SNACKEX Addresses Global Issues
By Chris Clark
SFA V.P. of Membership and Administration
As the snack food industry becomes more global, many of the same issues affecting the U.S. snack food industry also affect our counterparts in Europe. Obesity, health and new products were recurrent themes throughout SNACKEX, held June 19-21 in Berlin, Germany.
Rick Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom (based in the United States) kicked off the conference with a presentation on the obesity issue. With the International Peanut Forum now fully integrated into SNACKEX, nuts had a significant share of the exhibition floor space as well as the conference schedule.
More than 1,000 attendees traveled to Berlin to take part in the event, organized by the European Snacks Association (ESA). It is the largest savory snacks and peanut event in Europe, and included 115 exhibitors. SNACKEX was chaired by Mathias Adank, president/CEO of Zweifel Pomy-Chips Ltd. of Switzerland, and an SFA member since 1988.  
Exhibitors from countries as far as Mexico, China and Argentina made their way to Berlin. Many U.S. companies and SFA members were among this year’s first-time exhibitors, including Link Snacks, Inc.; The Procter & Gamble Co.; Heat & Control, Inc.; Casa Herrera, Inc.; and Frito Lay, Inc.
Bob Shearer, president & CEO, Shearer’s Foods, Inc., and SFA chairman, represented the Snack Food Association at SNACKEX 2005. SFA Vice Chairman Richard Rudolph, president & CEO, Rudolph Foods Co., Inc., also attended.  
Since ESA’s inception in the 1960s, SFA and ESA have worked together on a number of issues affecting each of our members and the snack food industry in both the United States and Europe.
SFA Members Win Cash for Halloween Displays
Plan now to increase sales of savory snacks at Halloween by participating in the 2005 Halloween Display Contest. Sponsored by the Snack Food Association (SFA) and the United States Potato Board, this contest gives SFA member company employees the opportunity to win cash prizes for creative in-store displays.
The displays can promote snacks for Halloween parties or encourage consumers to give savory snacks to trick-or-treaters. Categories are: Multipack/Single Serve; Large Bag Potato Chips  —  Large Display; Large Bag Potato Chips  —  Small Display; and All Snacks. Prize amounts within each category will be: First place: $2,000; Second place: $1,000; Third place: $500; and 10 Honorable Mentions at $200 each. There will also be 20 randomly drawn prizes (five in each category) for $100 each.
Halloween has become one of the most celebrated holidays in the U.S. It is especially popular among young adults, with more than 69% of 18- to 34-year-olds saying they were planning to celebrate in a survey conducted prior to Halloween 2004 by the National Retail Federation (NRF). The survey, which polled 7,680 consumers, was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch from Aug. 31-Sept. 8, 2004.
Sales of variety packs during the two-weeks prior to and including Halloween in 2004 increased 6.1% over the same period in the previous year to reach $9.3 million dollars, in food, drug and mass merchandiser stores combined (excluding Wal-Mart), reports ACNeilsen, a VNU company.
SFA Supports Congressional Hot Dog Lunch
Members of Congress, their staff and other dignitaries attended the annual American Meat Institute’s Hot Dog Luncheon July 20. SFA, along with the American Bakers Association (ABA) and several other trade associations, co-sponsored the event. SFA President Jim McCarthy and Dave Dexter, Sr. VP of Government and Public Affairs, attended the luncheon on behalf of SFA. SFA member companies Wyandot, Inc., Shearer’s Foods, Inc., and Utz Quality Foods, Inc. provided snacks for the luncheon. More than 1,000 attendees participated, including members of Congress, their staff and other key leaders from the food industry. Continuing the much-anticipated theme “Baseball and Hot Dogs,” baseball greats Tommy John, Harmon Killebrew, and Luis Tiant autographed baseballs and memorabilia for attendees.
SNACK FOOD PROCESSING                                          
March 12-17, 2006
In an ongoing effort to offer SFA members the most up-to-date educational programs, SFA has teamed up again with Texas A&M University to co-sponsor the 10th Annual Practical Short Course in Snack Foods Processing: Extruded Snacks and Tortilla Chips. Conveniently, the short course will be held the week before SNAXPO 2006, March 19-22, in Las Vegas. It’s a great opportunity for domestic and international SFA members to learn the basics about a wide range of snack food processing topics by University staff and industry representatives.
Snack food processors looking to jump into the fast-growing snack food market can hone their skills at the one-week practical short course on snack food processing being offered on the Texas A&M campus in College Station, Texas, March 12-17, 2005. Topics will include all elements of processing, from operating principles and demonstrations of extruders and support equipment to packaging and quality assurance.
Speakers will lead the class through a series of lectures topics: Establishment of Snack Food Plants; Equipment Demonstrations for Extruded Baked and Fried Snacks; Processes for Electrostatic Seasoning; Nixtamilization of Maize for Snack Food Use; Raw Material Specifications for Expanded Snacks; Flavors: Seasonings, Salt and Cheese for Snack Foods; Popcorn and its Requirements. Hands-on processing demonstrations include: Nixtamalization and Preparation of Corn Tortilla Chips; Corn Quality Evaluation Procedures and Equipment; and, Evaluation of Snack Food Ingredients, including factors effecting corn meal and dry masa quality with sessions on Single Screw and Twin Screw Extrusion, Computer Control to Ensure a Smooth Operation, and Protection of Snack Foods by Packaging Materials.