So much of this industry is about creating meaningful connections. Successful products that generate long-lasting repeat purchase patters resonate with their consumers. At first, those products need to stand out on the shelf—to catch the shopper’s attention. And then they need to deliver on expectations. Competition is fierce. These aspects of product development guide so much of how I see the industry.

During my interview with Jeffrey Sanfilippo, CEO of John B. Sanfilippo & Son—the fourth generation of family leadership at the company—for this month’s Snack Producer of the Year cover story, at one point, he said something that really stuck out to me, “We can’t just launch the same items as our competitors.”

Very true. And a deceptively simple statement. But one that says so much about how JBSS continues to approach the market.

The statement was made in connection with the new Fisher Oven Roasted Never Fried line of snack nuts. The products contain two ingredients: nuts and salt. A sublimely clean approach at a time when simplicity has begun to reign supreme.

Jeffrey was crystal clear that there isn’t anything wrong with fry-roasting nuts in oil. It was just that they wanted something different—a new take on an old classic. Something to catch the attention of category managers. And it’s working.

And the products deliver. The first impression I had upon sampling the Fisher Oven Roasted Never Fried peanuts was the fresh peanut taste really came through—much more so than other products I typically buy. It tasted fresher and cleaner. They created a fan. They made a connection.

So what are we doing to create a point of difference in the marketplace? That’s a question we need to continually ask ourselves—and if we don’t, it’s very possible that the competition just down the aisle already has.