Sweets and Snacks That Make Us Smile

Prepare your sweet tooth and brace for a snack attack – the Sweets & Snacks Expo is open for business! As we walk into McCormick Place in Chicago, the halls are decked out with signage of oversized candy bars and larger-than-life gummy candy. It’s a full-on sensory overload and we’re loving every minute of it.

As we enter the expo floor, the show is buzzing with excitement. From chocolate, gummies, and candy to chips, crackers, meat snacks and more, there is so much to try!

Some notable products include the Awesome Ball, a chocolate sphere made by Atlantic Candy Company that has a surprise toy inside. Unlike competitors, their chocolate ball is wrapped in tamper-resistant foil that’s crimped and heat sealed, so it doesn’t have to be sold in a box. It’s truly the only one on the market like it.

French chocolate manufacturer Cemoi showcased a nice tasting of chocolate from around the world, complete with documentation on where the chocolate originated, how to taste each piece, and what flavor notes to look for. It was a very polished presentation, and a great way to engage and educate visitors. Also interesting is their Transparence Cacao program, which ensures the traceability of their cocoa, from the bean to chocolate and from the farmer to the consumer. Their goal is to provide better quality control at every step of production, with the aim of building a sustainable cocoa production system.

But not to forget about the snack category – there were plenty of salty treats to counteract all the sweet. We sampled all the staples and, of course, tested some new innovations – you name it and we tried it. Porta Bela's SHROOMS Mushroom Snacks were only one of two mushroom products we saw at the show, which was surprising. Their mushroom jerky was really good and the flavors were spot on.

Vegan Rob’s had a line of plant-based puffed snacks that were made from brussel sprouts, beets, cauliflower, and even jack fruit and moringa (which, we learned, is a plant that is rich in antioxidants and has many health benefits). They were pretty tasty and very crunchy. Also made by Vegan Rob’s, the Kombuchabar was a very innovative product. It’s kombucha-based and, as a result, a great probiotic. Definitely something to keep an eye out for.

We also wanted to give a shout out to our clients – Just Born Quality Confections, SweetWorks Confections, Goetze’s Candy Company, Ferrara Candy Company, Mars Wrigley Confections, and Promotion in Motion – who showcased some awesome new products and rocked some pretty impressive booths as well. Congrats to Ferrara/Nestle for their win in Non-Chocolate Most Innovative Product for Big Chewy Nerds and Ferrara’s nomination for Sour Brite Sneaks. Great job! This show is always a lot of fun and this year was no exception!