A wide variety of variables can help snack producers and bakers gain an edge on the competition. While our regular editions of Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery address all of these issues—including prevailing trends related to new products, retail and foodservice sales data, and “big picture” topics like regulatory measures, clean label, better-for-you, and other vital subjects.

Every edition we publish also addresses new ingredients, equipment, packaging, technology and logistics solutions. And in each annual Buyer’s Guide, that’s our focus—providing comprehensive listings of these resources for your ongoing supply-chain needs, as well as information related to valuable industry associations and events.

While larger, industry-wide issues surround aspects like operational efficiency, food safety, meeting the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and others, your supply chain is directly tied to these issues in an everyday way as you source and implement formulation strategies related to every ingredient going into the mix, every machine on the line, and every technological tool you use to monitor, track and fine-tune your operation. These are the details that have an undeniable influence on your business. It’s where the rubber hits the road—and it’s an important way to gain a strong competitive advantage.

According to recent BNP Media Market Research, two-thirds of the Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery audience plays a role in purchasing both ingredients and equipment. This is an influential group, and one that continues to grow and evolve every year.

Our research shows that snack producers and bakers project to increase spending on both ingredients and equipment over the coming year. Just under half of the Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery plans to add a new line over the next year, with one-third also adding more square footage to accommodate this growth. This often presents challenges in terms of fitting the necessary and desired equipment into tight quarters. As a result, equipment manufacturers have responded by offering machines that don’t require a large footprint, maximizing space and operational efficiency.

Several other key areas continue to factor into decision-making related to the purchase of new equipment, including the ability to save money via better use of energy inputs and maximizing resources. Food safety is also top-of-mind, with new equipment sporting the latest in sanitary design. This involves an increased dependence on traceability—a primary stipulation of FSMA—so logistics solutions increasingly factor into purchasing plans.

Ingredient sourcing also poses its share of challenges these days—and not just with organic, non-GMO and gluten-free specializations, although every one of those areas of product development continues to grow. It’s also increasingly important to bring better-for-you products to the marketplace, and ingredient suppliers continue to deliver the goods on that front. Based on our research, the companies within Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery audience, on average, will launch six new products in the coming year. For a quarter of our audience, that number jumps as high as 10. That’s a significant level of innovation in the pipeline. Three-quarters of our audience anticipate that spending on ingredients will increase over the next year.

Use these valued pages as your guide as you plan for your sourcing needs over the coming year. All of this information is also online in our newly refined and polished online Buyer’s Guide at www.snackandbakery.com/buyersguide. The website is integrated into our regular online home and is now mobile-responsive, so it looks the same on any platform you choose to use—from desktop to smartphone and tablet. Since updating the online Buyer’s Guide just a few short months ago, traffic to the site has increased by a healthy 30 percent.

And this is just the beginning. Watch for an exciting announcement soon related to our online Buyer’s Guide tied to newly available resources for contract packaging and manufacturing. Strong business plans love to grow, and a great diversity of snack producers and bakeries are waiting to help you bring more products to market with the resources they have at their disposal.

Best of luck to you and your business pursuits in the coming year!