SFA Keeps Members Abreast of Latest Trends
Dear SFA Members,
My wife, Martha, and I just returned from the Canadian Snack Food Association (CSFA) in beautiful Quebec City. It was a fabulous setting for an excellent meeting hosted by our good friends to the north. Martha, Jim McCarthy and I were treated to excellent educational sessions and social functions while there. I want to thank CSFA Chairman Kent Hawkins and the entire CSFA for their kind hospitality. I came away with the realization that issues in Canada are similar to our own. For example, trends in the industry are very similar.
As you know, consumer trends have a major impact on snack sales. The popularity of low-carb diets, which appear to have reached their peak, is a good example. Also, cocooning or seeking the comfort of home while shutting out the outside world, which was popular in the 1980s, helped snack sales, as consumers increased consumption of comfort foods. Although, as we decided we wanted more social interaction, we turned to “hiving” or seeking connection with others in a safe environment. Home is an integral part of hiving. In a study conducted a few years ago by the marketing research firm Yankelovich, 64% of those surveyed identified themselves as “hivers.”
How will “hiving” and other trends affect the snack food industry? SFA helps its members keep abreast of the latest trends and their impact on snack food sales through a variety of channels including The Snack Report, articles in Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery magazine, and educational seminars. Held from Oct. 24-26, SFA’s Management Workshop included a number of sessions on both consumer and retail trends to help attendees determine future plans for their companies.
An especially popular speaker on how trends impact the snack food industry, Kim Feil, CEO Mosaic InfoForce and Snack and Beverage Innovation Practice Leader for Mosaic InfoForce and Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), spoke at the Management Workshop and will provide an up-to-date report at SNAXPO 2005, March 12-15 in Hollywood, Fla. She will explain how consumer and market demands for new options are literally and figuratively “reshaping” the snacking industry. She also will reveal what companies, products and retailers are succeeding best and explain what consumers expect of the snacking industry in 2005.
Once snack food manufacturers understand the trends, they also need to nurture their brands. Dr. John L.  Stanton, Professor of Food Marketing at Saint Joseph’s University, will discuss how to take care of a brand and insure that it maintains its value and grows over time. Sessions at SNAXPO 2005 also will include how to conduct efficient trade promotions.
On the retail side, Eric Gabrielson, director of worldwide RFID Solutions for IBM’s Pervasive/Wireless e-business group, will discuss the power of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). He will provide an explanation of the technology and explain how to optimize supply chain processes. Additionally, Michael Bergdahl, who has worked at Frito-Lay and at Wal-Mart with Sam Walton, will describe to SNAXPO attendees several effective strategies competitors can use to counteract the inevitable pressure created by “big box” retailers.
SNAXPO’s keynote speaker will be Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the world’s largest business federation, representing three million companies, associations, state and local chambers, and American Chambers of Commerce abroad. Other sessions at the convention will cover transportation and distribution issues, Hispanic marketing, food safety, acrylamide, food allergens, and trans fat.
Make your plans now to attend SNAXPO 2005 and keep up on the latest trends and issues impacting the snack food industry. I’ll see you there.

Nick R. Chilton
Chairman of the Board