CHICAGO - The "Good Ship Lollipop" has arrived at McCormick Place!
The National Confectioners Association Sweets and Snacks Expo is celebrating 25 years.
The event returns to Chicago after a two-year hiatus.
"It all started in 1997 with around 200 companies and today attendees will be seeing over 700 exhibitors here," said the N.C.A. communications director Lauren Boland.
Whatever flavor those sugar plums are, that dance in your head, chances are you can find them here.
There’s an entire s’more experience in one marshmallow.
Truffles with oat milk and corn chips that are both cool and hot.
"What seems to be coming up is a lot of punch in your face, heat type of flavors," said vendor Megan Miller.
Brand favorites like Chicago’s own Ferrara, Mars Wrigley and Blommer Chocolate are well represented.
Each brand features the latest and greatest in candy and snack innovation, or "new-stalgia" as the candy people call it.
"There's Eggo pop tarts. Your favorite flavors when you were a kid, reimagined. It's so much fun. Fruit loop gummies. It's so delicious, and they taste just like the cereal," said Boland. (By the way, what a great job she has!)
The four-day convention is bringing 16,000 people to Chicago and an estimated $21 million to the city.
The event is not open to the public.
It’s where retailers, like Chicago candy shop owner Marco Rodriguez will decide what to carry on store shelves this year.
"I'm looking for products that have toys in them, that have candy, that are attractive to the younger generation," he said.
One of the oldest candy makers, Bazooka, is now trending on Tik Tok with a new array of treats, innovating beyond its famous pink gum.
"Everything comes with a fun interactive ritual where consumers can really participate in the eating experience," said Bazooka e-commerce and innovation vice president Lizzy Mangold.
The show wraps up Thursday, but has already signed on to come back to Chicago next year.