Sweets and Snacks Expo wows crowds in Chicago - FOX 32 News Chicago

Sweets and Snacks Expo wows crowds in Chicago

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Sweets and Snacks Expo is at McCormick Place until Thursday. It's a chocolate covered, sugar coated, serial snacker and candy crusher's dream.

"New tastes, new treats and some of the old things too," said Susan Smith of the National Confections Association.

For 18 years in Chicago, the Sweet and Snacks Expo has been bringing together a candy land of miniature stores to McCormick. Six-hundred-and-fifty exhibitors take part to showcase what makes mouths happy.

"Chia seeds and pumpkin seeds and kale…those kinds of flavors that are in all kinds of foods now...are also popular in snacks," said Smith. “Also, the old things like coconut caramel peanut butter...very big this year."

The first thing you notice the moment you walk into McCormick place: This smells sweet.

"We roast the beans. We create ingredients for other chocolate makers to make chocolate. That's one part of our business. The other is we make chocolate and confectionary coatings to supply kind of all the brands that are in this room," said Rick Blommer of Blommer Chocolates.

Brands are even taking on brand new tastes.

"Jimmy bar is a gluten free, dairy free, no chemicals added, natural clean healthy snack bar," said Annetee Delprete of Jimmy Bar.

Another vendor is Niles based Affy Tapple.

"This year we're offering confections. We have pretzel bites. Caramel and mini sandwich cookies in addition to our caramel apple," said Emily Carlson of Affy Tapple.

Skinny Pop is based out of Oak Brook Terrace.

"This year we just launched our ultra-light white cheddar. It's a dairy free cheddar. And also our naturally sweet which is not quite a kettle corn, but still very tasty," said Mark Froke of Skinny Pop.

Vendor Ferrara is based out of Chicago.

"We’ve brought the lemonhead character to life. He’s appearing throughout the city," said Jamie Mattikow of Ferrara.

And the expo's best new innovative product of the year? Call it Jelly Belly genius.

"An actual draft beer flavored jelly bean. People have been asking for it for years and we've finally launched it too much success. And I will point out there is no alcohol in it, but it actually tastes like a freshly poured draft beer," said Robert Swaigen of Jelly Belly.

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