President’s Letter

Behind the Headlines: Knowledge & Expertise

Certainly, the Snack Food Association’s efforts to represent the interests of the snack food industry at all levels of governments receive a good deal of attention and even headlines from time to time — as do our member education programs, including the SNAXPO convention.
In fact, those activities and services are major reasons why many companies join and actively participate in SFA, as they should.
But behind the headlines, perhaps even less “glamorous,” are extremely important technical services provided by SFA to the industry — services that provide expertise, which enable member companies to cope with an ever-changing and evolving industry and regulatory environment.
An excellent example of that was the SFA’s Total Quality Management (TQM) Short Course for the Snack Food Industry, held Sept. 11-14 at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, where food scientists and plant operators were updated on the latest developments in snack food quality management.
At that course, which took place in the Gould Pilot Plant at OSU, attendees were challenged with solving manufacturing problems they are likely to face at their own companies. It was a solid, practical and effective program with tremendous value for those who participated. Produced in cooperation with Center for Innovative Food Technology and OSU, it was a blend of the SFA’s education programming and technical expertise and is a cornerstone of the SFA’s efforts to educate the industry about quality management.
Over the years, the SFA has been instrumental in helping members with “good manufacturing practices,” formulation and, most recently, nutritional labeling. In fact, here our technical expertise merges with out government affairs activities as we work to provide knowledge and assistance to those who are charged with developing standards and regulations such as those involving nutritional labeling.
In addition, the SFA provides an array of products and tools that help members be more effective and productive in serving their customers. For example, snack food companies around the world use the potato hydrometer, which can be ordered directly from the SFA, to measure specific gravity. The SFA offers technical manuals such as the recently published Edible Oils Manual, developed for manufacturing and operations personnel. Additional manuals will be published in the coming year. We also are continuing important potato research with the U.S. Potato Board and other leading institutions.
All of this is part of the SFA’s ongoing effort to provide the critical technical “know-how” that is required to deliver the products that today’s consumers demand and that will enable members to succeed and help our industry grow.
Please visit the SFA online at, and check out our products and publications. There is a lot there that can be beneficial to our company and your employees.
Jim McCarthy
President & CEO