Savory Snack Sales Climb in Europe
By Chris Clark, SFA V.P. of Membership and Administration
New Products Showcased at ISM 2005
Every January manufacturers and buyers of the world’s best-known confectionery and biscuits products gather in Cologne, Germany, at the International Sweets & Biscuits Fair (ISM). This year, I represented SFA at the ISM, held Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2005. The show hosted a record 1,616 suppliers from 70 countries.
There was good news for the European savory snack food industry in 2004. European production volume and sales of savory snack food products (baked goods, cheesy biscuits, sourdough biscuits, peanuts, nut mixtures, potato crisps and sticks, and other specialty items) grew in 2004. According to figures compiled by the Federation of German Confectionery Industry (BDSI), approximately 750 million Euros worth (more than US $1 billion) of snack items were produced in 2004. This represents an increase of 1.7% from 2003, when the production value was approximately 690 million Euros. The production volume experienced even greater growth, with an increase of 2.8%, or approximately 8,000 tons to 285,000 tons.
European snack food manufacturers even report a record when it comes to the exporting of their product, with a 12% increase in 2004 vs. 2003. More than one of every three tons of snack items produced in Germany is sent abroad. The main buying countries were cited as other members of the European Union, in particular France and the Netherlands.
Is a chocolate-covered pretzel a savory snack or a candy? Many Europeans are asking the same question. As consumers increasingly look to new products and new flavors to satisfy their desires and new products are introduced, the line between what’s considered a savory snack/biscuit and what’s considered candy or confectionery is increasingly becoming blurred around the world. The restaurant industry has known for years that pairing savory and sweet flavors make a wonderful and unique experience for consumers. Again this year, a number of new products were introduced at ISM that blur this traditional line.
Many other new products, flavors and line extensions also were introduced at ISM. Kluth, Herbert GmbH & Co. KG introduced a sweetened or salted variety of microwave popcorn under the Reasy brand name, Liven S.A. — an SFA member and manufacturer of potato chips, popcorn and other savory snacks — introduced several new “Tex-Mex” tortilla flavors including Tomato, Spinach and Fine Seasoning. Tostatos y Fritos, S.A. introduced several new flavors to TOSFRIT Gourmet Chips line, including Salted, BBQ Selection, 4 Cheese Selection and Salsa Brava and Jamon Iberico Selection — all fried in sunflower oil.
What are the opportunities for SFA members? As the snack food industry continues to grow, many U.S. manufacturers aren’t passing up the opportunities that this growing, increasingly international market present. Several SFA members, such as Snyder’s of Hanover, Inc., Ubiquity Brands (parent company of Jay’s and Lincoln Snacks), and WILD Flavors exhibited at ISM as part of the American Pavilion, sponsored by the National Confectioners Association.
ISM is the world’s largest convention for the international sweets and biscuits industry, with over 80% of exhibitors coming from outside Germany. Whether you’re looking for the newest European confections, potato crisps (or chips), dried fruit mixes or chocolates — it can all be found at this show.
ISM was originally conceived to be an international gathering for suppliers and bulk buyers of confectionery products and biscuits ready-packed for retail. Buyers from all channels, including wholesale, cash-and-carry operators, department stores, drugstore chains, confectionery specialty outlets, cafes, as well as marketing and distribution specialists attend each year.
For more information about ISM, please contact Christopher Clark at 703-836-4500 ext. 218 or by email at