Dear SFA Members,
As I begin my term as chairman of the Snack Food Association (SFA), the industry is facing many new challenges. Fortunately, we also have great opportunities to make changes that will benefit everyone in our industry. There are several key goals I would like to accomplish this year, including:
Increase the value that the SFA brings to its membership,
Expand SFA membership, and
Encourage our members to become more involved in SFA programs and activities.
I would like to start by outlining a recipe for success — for SFA, for our members, and for our industry. As regulations become more complex, our members will understandably need increased assistance in deciphering the details as they apply to government regulations and health-related issues, such as hours of service for drivers, country-of-origin labeling, trans-fat labeling, and the list goes on.
We must strengthen SFA so that it can continue to respond effectively to our members’ evolving needs. This can be done, in part, by enhancing the value SFA offers members by building upon the programs that the association currently offers.
Member education is a major ingredient in SFA’s recipe for success. To assure the value of the association’s seminars and workshops, we need feedback from you, our members, as to what additional topics would be useful. What information do you need to help your organization reach its maximum potential? For example, listening to your input resulted in an expanded Pretzel Seminar to include other baked snacks. Additionally, I believe that rejuvenating our quality-control course at The Ohio State University is another way to provide long-term value to our industry.
Communication is of key importance. I plan to work with the SFA staff during the coming year to increase and improve the information provided to our members. The Internet continues to be a great communication tool, and we need to take the best advantage of this resource. An essential element in our recipe for success is to provide current information to our members on the challenging issues facing our industry, such as nutrition, trans fat and sodium, acrylamide, and potential snack taxes, as well as the possible banning of snack foods in school vending machines.
Another ingredient in the association’s recipe for success is advocacy. We need more members to be involved, and I encourage your participation! SFA has a record of effectiveness in representing the interests of our industry, and we must do whatever we can to support this vital work.
To strengthen SFA’s ability to represent us before government agencies and legislative committees, I would like to put more spice into our political action committee, SnackPac, through increased member participation. SnackPac is a Federal Political Action committee committed to protecting the interests of the snack industry in Congress. I welcome any and all ideas to grow this vital tool needed to support our friends on Capitol Hill. Strengthening government relationships is another vital ingredient in SFA’s recipe for success.
You are invited to participate in SFA’s Day in DC—Spring Summit, May 16-18. This is an outstanding opportunity to get our industry concerns and requests onto our legislators’ agendas. It is not unusual for a legislator to take a position on an issue based on a single request from a constituent.
A new feature of Day in DC is the opportunity to meet experts from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who will discuss the inner workings of the Chamber’s advocacy and activities on behalf of business and industry. This is an opportunity to learn about the resources available to U.S. businesses that complement the work SFA is doing on our behalf in Washington.
To turn for a moment to internal matters, I hope to give SFA’s hard-working staff a new and improved data system to spice up our recipe for organizational success once the association is located in its new location. With this system upgrade, SFA will be able to operate more efficiently while expanding programs and services.
The last ingredient in our recipe for success is member participation. It’s an unusual ingredient because you get back far more than you put in! Your membership in SFA gives you an opportunity to take advantage of all the value the organization offers. You can give back to the association as well with your membership dues, your ideas and your participation.
I believe we can increase membership by 10% this year if each of us invites a prospective member to the SFA events we attend. Bring someone new who is part of our industry and who would gain — as we have — from the many services and resources available through SFA. The more members we have, the stronger we can be, and the more we can learn from each other.
As many of you know, I trace much of the success that Shearer’s has experienced over the last 30 years to the contacts, education and relationships that we have developed through SFA. That’s why my theme is “Recipe for Success.” I know it works! It tastes great — and it’s the best nutrition your company can have. Further, I encourage you to send your employees to our Management Workshop and our Technical Seminars throughout the year. Your company, and the customers you serve, will thank you!
Most of all I would like to encourage your participation on one of the important SFA committees. I would like every SFA member company to have at least one employee serving on an SFA committee. Your industry experience is invaluable in making SFA successful.
I see this year as a turning point for the Snack Food Association, and I pledge to you that I will do all I can to direct that turn toward more value for you.
We have an opportunity to work together to strengthen the association, our companies and ourselves, and I call on you now to join with me in making a commitment to grow the Snack Food Association for the challenges and rewards ahead. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as your chairman during the coming year. I am anxious to hear your innovative ideas — please feel free to give me a call!
Robert J. Shearer
Chairman of the Board
SFA would like to thank the following sponsors who helped make SNAXPO a success:
A.C. Horn & Co./Cantrell International
Baptista’s Bakery, Inc.
BluePrint Automation, Inc.
Casa Herrera, Inc.
Chr. Hanson Inc.
Commercial Creamery Company
CP Flexible Packaging
Curwood, A Bemis Company
Evans Food Group Ltd.
Heat and Control, Inc. & Ishida Co., Ltd.
Michigan Potato Industry Commission
Overwraps Packaging LP
P&G Food Ingredients
Packaging Products Corporation
Presco Food Seasonings
Reading Bakery Systems
Rudolph Foods Company, Inc.
Schawk Cincinnati D
Secor Sales & Marketing
Toray Plastics (America), Inc.
United Soybean Board
U.S. Potato Board