Smart, simple, flavor-packed, good value and nutrient-enhanced products led the more than 2,000 new confectionery and snack foods revealed May 24-26 at the 2011 Sweets & Snacks Expo® in Chicago. The expo debuted the hottest new products from more than 550 companies.
“Trends in confectionery and snacks for 2011 reflect the larger patterns seen across the food industry —Americans are more interested in what they are eating, and are looking for new flavors to satisfy increasingly complex palates,” said Larry Graham, president of the National Confectioners Association (NCA), sponsor of the Expo. “Consumers look for value, exciting flavors and nutrition when seeking new sweets and snacks.”
The top consumer snack trends for 2011 include:
- Good Value: Candy and snacks continue to represent an affordable indulgence for consumers in a slow economy, demonstrated by industry sales growth over the past two years. Non-chocolate chewy items saw additional gains in 2010 and chocolate consumption also remained on the rise, while channel growth for the category in discounters, club and drug stores reflects consumers’ focus on value.
- Surprising Flavor Combinations: Candy and snacks with dual layers and multiple flavor profiles in one bite top the trends for 2011, with new combinations including unique blends of fruits and the addition of ingredients like chili and mint.
- Natural and Added Nutrients: Whether simple and all natural or fortified with vitamins and a nutrition boost, “smart” snacks and sweets are here to stay, including chocolate and products with added vitamin C, fiber and other healthful ingredients.
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2011 Expo had largest show floor ever
The 2011 Sweets & Snacks Expo hosted 14,000 industry professionals from more than 70 countries, the NCA reported. With 556 companies exhibiting, the Expo is billed as the largest confectionery, cookie and snack event in the Americas.
“For the second year in a row we posted significant growth in both the show size and number of companies. We delivered more than 170 new exhibitors to the 2011 Expo—that’s a 13 percent increase over 2010,” said NCA president Larry Graham. “Occupying more than 140,000 net square feet, this was our largest show with the most exhibitors in the Expo’s 15-year history.”
More than 5,500 candy and snack retail and wholesale customers were pre-qualified to attend representing major channels in grocery, convenience, mass, drug, club, military, department stores, and specialty stores. Buyers and category managers were the leading titles at the show while another 28 percent of attendee titles represented executive involvement among the nation’s highest volume accounts.
“Our show delivered the top-notch manufacturers and their customers who came to strengthen current relationships as well as forge new business partnerships,” noted Michael Rosenberg, president and CEO of The Promotion In Motion Cos. Inc. and Expo chairman. “We stepped up our offerings in 2011 including the new Innovation Alley which featured 10 candy and snack-related startup companies. Several of them ended the show with orders from some of the country’s top retailers. It’s clear that the 2011 was the one place for retailers and manufacturers to get things done!”