National Confectioners Association confirms Sweets and Snacks cancellation over coronavirus

After weeks of closely monitoring developments surrounding coronavirus, organisers of this year’s Sweets and Snacks show in Chicago have cancelled the event for 2020. Neill Barston reports

John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association, has confirmed that this year’s US Sweets and Snacks Expo will not be going ahead due to the escalating worldwide coronavirus situation.

in a communication on the issue, he said it ‘had been a difficult decision’ for the board of trustees to make, but stressed that the safety of those participating was of key concern.

Downs added that he believed next year’s event, now scheduled to take place between May 24-27 would prove its best edition yet, with the trade fair representing a host of major brands in what remains the world’s largest single confectionery market.

The team behind the event, which has previously attracted more than 15,000 industry professionals each year, has been closely monitoring the situation surrounding the global health pandemic, acting on state and national advice.

However, with a number of locations around the US operating a policy of severely limiting public gatherings and events as over 50,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported across 50 states, with the figure continuing to rise.

As previously reported by Confectionery Production, organisers of Sweets and Snacks had noted State of Illinois rulings that public events were now to be banned until May 1, but the situation has now worsened across the country. A number of web-based sessions relating to Sweets and Snacks are now being prepared for June, July and August.

This year’s event had been due to feature a new addition to the format in the form of a supplier day, aimed at those developing equipment for the confectionery sector.

Speaking on the decision to cancel this year’s event Lauren O’Toole Boland, director of communications at the National Confectioners Association (NCA), said: “We are extremely disappointed not to be able to offer the experience, inspiration, insights and connections so many in our community have come to rely on in association with the event, but the health and welfare of our community is our top priority. As restrictions and recommendations on mass gatherings continue to build in cities and states across the country, including those issued in the state of Illinois and in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it became clear that cancellation of the show was the only path forward to protect the well-being of our community.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding during these last few weeks as we have evaluated the right decision to make as the coronavirus situation developed. The cancellation is unavoidable due to a combination of factors including state and local stay-at-home orders and travel bans and restrictions from our member companies, retail partners and other attendee organizations. This has been a difficult business decision for our Board of Trustees and the team at the National Confectioners Association, and it is not the outcome any of us wanted. However, we all agree that our immediate focus needs to be on what matters the most to all our exhibitors, retail partners and other attendees.”


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