Chairman's Letter

Coping With Tumultuous Change
It’s hard to believe that my year as chairman of the Snack Food Association is about to end when we meet in San Antonio, Texas for SNAXPO 2008 next month. It’s been a hectic and productive year as our industry continues to evolve and our association responds.
It’s because of those dramatic changes across our nation, among our customers and throughout the economy, that I want to encourage all SFA members and suppliers to attend and participate in SNAXPO March 1-4.
As you will read in the SNAXPO article in this issue, a very important presentation will be offered on Monday, March 3, when Information Resources, Inc. provides its annual State of the Industry report. We can expect this report to be packed with solid, actionable information that can help SFA companies as they chart their courses for the future. To say it’s a “must-attend” session is an understatement. You and your companies should not miss out on this important session.
Of course, our country currently is engaged in a nationwide election campaign, both for the presidency and for the United States Congress. At the same time, our economy is in the throes of uncertainty caused by many factors — the housing and credit crisis, skyrocketing energy prices that have affected virtually every other sector and a move toward biofuels that has dramatically impacted the supply and cost of commodities that are critical to many of our own industry’s products.
That’s why we are fortunate to have as our opening keynote speaker former Rep. J.C. Watts, a rising Republican star back when he served in the House of Representatives and now an international business consultant and advisor. We can expect solid insight into the ever-changing political scene, as well as these dynamic economic factors that are so important to all our companies.
We also know that no retailer in the world has the impact of Wal-Mart on our nation’s consumers, the retail industry and suppliers. On Tuesday, March 3, Heather Mayo, vice president of merchandising for Sam’s Club will be our keynote speaker — an outstanding, rare opportunity to gain important insight into her company and its strategic policies.
While our education program will cover several topics, I would like to stress one subject that will be further explored — sustainability. We know there is a trend toward companies finding ways to reduce their impact on our environment and the world around us while still profiting and building for the future.
All of this, of course, combines with our “Big Show,” the two-and-a-half days of exhibits by the world’s top suppliers in our industry, as well as our annual special session in Spanish for our Hispanic members. So, indeed, it’s a show you can’t afford to miss. If you haven’t already made your plans to attend, I encourage you to do so now.
Finally, I want to encourage every member of our association to be involved in SFA activities. Serve on committees. Accept leadership responsibilities. Share information as you can. Participate in SnackPAC, and support our government affairs efforts. The SFA is working hard on behalf of our industry, and we need the help of every company involved.
Most of all, many thanks to the countless hours many SFA members have contributed to make my year as chairman as rewarding and successful as possible.
Tom Dempsey
SFA Chairman
President, Utz Quality Foods