Chairman’s Letter

Optimizing Value Through Involvement
Dear SFA Members,
When I was given the gavel as Chairman in Philadelphia this past March, I said in my acceptance remarks that I feel SFA is needed now more than ever. I would like to take this opportunity to expand on why I feel that as strongly as I do.
Our challenges are well known. They are tough issues, the likes of which most of us have not seen in our entire professional careers. At times they seem overwhelming. They include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Our Public Image: This includes the obesity issue, the claims that our products are of minimal value to consumers and are harmful to people. This comes against a background of mistrust of corporations.
- Trans Fatty Acids: There is a lot of uncharted water to cross before this one is done. Confusion abounds among consumers, and there are significant technical issues to be faced.
- Food Safety: Various studies on acrylamide, listeria, fumonisin and other food safety stories need to be reviewed and put into proper scientific perspective before being considered as fact in each instance.
- Snack Taxes: Our industry represents a ripe target for legislators and regulators at all levels of government. The battle for “share of stomach” is always a tough one, and adding taxes on top of the prices on our products could put us at a substantial disadvantage.
- Competitive Marketplace: The power balance between manufacturers and retailers has shifted as grocers consolidate and share of the shopper’s dollar is concentrated among fewer participants. This makes competition keener and margins harder to come by. Additionally, uncertainty in agricultural commodities, fuel, natural gas, electricity, resin, corrugated and other inputs add to our margin pressure.
- Demand for Product Innovation: Consumers and retailers are demanding new and innovative products.
These and other issues require that each of us stay as knowledgeable as we can about the issues we face and the resources available to help us succeed in running our businesses. Your SFA provides the most efficient, the most complete and the most effective way to access this information.
However, if you sit back and wait for SFA to deliver it to you in a publication or on the Web site, you will not begin to get the benefit you can gather from our association. The value is optimized only when you and key members of your company participate actively in SFA functions. The information provided by the staff and the activities they participate in, such as lobbying, are key. But the real nuggets come from access to SFA’s annual membership survey, Snack Food Month national promotions and technical education and advice. Also, the discussions with your fellow industry participants, vendors, speakers and others who attend our functions benefit SFA members.
Don’t waste your membership. Attend SFA functions and bring your key employees along. Join a committee and put your people on them. This association is like most everything else in life. You get out of it what you put into it.
Take advantage of these events: Top Management, October 3-5, in Palm Beach, Fla.; Management Workshop, October 24-26 in Cleveland, Ohio; Snack Food Processing Short Course, March 6-11, 2005, at Texas A&M University; and SNAXPO 2005, March 12-15, 2005, in Hollywood, Fla.
I look forward to seeing you at these meetings.
Nick R. Chilton
Chairman of the Board