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Sweets & Snacks Expo Upgrades Educational Slate

The National Confectioners Association (NCA) has taken the wraps off an enhanced educational lineup in both the keynote sessions and Sweet Insights Theater at its upcoming 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo, scheduled for May 19-21 in Chicago. Topics addressed will range from the latest trends in online grocery shopping to consumer behavior regarding candy and snack purchases.

Speakers on Tuesday, May 19 include NCA President and CEO John H. Downs Jr., who will deliver a keynote address and IRI EVP Larry Levin, who will offer a presentation on the consumer, shopper and retailer changes having the biggest impact on the candy and snack categories.

On May 20, the Retailer Impact Forum will include Darren Seifer, of The NPD Group, discussing consumer snacking behaviors as part of a balanced diet, and Tina Manikas, president of FCB/RED, advising how retailers can manage efficiencies between millennials and boomers, while a panel of retail executives from Meijer and Schnucks provides real-time feedback.

The May 21 keynoter is Bill O'Reilly, of Fox News, who will offer his take on current events and issues.

"The Sweet Insights Theater and keynote sessions bring great added value to retailers, brokers and manufacturers alike," said Tim Quinn, expo chairman and VP, trade development at Hackettstown, N.J.-based Mars Chocolate North America. "This year's lineup offers a variety of impactful topics, from the evolving and influential role of the in-store dietitian and their impact on in-store shopper decisions, to the latest research on what consumers really think of chocolate and the latest in shopper marketing and digital integration. The theater will provide attendees with a one-stop solution center to help build their confectionery and snack category sales."

Hourly 20-minute learnings labs in the Sweet Insights Theater will occur live on the show floor during the first two days of the show. Among the speakers will be Michelle Cote, VP of research for MyWebGrocer, who will present the latest trends in e-commerce grocery shopping related to the confectionery and snack industry; Joanna Parker, director for Nielsen Perishables Group, who will discuss building market baskets by joining with "Store Hero" categories that connect with candy and snacks; and Cam Cloeter, founder of Impulse Marketing Inc., who will spotlight front end innovations driving sales and profitability.



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