Politics, Business to Highlight Big Show

Three top keynote speakers with insights into the snack food industry as well as the business and political environment will highlight SNAXPO 2008, the 71st annual exhibition and conference of the Snack Food Association, March 1-4, in San Antonio, Texas.
To be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, SNAXPO 2008 will feature a comprehensive program of expert speakers and educational sessions that will cover such topics as new processes, emerging technologies and the state of the snack food industry. The SNAXPO exhibition hall will feature top industry suppliers who take advantage of this opportunity to reach snack manufacturing decision-makers from around the world.
“All of this will take place in a great setting in a fascinating city that’s easy to get to and fun to see,” says SFA president and CEO Jim McCarthy, who urges any SFA member or supplier who has yet to sign up to do so immediately. “It’s the biggest show of the snack food industry,” he adds. “If you want to stay on top of what’s happening, you need to be there.”
The opening keynote address on Sunday, March 2, will be presented by J.C. Watts, chairman of the J.C. Watts Cos. and a former U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma who now is an international business consultant.
In his new career, Watts provides strategic focus and program leadership to the firm’s business partnerships, joint ventures, engagements, alliances and initiatives. Watts has considerable international experience, having led a U.S. delegation to Vienna, Austria, at the request of President Bush and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Conference on Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia. He co-founded the Coalition for AIDS Relief in Africa.
Considering the importance of international and political developments in this election year, Watts’ insights will be particularly timely, McCarthy notes. First elected to Congress in 1994, Watts quickly gained respect in the House of Representatives and the GOP. He chaired the Republican Conference, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the House GOP. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he was quarterback for the Sooners and later played in the Canadian Football League.
Meanwhile, to support the SFA’s governmental program, SNAXPO will include a SnackPAC reception prior to Saturday night’s opening reception. Special arrangements must be made with McCarthy to attend this event. Contact him at 1-703-836-4500, ext. 201 for details.
State of the Industry Report
On Monday, March 3, the annual State of the Industry report will be presented by Information Resources, Inc. (IRI). Sally Lyons Wyatt, IRI senior vice president, will discuss how consumer and market demands are reshaping the industry and review the performance of specific snack food categories.
Last year’s presentation stressed the growth of the healthy category, but cautioned companies not to ignore indulgent snacks as part of their portfolio. Over the past year, many snack food member companies have broadened their product lines to offer healthier snack options.
In her presentation, Wyatt will illustrate how the deluge of healthier product introductions has reconfigured retailers’ store merchandising strategies to include in-store healthy food sections, consumer education and more. She will discuss what companies, products and retailers are succeeding best and what consumers expect from the snacking industry this year.
“The State of the Industry report is a presentation that every snack food company executive needs to attend,” McCarthy says. “I fully expect Ms. Wyatt to once again hit the hot buttons of our industry and provide actionable insight from which executives can benefit as they plan for the future in today’s rapidly changing environment.”
A Word From Sam’s Club
The keynote speaker on Tuesday, March 3, will be Heather Mayo, vice president of merchandising for Sam’s Club, where she is responsible for the Foodservice Entrepreneur and Institutional Buyer Member Segments.
Mayo, who also represents Sam’s as a member of Wal-Mart’s Supplier Diversity Internal Steering Committee, previously served as senior director of fresh operations, where she was responsible for operations of meat, bakery, produce, floral, café and product demonstration departments in all 585 locations nationwide. She joined the company in 2004 after working as executive consultant/associate partner at IBM, where she specialized in retail business strategy and other key business management processes and opportunities.
“Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club have a significant influence on our industry,” McCarthy points out. “I look for a fascinating presentation from Ms. Mayo. She has a wealth of experience in her industry and is a highly successful business person in her own right. We are delighted that she will be on our program.”
Education Program
In addition to the three keynote addresses, SNAXPO 2008 will provide several educational sessions on the exhibit floor so that attendees can learn more about key industry topics and relate them to products and services provided by show exhibitors.
They will cover commodity and energy trends, new technologies in food and nutrition, new product development, and the issue of sustainability and what companies are doing to preserve our environment and natural resources for the future while building a responsible and profitable enterprise today.
SNAXPO 2008 also will offer a special Latin American Track on Saturday, March 1, with the entire program in Spanish, as well as special events to honor international attendees, including an international reception Sunday evening, March 2.
The Latin American program will attract SFA members and suppliers from Spanish-speaking countries around the world, including Mexico and South and Central America.
The Exhibits
SNAXPO 2008 will take place at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio, where the convention floor will be open Sunday, March 2, and Monday, March 3, 11:30 a.m. — 4:30 p.m., and Tuesday, March 4, 9 a.m. — noon. There will be refreshments on the show floor, hourly prize drawings and a grand prize drawing before the floor closes on Tuesday.
The exhibit hall will include companies from across the United States and around the world, ranging from snack products and processors to ingredient and equipment suppliers.
The SNAXPO opening party will be at the Buckhorn Museum & Saloon, housed in the former Lone Star Brewery and featuring one of the world’s largest collections of Texas and western artwork and artifacts featuring the famed Texas Rangers, including a wax museum and one of the world’s longest and oldest bars. The reception will feature Texas food and music.
For additional information or to register at SNAXPO 2008, please visit .
Practical Short Course in Snack Food Processing
In conjunction with Texas A&M University, the Snack Food Association is offering a Practical Short Course in Snack Food Processing, to be held February 24-29, at the university campus at College Station, Texas.
SFA member companies are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn the basics of snack food processing before attending SNAXPO 2008 in San Antonio, only a three-hour drive or quick flight away. The course begins with welcomes and announcements and a reception at the hotel on Sunday evening, February 24. For the next five days, 20 speakers will lead the class through a series of lectures and hands-on processing demonstrations.
Among the many lectures scheduled, the following are just a few of the topics:
• 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
• Seasonings, Salt and Cheese for Snack Foods
• Overview of Popcorn and its Requirements
• Trans Fat Solution for the Snack Food Industry
• High Protein, Whole Grain & Specialty Snacks
• Single-Screw and Twin-Screw Extrusion
• Hands-on processing demonstrations include:
• Nixtamalization and Preparation of Corn Tortilla Chips
• Corn Quality Evaluation Procedures and Equipment
• Evaluation of Snack Food Ingredients
• Whole Grain Product Extrusion
SFA members will receive a 10% discount off the Texas A&M registration fee. Also, the SFA will provide membership rates to SNAXPO 2008 for non-members if they attend both SNAXPO and the Practical Short Course in Snack Foods Processing. To register for SNAXPO 2008 and get more information on the short course, log on to .