Snack food industry executives from across the United States and 38 countries around the world are in Phoenix, AZ this weekend.
They are visiting the Snack Food Association's 2012 SNAXPO exposition and conference
, attending educational sessions focusing on important industry issues and concerns and doing business on a busy exhibit floor at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Yesterday's program kicked off with Part I of a special SFA 75th anniversary video, which outlined the beginning years of the snack food industry, taking viewers into the 1990s. Part II will be presented today.
That was followed by a detailed discussion of the Food Safety Modernization Act, outlining major developments and cautioning snack food manufacturers to act without delay to meet the new law's new requirements. Concurrent educational sessions covered the importance of maximizing overall operational and equipment effectiveness in the manufacturing process, and a discussion about how snack foods fit into today's food environment that is increasingly concerned about health and wellness.
Then, the ribbon was cut for the opening of this year's expo, and attendees streamed into the exhibit hall to begin conversations with suppliers of equipment, technolgy, products and services, before celebrating St. Patrick's Day at a late afternoon reception.
(Click to enlarge)
Opening SNAXPO 2012 expo
"We have been welcomed into the SFA family with wide-open arms," said Joshua Zars, business development manager at DSM Food Specialties, a first time exhibitor and attendee. "The people are coming by to see what we can do to help them. The show has just opened and we've already had such good traffic. And Phoenix is an awesome location."
"For us, it's a great networking opportunity," commented Chuck Shive, EVP marketing at Mike-sell's Snack Food Company. "It's also an opportunity to see new equipment and meet suppliers and learn about things that we might not have thought of that might work for us."
Tom Oris, director of purchasing at Baptista's Bakery, is attending his second SNAXPO, having joined the company just 18 months ago. "What I enjoy about being here is learning and having discussions about equipment from a packaging and ingredients perspective, all in one location. "It's about learning about the industry as well as getting specific pieces I need to run my business."
"I'm here for the contacts," acknowledged Staci Haase, sales representative for Packaging Products, Inc., "to see current customers and new products. I'm always interested in seeing the equipment, too. It's also nice to be able to meet some of the spouses."
Bob Paschke, key account manager for seasonings at Kerry Ingredients & Flavors, said he appreciates the opportunity to connect with customers, prospects and peers. "I look for a very successful SNAXPO," he said.
Jacob Traverse, regional marketing manager at Novozymes, also a first-time attendee, acknowledged that he is "fairly new" to the food industry and that attending SNAXPO already has been a "tremendous learning experience," because he's able to visit with customers, prospects and key suppliers.
"The educational sessions today were very good," Traverse added. "The food safety session and the discussion about food education are topics that are very relevant to us. They were very valuable and something we need to learn about and have a voice in, as well."
Source: Snack Food Association