When It Rains It Pours

Dear SFA Members,

As I write this column, I am looking out the window of our offices on King Street on a very rainy day in our Nation’s Capitol. It has been a wet, cold and dreary month here. I remind myself, however, that spring is just around the corner, regardless of whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow or not.
It also has been raining with contentious public policy issues for our industry of late. For example, the FDA has released a Web site on trans fats to consumers, which unfairly names potato chips as high in trans fats; the Centers for Disease Control has just released a study blaming carbohydrates, and salty snacks in particular, for 30 years of weight gain among Americans; and heightened concern at USDA and FDA regarding mad cow disease and bioterrorism is promising to bring greater oversight over the entire food industry for years to come.

As with the weather, however, sunnier days are just ahead for our industry. On the first day of spring, March 21st, we will be in Philadelphia, Pa. for SNAXPO 2004. We expect a fantastic, full equipment convention, which is highlighted in this edition of SF&WB. We have many exhibitors and attendees coming from all parts of the globe to join us in the “heartland of the snack food industry.” Many important topics will be discussed, including a new generation of trans free cooking oils; the latest trends in better-for-you snack sales; and how to make your operation lean and mean in order to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace.
One month later, April 28 and 29, we will hold our annual Day in DC Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C. where our members will march to Capitol Hill with a slate of public policy positions including support of legislation to outlaw frivolous lawsuits against food companies and sound legislation on nutrition and health in schools. The summit will include a luncheon with a key policy maker and a reception on Capitol Hill with members of Congress. This is our opportunity to set the record straight with our members of Congress and key regulatory leaders in Washington on the policy issues that confront the industry, including diet and health, country-of-origin labeling, transportation, and labor regulations.
Over the past 10 years, SFA has been very successful in making our case in Washington, D.C. on the important issues that affect our industry. These issues always affect the bottom line of your business. So, plan to participate in SFA’s 2004 Day in DC Legislative Summit and help us change the forecast on the contentious issues we face by being heard loud and clear in Washington, D.C.  

James A. McCarthy
President & CEO