Two Iconic Brands to Make Sweets & Snacks Expo Debut in 2017

Two Iconic Brands to Make Sweets & Snacks Expo Debut in 2017

WASHINGTON – McKee Foods, maker of Little Debbie snacks, and Clif Bar will exhibit for the first time at the 2017 Sweets & Snacks Expo. Hosted by the National Confectioners Association, the Sweets & Snacks Expo is the industry’s premier candy- and snack-buying event.

McKee Foods began during the height of the Great Depression when O.D. McKee began selling snack cakes from the back of his car. In 1960, McKee was trying to come up with a catchy name for the company’s new family-pack cartons of snack cakes and arrived at the name of his 4-year-old granddaughter Debbie. In addition to Little Debbie, McKee Foods is also to home to other well-known brands such as Drake’s, Fieldstone Bakery, Heartland Brands and Sunbelt Bakery.

Clif Bar launched in 1992, two years after baker and former mountain guide, Gary Erickson, got the inspiration for the product after a one-day, 175-mile bicycle ride. An instant hit with cyclists and climbers, distribution began at bike shops, outdoor stores and natural food retailers. Soon popularity grew to include outdoor adventurers of all types, and distribution has since expanded to include grocery stores, convenience stores and other retail outlets nationwide.

“We’re thrilled to have these two companies with such rich histories exhibit at the Sweets & Snacks Expo,” commented Larry Wilson, NCA vice president of industry affairs. “We know brands like Little Debbie and Clif Bar have options when it comes to choosing which shows to exhibit at and we’re honored that they recognize the value the Sweets & Snacks Expo will offer their established businesses as they look to gain even greater penetration across all core channels in the marketplace.”

Both brands will make their Sweets & Snacks Expo debut in the show’s West Hall. The 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo set an all-time record in attendance as more than 17,000 industry professionals from more than 90 countries set foot in Chicago’s McCormick place to view the latest trends and innovations in the candy and snack categories. More than 760 companies showcased nearly four acres of product innovation. The 2017 Expo will take place May 23-25 at Chicago’s McCormick Place and is more than 90 percent sold out. Learn more at

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About the National Confectioners Association (NCA):
The National Confectioners Association is the leading trade organization for the U.S. confectionery industry, which generates $42 billion in retail sales each year. NCA advocates for an environment that enables candy makers to thrive and works to ensure that chocolate, candy, gum and mints are celebrated for their contributions to culture, society, the economy and everyday moments of joy. The industry employs nearly 58,000 workers in more than 1,600 manufacturing facilities across all 50 states and supports an additional 635,000 jobs in related fields. The U.S. confectionery industry has made a commitment to increasing transparency, providing more portion guidance options and educating consumers about the role of confectionery in a happy, balanced lifestyle. Learn more at or follow NCA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About the Sweets & Snacks Expo
Sponsored by the National Confectioners Association, the Sweets & Snacks Expo is the confectionery and snack industry’s most successful, world class event. It is unrivaled in new product launches, business building solutions and innovations in merchandising. Nearly 17,000 qualified professionals attend with global presence from 90 countries. More than 750 companies displaying more than 4 acres of candy and snack products participate in the Expo. The event is held each May at Chicago’s McCormick Place.