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    The savoury snacks industry assembled en masse to do business on 12-13 June 2013 as exhibitors, delegates and visitors from over 70 countries around the world met in Gothenburg, Sweden, for the 15th edition of SNACKEX.

    Organised by the European Snacks Association, this year’s edition of the biennial event was bigger than ever. The exhibition occupied a gross area of over 5,000 sq m with 115 exhibitors welcoming around 2,000 attendees. However, increasing numbers did not mean any loss of focus for this tightly targeted gathering. In fact, there was such a good match between potential suppliers and customers with genuine decision-making power that exhibitors reported unprecedented levels of sales during the show itself, as well as high levels of sales leads going forward.

    Exhibition visitors in turn were treated to a comprehensive line-up of prominent suppliers showing highly-relevant, innovative processing and packaging technologies, raw materials and flavourings tailored specifically for the savoury snacks industry. Leading European specialists were there, alongside suppliers from important raw material-producing regions, including a number of exhibitors from the Far East and Latin America.

    A programme of live workshops and demonstrations on the show floor also gave visitors valuable insights into everything from getting the most from complex processes such as extrusion, roasting and frying to making use of social media in their marketing efforts.

    For delegates in search of the latest market insights, the accompanying conference featured speakers from leading analysts Mintel, Euromonitor and AC Nielsen. There was also a focus on the future of peanut sourcing in Europe, while FoodDrinkEurope and WWF (UK) were on hand to discuss sustainability. Presentations were provocative and thought provoking. David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel, said price followed by flavour is what makes consumers tick, not health and low-sodium/low-fat claims. Sebastiaan Schreijen, analyst at Rabobank, warned the industry about the risks in battling private label, claiming there is no ‘magic bullet’. Lamine Lahouasnia, head of packaged food research at Euromonitor, said there is the 'perfect storm' brewing for the private label sector in Europe and brands must work hard to differentiate and set themselves away from retailer competition.

    “SNACKEX provides the sort of focus on our industry that is impossible to generate in more general events,” says Sebastian Emig, director general of the European Snacks Association. “The ability of SNACKEX to match high-quality attendees with highly-relevant exhibitors is unmatched for our industry – everyone who’s anyone was there and we are looking forward to continuing our success in 2015”

    Source: Snackex/European Snacks Association (ESA)