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The National Chocolate & Dessert Show (NCDS) returns to Chicago’s Navy Pier on Sun., Oct. 20 to Tues., Oct., 22 as the nation’s only trade show dedicated to the chocolate and dessert industry.
Exhibitors range from chocolate leaders such as Barry Callebaut and Valrhona to smaller artisan wholesalers such as vegan confections from Desiderio Chocolates and the “Gremlins” from Betty Jane Candies.
There also will be educational conferences led by NCDS sponsors of the National Confectioners Association’s Chocolate Council and the Fine Chocolate Industry Association as well as exhibitors’ top leaders. Topics will include sourcing (Fair Trade vs. organic), consumer trends, business advice, and more.
The event overlaps with the consumer Chicago Fine Chocolate & Dessert Show, which takes place Fri., Oct,. 18 to Sun., Oct. 20. Sunday attendees will have access to the consumer show to gain perspective from small artisan chocolatiers and pastry chefs as well as monitor consumer interests and tastes.
With more than 27 years’ experience organizing events and trade shows, President Mario Pi says there is a need for the show.
“Dessert, in particular chocolate, is a multi-billion dollar industry,” he explains. “But there wasn’t a platform for buyers and operators to get a comprehensive snapshot of the market. Last year’s inaugural show justified the previous 18 months of research that chocolate and dessert requires a focused trade show experience.”
While there are several trade shows where chocolate and dessert can be found, they are typically lost in sea of other products.
“We wanted to make it easy for both foodservice operators and retail buyers to have all the broader elements needed to build a chocolate or dessert program in one place with the focused objectives needed to address the niche industry,” Pi says.
This year’s NCDS also has a strong international presence, including cocoa supplier Cacao San Jose, as well as the Indonesian and Ecuadorian Trade Councils.
Exhibitors will cover every aspect needed to develop marketable chocolate and dessert program such as specialty equipment from Savage Bros. Co., iPad ShopKeep POS systems, as well as access to the portfolio of leading chocolate products from KeHe Distributors.
The Chicago Fine Chocolate show hours:
Chicago Fine Chocolate and Dessert Show (The Consumer Show)
- Fri., Oct. 18: 3 -8 p.m.
- Sat., Oct. 19: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Sun., Oct. 20: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
The National Chocolate and Dessert Show (The Trade Show)
- Sun., Oct. 20: 2-6 p.m.
- Mon., Oct. 21: 2-6 p.m.
- Tues. Oct. 22: 1-5 p.m.