Snack on This: Our Time at the Sweets & Snacks Expo 2016

Alan Daehnke, Vice President of Culinary & Innovation and I took off and attended this year’s Sweets and Snacks Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago. The hub of all things conventions and this one was a show stopper!!

Right next door the National Restaurant Association (NRA) show was also taking place. So you can imagine that the amount of exhibitors and attendees was in the 10’s of thousands!! Arriving early is always a good thing to do, as well as downloading the exhibit app on your phone.


With so many booths to choose from it’s a great idea to map out where you want to go and get the biggest reward from your time at the show. Our primary reason to go was to see what was trending in the snack world, in addition to checking out the latest packaging.

We were not disappointed!! The array of snacks currently available in the market place is overwhelming but we did see some trends:
Beef Jerky
And a lot of Chips!!

Packaging for items ranged from 1.5oz to 4oz bags and interestingly enough the most striking thing was that most wanted to end up at 100 calories per bag or less. It seems to be the industry magic number which attracts the customer. The innovation side of the exhibition was more geared toward the smaller-sized company and really hit the mark on variety.

expo collage

They say that packaging attracts, quality keeps the guest coming back for more!! This is our mantra as we venture into a new part of our expanding business – pantry services! So many of our prospective clients weigh into the ROI (return of investment) of real estate and how to better utilize each square foot. Real Estate prices are at a premium, so creating a revenue stream out of each foot is key!

This is the white space we are most interested in. The big three continue to gobble up accounts across the tri-state however the differentiator is our unique approach to snacking and pantry services. Without giving away any secrets, we are poised to revolutionize the pantry industry, turn it on its head, and open the market to new levels of innovation!!

Thank you for your hospitality, Chicago. See you next year!! Until then………………
Stay tuned, stay healthy, and stay focused.

Michael O'Brien

Michael O’Brien
VP & Chief Growth Officer
Dartcor Food Services

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