The role of candy in a healthful diet will be more noticeable at the 2014 Sweets & Snacks Expo ranging from education opportunities during a keynote session to tasting panel participation by dieticians. In addition, many of the exhibiting companies are planning new launches with health front-of-mind through portion control packaging and simple ingredient sourcing, among other things.
At the Expo, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor for NBC News, will share her insights on health and wellness, particularly as it relates to balancing healthy lifestyles and enjoyment. All Expo attendees can listen during Wednesday’s keynote session as Snyderman discusses the important elements to a sensible diet that incorporates candy and snacks in moderate amounts.
Snyderman is recognized for developing the Treat Yourself Diet, a sensible and simple lifestyle eating plan that allows consumers to eat the foods they love while also safeguarding their health and weight. She encourages consumers to engage in daily physical activity not only to reap the benefits of exercise, but also to allow for moderate and enjoyable consumption of sweet treats.
"The Sweets & Snacks Expo has always been a celebration of a category that spreads happiness and fun," said NCA Executive Vice President Alison Bodor, in a prepared statement. "Our increased focus on health and wellness highlights candy's role in the diet as a treat and showcases what our manufacturers have done and continue to do to as responsible companies – from incorporating health trends into new products, to providing front-of-package labeling, to making share packs and re-sealable bags. This category will continue to flourish as we strive to make options that suit the needs of all of our consumers."
For the second year in a row, the Expo’s Most Innovative New Product Awards tasting panel will feature a registered supermarket dietician, according to the release. Peggy Balboa, RDN for Mariano’s, will participate with other panel members who include candy and snack buyers from the top retailers in the U.S. and around the globe.
“Including a registered dietician’s opinion on the latest crop of up-and-coming new products will keep the dialogue open between retailers, manufacturers and consumers about how candy and snacks fit into a healthy active lifestyle,” commented Tim Quinn, vice president of trade relations for Mars Chocolate North America and Expo Chairman. “Peggy’s perspective is valued by other panel members, and she is able to hear firsthand some of the obstacles and opportunities that candy and snack category managers face in the store.”
Shopper research conducted in February 2014 also shows most consumers see confections as a treat that should be enjoyed in moderation with ninety-two percent voicing that their health is their personal responsibility.
"Some retailers have been struggling with aligning shopper's wants with outside pressure to reduce offerings in the category," added Bodor. "Candy is often mentioned in conversations about how to reduce obesity in the U.S.; however, recent research suggests candy comprises only 2-to-3 percent of the average adult American’s diet, and the Expo offers an ideal opportunity to communicate this message to the industry."
The Sweets & Snacks Expo will take place May 20 to 22 in Chicago, Ill.