Food Entrepreneur CHICAGO — Ten emerging snack and candy brands are slated to pitch to a panel of retailers at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, held May 22-25 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The event will include two “5X5” sessions, each featuring five-minute presentations by five startups. Attendees will learn about new innovations and hear feedback and tips from buyers and category managers.

The 5X5 Confectionery participants are:

No Sugar, keto-friendly pecan clusters

Rbel Bee, honey-sweetened gummies

Heavenly Treats, premium toffee

Mooosh, sugar-free cotton candy

Smooch, low-calorie meringue bites

The 5X5 Snack participants are:

Freakin’ Wholesome, peanut butter-filled dates

Cloverdale Foods, meat sticks

Rivalz, savory stuffed snacks

Abby’s Better, peanut-free nut butter bites

Pochis Sweet Designs, coconut cookie

Returning to the Sweets & Snacks Expo is Startup Street, a designated area for companies that have been in business for three years or less. Startup Street exhibitors receive an entry in the Most Innovative New Product Awards, a spot in the Featured Product Showcase, a listing in the directory and a discounted rate on exhibit space. Concepts on display will include chocolate infused with wine, puffed cauliflower snacks, barbecue-smoked potato and corn chips, and globally inspired sour gummy candy.

Among the more than 800 exhibitors expected at the event, nearly 250 are first-timers, according to the National Confectioners Association, which produces the annual event. 

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