In the world of chocolate, consumers, retailers and suppliers alike will all converge on Chicago’s Navy Pier Nov. 16-18. The National Chocolate Show is hosting a first-of-its kind event that will include both a trade and consumer show concurrently.

Retail confectioners will have the opportunity to showcase their products in front of consumers, as well as see the latest trends from suppliers and get insights from industry leaders.

Some of the educational sessions will cover topics that include allergens, FDA regulations, sustainability for growers, and many more.

Because retailers will have a huge opportunity to interact with consumers, retailers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to hear about consumer data during Sweet Insights: Understanding the Chocolate Consumer, an education session presented by the National Confectioners association. “The NCA has done a lot of incredible research that includes consumer feedback,” says Jeneane Ally, show director. “This session is really going to help retailers get into the minds of their consumers.”

Hosting the consumer and trade shows together gives suppliers and retailers an opportunity to conduct business on multiple platforms. “Exhibitors on the consumer side are conducting business, they’re meeting people, they’re talking, they’re looking at product,” Ally says, noting that trade attendees are already showing interest in attending the consumer side, and vice-versa. “We’re getting all the buyers and sellers in one room together,” Ally says, “and giving them multiple reasons to do business.”

One main purpose of the show is to not only introduce consumers to the world of fine chocolates, but also to help retailers learn more about the trade, including how to incorporate fine chocolate ingredients into their products for the 2012 holiday season and 2013 product development.

For more information on attending or exhibiting,