Snack food manufacturers and exhibitors from virtually every area of the snacking industry convened in Florida, March 29-31, at the 2015 SNAXPO conference. The conference was a great opportunity for snack food manufacturers to explore new and innovative equipment, ingredients, products and services to help them grow their business and keep up with the seismic shift in the snack market.
The State-of-the-Industry address from Jared Koerten, senior analyst at Euromonitor International, showed the growth in savory snacks, which represents the third-fastest growing category in the snack industry. Much of the growth comes from consumer demand for portable food and snacks as meal replacements. In addition, consumers are also interested in better-for-you snacks as meal replacements, and with their ever-changing palates, it’s becoming a challenge for the snack market to push the boundaries of flavors and ingredients.
At SNAXPO, snack food manufacturers were presented a variety of flavors and ingredients to incorporate into their snack food innovations that delivered various benefits to help meet consumer demand. For example, at the Land O’Lakes Ingredients’ booth, it featured the newest addition to its product portfolio, CheddarChromaTM cheese powder. With the consumer demand for cleaner labels and better-for-you snacks on the rise, this vibrant orange cheese powder raised a few eyebrows with its list of benefits—formulated without the use of FD&C colors, no artificial flavors and no added MSG.
On the other side of the trade show floor, McCormick Custom Flavor Solutions (McCormick) featured its unique and innovative flavor technology, FlavorCellTM. This unique technology delivers a superior flavor experience for snack food manufacturers to give to its consumers. Now, I must admit upfront, I’m a big fan of snacks—more savory than sweet. But after sampling McCormick Custom Flavor Solutions’ Raspberry Pomegranate Chocolate Chunk Cookie, which was formulated using the FlavorCell technology, I was ready to ditch the savory snacks and eat more cookies. Don’t worry, I didn’t. But the flavor impact of the raspberry, pomegranate and chocolate made it very tempting.
To help snack food manufacturers meet the demands of the changing palates of consumers, there was also a wide variety of flavors being sampled from companies like Kraft Food Ingredients, Chesapeake Spice and Symrise, who presented a menu of flavors on the side of the Symrise SnackFusion Flavor Truck.
But this wouldn’t be a true 2015 SNAXPO recap without mentioning Fuchs innovative way of marketing its brand beyond its booth with the blimp it flew around the trade show floor. The blimp, with its operator following behind below, buzzed around the trade show floor advertising Fuchs booth number, logo and tagline. While it was definitely a creative way to drive traffic to the booth, it did cause quite an uproar among other exhibitors—perhaps because they didn’t think of it first.
I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s SNAXPO and seeing what new ingredient products will surface and how the snack food industry will evolve to keep up with consumer demands. And, there’s a part of me that will be interested in seeing the newest gadget or airborne marketing communication platform used on the trade show floor. Feel free to leave a comment below on what you enjoyed at this year’s SNAXPO and what you look forward to seeing at next year’s show.