The NCA’s Sweets and Snacks Expo has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. The event was originally scheduled for May 18-21, 2020 in Chicago.
NCA President and CEO John Downs sent out a letter explaining the decision, citing restrictions on mass gatherings that have been in place in Chicago and Illinois, as well as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“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,” Downs said. “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.”
How event refunds will work
The 2021 event is slated to be held May 24-27 in Chicago. However, attendees will not be able to apply their 2020 badge fees to the 2021 event.
The NCA has set up an online information resource that address Frequently Asked Questions about the cancelation for anyone who was planning to attend. The association has also provided a phone number for those looking for more information: (833) 336-3206.
On that page, the NCA says, “SSE will automatically refund all badge fees paid for SSE 2020. This includes badge fees for retail customers and distributors, brokers, suppliers, financial services/investors, non-exhibiting manufacturers, and association/government representatives.”
The NCA plans to process all badge refunds by May 31.
As for exhibitors, the NCA says they are working on a plan to allow exhibitors to roll over booth fees as a credit for the 2021 show or arrange for a refund.
“Additional details will be shared with you in a separate communication in the coming weeks. We appreciate your patience as we work through the logistics,” the NCA website reads.
Downs said the NCA was extremely disappointed that it had to cancel, but that the health and welfare of the confectionery community was its top priority. He also thanked the confectionery community for its patience and understanding during the last few weeks as they evaluated the situation.
“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 of our exhibitors, retail partners and other attendees,” Downs wrote.
He also highlighted upcoming events, including a number of distance learning opportunities already in place for June, July and August.
“And [we] will look for ways to enhance those insights and bring even more value to our attendees and exhibitors,” Downs said. “More information about these opportunities will be available soon.”