Exhibitor Interviews at the 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo

May 19th, 2016 | hereschicago

The Here’s Chicago Street Team had the pleasure of interviewing a few of the exhibitors attending the 2016 Sweets & Snack Expo taking place in Chicago on May 24 – 26, 2016 at McCormick Place – Chicago, IL.  They shared product updates and their thoughts on Chicago as the “Candy Capitol of the World” as well as what they absolutely love about Chicago!

Kevin Coen, President of The Popcorn Factory & Fannie May Brands

Kevin Coen, President of The Popcorn Factory & Fannie May Brands

Kevin Coen, President of The Popcorn Factory & Fannie May Brands

Please tell us what’s new this year with your company? What are you excited to announce or feature at the 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo?

From the opening of our first store on LaSalle Street in 1920, Fannie May has been proud to call Chicago home. This year, we are launching our Chicago Collection which includes Fannie May’s favorites such as Mint Meltaways and Mini Pixies in new packaging featuring vintage inspired and iconic landmark artwork. The Chicago Collection celebrates Fannie May’s deep roots in Chicago spanning more than nine decades.

Chicago has been called the Candy Capital of the World. What are some of the contributions your company has made to the region? (Ex: local charitable contributions and community support initiatives)

Fannie May has been a leader in Chicago’s confections and retail industries for more 95 years. Our company is involved is a variety of local initiatives that support the city including The Magnificent Association participating in several city event including the annual Lights Festival.

In addition, we are proud to team up with Wrigley Field and the Cubs for the 2016 season. Fans can enjoy Fannie May chocolates during the game and/or visit the Fannie May Bleacher Sweet at Wrigley Field.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Chicago?

My favorite things to do in Chicago is see a Cubs or Blackhawks game. I also enjoy taking the architecture river tour.

James G. (Jerry) Hagedorn, Vice President, Business Development of Barry Callebaut Americas

James G. (Jerry) Hagedorn, Vice President, Business Development of Barry Callebaut Americas

James G. (Jerry) Hagedorn, Vice President, Business Development of Barry Callebaut Americas

Please tell us what’s new this year with your company? What are you excited to announce or feature at the 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo?

As a global chocolatier, great sustainable cocoa and chocolate is at the heart of our business. We live for taste, and through craft, skill and collaboration, we bring all kinds of ingredients together to create inspiring chocolate experiences of tomorrow.

We have many exciting products we will be showcasing at this year’s expo. We will feature strawberry, lemon and caramel flavored minichips. Our colored and flavored compound minichips are ideal for decorating snacks, confections, baked goods, and more!

Barry Callebaut also now has an entire portfolio of nut products now as a result of our acquisition of American Almond last summer. This product line will be another focus point at the show and includes whole nuts, nut pieces, nut flours, butters, pastes, and crunchy nut toppings. We will also highlight our Mona Lisa brand bonbon cups. These cups are a great option for confectioners looking for a quick and easy start to creating delicious bonbons. Our new high protein milk and dark compound coatings will be showcased as well.

Lastly, we will have some of our organic, non-gmo, and sustainable chocolate and cocoa offerings on hand.

Barry Callebaut chefs will be on site at the show, turning our products into inspiring creations! Be sure to stop by the Barry Callebaut booth throughout Sweets and Snacks, as we will be showcasing different products every day. Join us at our studio for an inspiring program of experiences drive by trends, insights and innovations to bring delicious chocolate dreams to life. See you in Skyline Hall, Booth 6707.

Chicago has been called the Candy Capital of the World. What are some of the contributions your company has made to the region?

Barry Callebaut is extremely proud to be a part of Chicago area candy, chocolate, and cocoa industry. Between our headquarters location in downtown Chicago and our manufacturing facility on the south side of the city, we employ 187 colleagues.

We also are proud of our local area charitable contributions and activities that we support in the Chicago community. Barry Callebaut has a long standing partnership with After School Matters® (ASM), a local non-profit organization that provides life-changing after-school and summer program opportunities to more than 15,000 Chicago high school teens each year. Our work with ASM is a true partnership. We not
only provide financial donations to this organization, but we also host field trips for ASM students to our Chocolate Academy, provide chocolate and cocoa education programs to ASM culinary instructors, and use our Chicago area chef network to create connections between ASM and local restaurants for educational programs for the teens.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Chicago?

After 21 years in the suburbs, my wife and I just moved into the City last September 1. It is amazing to have this fantastic City at your front doorstep. We of course love the restaurant scene, including those in our neighborhood – MK, Kiki’s, and Farmhouse, as well as the cultural and entertainment options.

We recently visited the Terracotta Warriors exhibit at The Field Museum and attended The Lyric Opera’s presentation of “The King and I”, both of which I highly recommend seeing.

Craig Leva, President of Arway Confections/Long Grove Confectionery

Craig Leva, President of Arway Confections/Long Grove Confectionery

Craig Leva, President of Arway Confections/Long Grove Confectionery

Please tell us what’s new this year with your company? What are you excited to announce or feature at the 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo?

Arway Confections, Inc. and Long Grove Confectionery both celebrated significant anniversary milestones. Arway just celebrated its 65th year and Long Grove celebrated its 40th year in business. In spite of all of the years in business the company continues to grow and prosper. We are excited to announce that Arway/Long Grove recently purchased another 25,000 square foot facility in Wauconda, Illinois. This property will give the company an added boost to its retail business, as well as increased capacity for cold and ambient storage, and eventually manufacturing. With this addition, it brings the company’s total footprint to over 180,000 square feet of space.

Chicago has been called the Candy Capital of the World. What are some of the contributions your company has made to the region?

Although we are a mid-sized business, over the years the number of people we have employed and the economic impact our company has played in Chicago is quite significant. Although many candy companies have moved away from Chicago over the years, our business has thrived by staying put in the Chicagoland area. We are proud of our company’s rich history, and are excited for the future. Chicago is truly one of the best cities in the world, and we are proud to be a company that is still connected to the candy capital of the world.

From our success we have also supported a number of local charities. Just recently Arway/Long Grove teamed up with the folks at Spark Ventures, a Chicago based 501(c)3 organization that has created self-sustaining agri-businesses in third world countries. Spark recently started a cacao planting initiative in Nicaragua, which is interesting to Arway/Long Grove since it ties the philanthropy of supporting a community in need with the success we have had over the years from selling chocolate products. We are excited to be connected to the great work Spark Ventures is doing. For more information on this initiative: https://sparkventures.org/work-in-nicaragua/

What are some of your favorite things to do in Chicago?

I love what Chicago has to offer. The city is full of some of the best restaurants and night life in the world. For a big city, it is clean, fun, beautiful, and vibrant. Those of us from Chicago also love the sports teams. It was amazing to watch Michael Jordan and all of the years the Bulls were the best team in basketball. Today the Blackhawks are so much fun to watch and being at the games are awesome. And after so many years of sad Cubs teams, they are now the hottest team in baseball. By the way, there is nothing better than playing hooky on a beautiful afternoon and rooting for the Cubbies!

About the 2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo Chicago

May 24 – 26, 2016
McCormick Place – Chicago, IL

2016 Sweets & Snacks Expo Chicago is their largest show ever! More than 16,000+ qualified professionals attend with global participation from 90 countries. 700+ exhibiting companies display more than 4 acres of candy and snacks Innovations awards reveal the top new items that have been taste-tested across eight different categories and learning Opportunities – an exceptional lineup of industry thought leaders offer succinct, focused sessions in two theaters all three days of the show


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