CHICAGO — Pickled beet chips and Peeps jelly beans were among thousands of new products unveiled at the Sweets & Snacks Expo May 21-23 in Chicago. The assortment of brands and products on display by more than 800 exhibiting companies ranged from fun to functional, iconic to innovative.

“Sweets and snacks manufacturers have always been at the forefront of defining outstanding consumer experiences, setting trends and delivering a wide variety of options and choices,” said Carly Schildhaus, public affairs manager for the National Confectioners Association (N.C.A.), Washington, which produces the annual event. “That excitement and the vibrancy of the category come to life on the floor of the show each year.”

New product development is critical to driving continued growth of the snack and confectionery categories, according to the N.C.A.

“Hundreds of exhibitors bring thousands of products, which include classic favorites right next to brand new items, many of which have yet to hit the shelves,” said John Downs, president and chief executive officer of N.C.A. “There’s no better place to build partnerships, find and experience innovation, and learn about what’s next in the snack and confectionery categories.”

Click for a slideshow of new products at the Sweets & Snacks Expo.