am ready to walk the floor, smize my way through the (hopeful) crowd and taste test some really cool innovative treats that I’ve been reading and dreaming about via computer screen. I want to see it, taste it, smell it and then write about it. And, oh it’s gonna be so sweet. 

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