Stand Up for the Industry

The snack food industry is a solid, growing, responsible industry of which members should be proud, Snack Food Association vice chairman Daryl Thomas, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Herr Foods Inc., told attendees at the 2007 Management Workshop in Gettysburg, Pa., in October.
He pointed out that the industry generates $26 billion in annual sales, has a 4.5% annual growth rate, and pays $1.4 billion in taxes and $65 million to charities.
“It’s the backbone of many local economies and the source of lifelong careers,” he said.
Thomas, who is slated to become chairman of the SFA at SNAXPO 2008 next March, emphasized that snack food products “fit into a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet,” adding that moderation is “the key” to a healthy diet.
While noting that the snack food industry is one opportunity, Thomas pointed out that the world is changing.
“June Cleaver doesn’t live here any more,” he said, referring to the two-earner households that now dominate the American culture. Other demographic influences such as the aging of our population also influence the industry, he added.
“All of this requires that we focus our efforts and respond to make sure that our industry stays relevant in the marketplace,” Thomas said.
He offered this advice:
• Be responsive. “You can keep doing what you’ve always done, but there is no guarantee you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.”
• Be aware and willing to react and change.
• Be creative. “Don’t just think outside the box. We need to stomp the box into little pieces.”
• Stay flexible. “Reconsider how and with whom you are doing business and with what products.”
• Continue to evolve. “We need to try new things as well as staying with what’s working.”
• No substitute for tenacity. “We have to be positive about our industry. Make sure we stand up and our vocal.”
• Be activists. “SFA is the voice of our industry in schools, with government, with the media.
“We have the opportunity, the motivation and the resources,” Thomas said. “Looking toward the future, I predict success.”