Lately, when I’m interviewing bakers and snack manufacturers for our cover stories, I often hear the same message running through their dialogues: People today want a small indulgence. They want to snack on something that’s satisfying and a little decadent perhaps, but it should also be healthful. But in these tough economic times, people also don’t want to splurge too much or risk all the work they’ve put into maintaining their healthy diet.

I must have heard this “healthy indulgence” theme the entire year. In fact, for this issue, I headed to Nonni’s Foods LLC, Oak Brook, Terrace, Ill., which makes the popular Nonni’s Biscotti, variety of Italian cookies, which now are available in some 40 stock-keeping units. That may not sound like very much to some bakers and snack companies, but we’re talking biscotti here. It’s a pretty sizable line.

Perhaps that's why Nonni’s won our Best New Products of 2012 voter’s online poll, in which, we reviewed all the new products we published in Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery magazine and on in 2012; then asked our web viewers to select from our 10 favorite picks of snack foods and bakery products. Nonni’s original Biscotti won more than 50% of the vote.

“We saw an interesting evolution last year within the snacking industry, as two historically separate macro trends merged to create a mega trend: Demand for affordable luxuries and sensitivity to healthy food choices,” says Matt Duffy, director of marketing for Nonni’s Foods. “A shift in consumer eating habits has contributed to the growth of the snack market,” he says. American consumers have increased their snacking occasions and now look toward packaged food companies to not only offer convenient products and satisfying ingredients, but healthier options to meet their cravings.”

This was evidenced in my visit to Nonni’s spanking clean, 45,000-sq.-ft. production facility in Ferndale, N.Y., which specializes in affordable luxuries—biscotti. The company promotes clean ingredients, clean labels, no trans-fats, less sodium and sugar and fewer calories—all big demands—and its products also have to taste good. How does Nonni’s achieve such tall orders? Read on to find out about what makes this most organized and interesting baker tick.

And speaking of bakers, this is our big IBIE 2013 (International Baking Industry Exposition) issue, including a separate IBIE Show Planner, which is jam-packed with all of the details you’ll need to make the most of your experience at the show, Oct. 6-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. Leading-edge technology in baking will be on full display in more than 500,000 net sq. ft. of exhibit space, with innovative technological applications for numerous product categories. Take a look at our preview on this cutting-edge show to stay ahead of the curve.

We will also present our B.E.S.T. in Baking supplement, which honors companies “Becoming Environmentally Sustainable Together” or B.E.S.T. Together with Bundy Baking Solutions, we are presenting the companies selected to receive this distinction because they use processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient, as deemed by a panel of industry judges. The B.E.S.T. in Baking program is part of a commitment to the environment and to sustainability that the IBIE, Bundy Baking and Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery have identified as a top priority. The program evaluates and acknowledges companies who have made great sustainability strides through innovative products, services, technologies and programs.

And our Tortilla Trends Special Report features details about this year’s Tortilla Industry Association (TIA) Annual Technical Conference, to be held in Las Vegas in conjunction with the IBIE. This year’s one-and-a-half day conference takes place Oct. 5-6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, ending when IBIE opens its exhibit hall doors at noon on Oct. 6. The conference kicks off with a keynote session by Richard Junge, head of McDonald’s Corp.’s corporate research and development group. Junge’s presentation will lay out McDonald’s view on “The Future of Healthy Wraps.”

As we gear up for this giant baking show, we hope you’ll stop and talk with us and tell us what new products you will be featuring. And don’t forget, each month, we visit another bakery or snack manufacturing facility to cover the latest developments. If your company wishes to be featured in our pages for either a bakery or snack food article, please contact me at Thanks and see you at IBIE 2013!