SFA President Promotes SNAXPO Participation
Snack Food Association President & CEO Jim McCarthy urged potato chip suppliers and growers to participate in SNAXPO, the association’s annual convention and exposition scheduled for March 19-21 in Las Vegas.
In early March, McCarthy spoke at the 2006 Chip Seminar, which is co-sponsored by the U.S. Potato Board (USPB), National Potato Council and SFA, and held in San Antonio, Texas.
“SNAXPO gives growers and suppliers a tremendous opportunity to meet with their customers and buyers and to stay up to date on key developments in our industry,” McCarthy said.
During his presentation, McCarthy provided an update on industry developments and SFA activities, as well as some of the work the association is doing within the potato chip industry. He also noted that snack sales are steadily increasing, with 2004 figures showing sales of $24.3 billion, up nearly $1 billion from 2003.
McCarthy also noted that savory snack volume continues to increase, and pointed out that total potato chip sales (more than $6.2 billion in 2004) were up 2.7% from 2003. Supermarkets, by far, have the largest share of potato chip sales, with mass merchandisers and convenience stores also holding large market shares.
In addition, McCarthy told attendees that SFA is working hard in Washington, D.C., on several key legislative issues, including National Uniformity legislation (see On the Hill), obesity, trans fatty acids, acrylamide and the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act of 2005, otherwise known as the “Cheeseburger Bill,” which is a measure that was prompted by lawsuits against fast food companies by people who claimed to have gotten fat from eating their food.
McCarthy also explained that snack taxes keep cropping up in several states, including Massachusetts, Maine, Nebraska and Washington, and that numerous states and localities are considering restrictions on what food products can be sold in schools.
“All of these developments mean we must all stay alert and become involved in the political process,” McCarthy said. “When key legislative developments occur, SFA asks its members to call, write and e-mail their members of Congress and ask for their help and support. We have our lobbying effort in Washington, but I can tell you from experience that members of Congress really want to hear from the people back home about how their decisions will affect them.”
McCarthy noted that SFA and USPB are co-sponsoring the Chip Variety Trials, which began in 1985. They are designed to evaluate advanced and promising seedlings in nine production regions. So far, 73 advanced potato seedlings have been evaluated where 25 of these lines have been named, he added.
The 2006-2007 USPB/SFA Regional Chip Variety Trials are being held in Idaho, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida and Maine. In addition, USPB/SFA Potato Breeding Trials are being held in Idaho, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan and New York.
McCarthy also called attention to several potato chip promotions co-sponsored by USPB and SFA. These promotions involve 52 cash prizes in four categories, including two for potato chips.
The winners of the 2005 Halloween Display contest, which attracted some 230 entries, are posted on the SFA Web site, www.sfa.org. Stay posted for the results of the National Snack Food Month “Routing for Dollars” display contest, which was held in February.