The Sweets & Snacks Expo (popularly known as The Candy Show) will be taking place on May 21 to 23 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. The trade show organized by the National Confectioners Association will host over 800 companies offering candy, chocolate, and snacks. I will highlight a few interesting companies that are scheduled to exhibit at the show.
Bear, “the UK’s #1 fruit snack”, aims to appeal to parents and children with its real fruit rolls and colorful packaging. The fruit rolls are made with no added sugar or fruit concentrates and contain 1 cup of fruit in every pack. The Bear yoyos are gently baked, hand cut into shapes, and hand rolled. The fruit rolls are Certified Gluten Free, kosher, and Non -GMO Project Verified. Every pack contains an adventure card for children to collect that offers information on one country including capital city and how to say hello. The company sends customers a free adventure world map and stickers after you send in 10 “bearcodes”.
Blake’s Seed Based
I first met Blake Sorensen (on the left) and Adam Root (on the right) of Blake’s Seed Based at a September 2018 The Hatchery Chicago networking event. The Blake’s Seed Based snack bars are free of The Top 8 allergens (tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, wheat), are certified gluten-free, and use seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flax) to provide taste and nutrition. The pumpkin, sunflower, and flax seeds provide health benefits including natural energy, antioxidants, bone health, cardiovascular health, healthy fats, and fiber. Their new protein bars contain pumpkin and sunflower seeds and pea protein to provide 15 grams of protein.
Chomps is a maker of meat snacks that are Certified Paleo, Certified Gluten Free, Whole30 Approved, Non -GMO Project Verified, Keto Friendly, and Diabetic Friendly. The protein packed meat snacks contain a short list of ingredients – sustainably sourced meat (grass-fed beef, free-range turkey, or free-range venison), fruits, vegetables, celery juice, and spices. The meat snacks contain no added sugar, no gluten, no fillers or binders, no soy, no dairy, no MSG, no nitrates or nitrites added and no artificial preservatives and have 9 grams of protein. Additionally, the snacks contain less salt than other commercially produced jerky sticks.
Lebby Chickpea Snacks
Lebby Chickpea Snacks are aimed at healthy snackers as they are high in protein, high in fiber, gluten free, low in fat, low in sugar, and vegan. The snacks are also non-GMO and kosher. Inspired by a childhood snack purchased from street sellers, the company uses an artisanal Mediterranean recipe dating back over 500 years, and combines it with modern flavors. The production process for the chickpea snacks is a long one: the chickpeas are dry roasted three times, soaked in water, dry roasted again, and then cooled and flavored. The flavors are Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Mocha, and Sesame Honey.
Morinaga America Inc
I really like Morinaga’s HI-CHEW fruity, chewy candy which are made with fruit juice and purees and are gluten-free. HI-CHEW used to be difficult to find outside of Asian food stores and Cost Plus World Market but they are now more widely available in the United States since the company opened its first candymaking facility in the US – in North Carolina in 2015. The Acai flavor (which contains real chia seeds) was launched in May 2018.
Though Morinaga is a Japanese company, the founder was influenced by his time living in the United States. The founder, Taichiro Morinaga, moved from Japan to the US at the age of 23 in 1888. A Good Samaritan gave him a piece of candy, which he had never tasted during his improverished childhood. He learned how to make candy in the US, moved back to Japan in 1899 and started selling candy from a push cart. Success from the push cart leads to the establishment of the Morinaga Western Confectionery Shop in Tokyo the creation of Morinaga & Company in 1918. In 2008, the company establishes Morinaga America, Inc.
Morinaga America Inc. had introduced HI-CHEW Cola & Orange Soda Fizzies offering “Incredibly Real Soda Taste” in 2017. I can’t wait to see what new flavors they introduce at this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo.