Industry Leaders See Bright Candy Future
Chicago — Optimism was the order of the day during the National Confectioners Association's annual trade show this year, with indications from exhibitors, buyers and organizers all pointing to a banner 2009 ALL CANDY EXPO.
“In today's economy you can stay at home and hope things get better or you can get out there and do everything you can to make things happen,” said Tom Joyce, ALL CANDY EXPO chairman and vice-president, customer and industry affairs, The Hershey Co. “The customers showed up. The exhibitors showed up. The NCA staff made it all happen. We are very fortunate to have the turnout we had at the EXPO.”
Agreeing, NCA Chairman Michael Gilmore, vice-president brand development, chocolate, Ferrara Pan Candy Co., noted that before the show, held May 19 to 21, some expressed concern the economy, among other pressures, might curb participation in Chicago.
But the ALL CANDY EXPO, he said, not only met its 2009 goals, it exceeded them on each point: “Actual, scanned attendance of buyers was up more than six percent, exhibit space met objectives and our new Go To Market program, education sessions, and merchandising and new product showcasing surpassed expectations.
“Our industry, comprised of positive, progressive people, has again proved its resiliency to adversity and continued the progress of industry growth and working toward a promising future,” Gilmore said.
Part of that future is a name change for the show — in 2010, the Sweets & Snacks EXPO will bring thousands to McCormick Place for the biggest confectionery trade show in the U.S. Nearly 14,000 industry professionals are said to have attended this year.
NCA President Larry Graham explained that in part, rechristening the trade show will more aptly qualify all that can be found at the annual event, including chocolate, which in many other countries is not categorized as candy.
“In the past 13 years, the ALL CANDY EXPO has evolved into an experience that involves so much more than just a show,” he says, adding that snack companies were invited to exhibit three years ago to address the majority of confectionery buyers' decision-making needs.
“Now with more than 80 percent of our attendees seeking snack products from hundreds of snack exhibitors,” Graham stated, “it is time our show name more closely reflects our community.”