NCA’s Downs Discusses Highlights Of Upcoming Sweets & Snacks Expo


Washington — With the 2023 Sweets & Snacks Expo set to open next Monday, May 22, NCA President & CEO John Downs sat down with editors at NCA SmartBrief to share insights on the event and what attendees can expect as the show closes out a 26-year run in Chicago and makes plans to move to Indianapolis in 2024.

Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

  • This year is an important inflection point for the Sweets & Snacks Expo, as it is the show’s final year in Chicago, Downs said. For more than 25 years, we have worked in collaboration with the city of Chicago to build and host the world’s premier candy and snack show. We expect more than 800 exhibitors this year — about 250 of them are brand new to the Sweets & Snacks Expo. The value that the Sweets & Snacks Expo brings to confectionery and snack companies is incredibly important and it contributes to the success of these two vibrant categories.
  • Specialty Market caters to attendees looking to have a product for every shopper. The range of products expands each year and continues to push the industries forward with new ideas and concepts, Downs explained. Startup Street is how the show engages new and emerging companies, providing them the opportunity to exhibit alongside some of the best-known brands in the world. The candy and snack categories are only as strong as the innovation coming into the market.
  • Having the opportunity to do business in-person has never been more meaningful than it is now in this post-COVID environment. The industry is relationship driven, and it is incredibly important to our attendees to make connections with peers in the industry and thought leaders who are on the cutting edge of new practices. We hear from our attendees how valuable these in person opportunities are for future success, he told SmartBrief.
  • All that is to say, the Sweets & Snacks Expo is the perfect opportunity to connect, share ideas and build relationships. This year, the Industry Buzz Networking Reception will be a great moment for the expo community to come together. It will also serve as our farewell for now to Chicago and a way to thank the city for its support and hospitality for more than 25 years.
  • The expo offers 40 education sessions across three stages. Thought-leading presenters will tackle various relevant topics including ecommerce opportunities, product innovation, sales optimization, category trends and more.