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SNAXPO23: That’s a Wrap

More than 160 exhibitors and over 1,300 attendees gathered in Orlando last March 19-21 for 2.5 days of innovation, discovery, insightful discussions, and networking. The show featured state-of-the-art processing equipment, innovative packaging solutions, ingredients, seasonings, and flavors for new products. Read further for a complete roundup and takeaways on the continued momentum of the snack industry.

“Attendees experienced the excitement as the entire community came together for valuable conversations through educational sessions focused on industry and consumer trends and hot industry topics with a wide variety of leaders, experts, and exhibitors,” says Christine Cochran, President and CEO, SNAC International.

This year’s event featured plenty of “new”, with the Startups at SNAXPO program, co-sponsored by Food Entrepreneur, bringing over 25 early-stage companies to the event. The entrepreneurs took part in docent-led tours of the exhibit hall, matchmaking and networking with industry veterans, and also showcased their products in the Startups Hub. 

The all-new Co-Pack Central Pavilion, co-sponsored by Contract Packaging Association, allowed 14 co-manufacturers to showcase their products to brands in need of co-manufacturing. The initiative also provided opportunities to early-stage brands to grow their networks and learn about how to successfully form partnerships with co-manufacturers.

SNAXPO23’s Flavor of the Year awards went to Chesapeake Spice for their “sweet” French Toast flavor, and Elite Spice for their “savory” DC Signature Mambo Sauce. See recap of all flavors and participants here.

Congratulations to Alf and Nadia Taylor, tnasolutions, for being inducted into the prestigious Circle of Honor, for their tremendous contributions to the snack industry and to SNAC International. Read the full release and watch the commemorative video, here.

SNAC International Business Members unanimously approved a new slate of officers to serve on the Executive Committee, as well as a new class of Directors-at-Large to serve on the Association’s Board of Directors. Justin Spannuth of Unique Snacks begins his one-year term as new Board Chairman.  On March 20, 2023, SNAC’s Associate Business Members approved a new Associate Executive Council (AEC) slate of officers, as well as two new AEC Directors-at-Large. Tina Hacker with Land O’Lakes was elected to serve as new AEC President. Thank you to Past Chairman Mike Harper, Rudolph Foods, for his many contributions to the association as Chair for the last year and to past AEC President and Chair of the SNAXPO Planning Committee, Lisa Stern, LifeSpice, for being instrumental in the success of SNAXPO 2023. Read full press release here.

SNAXPO also featured 15 education sessions tackling the industry’s most pressing topics. The programming kicked off with Jenny Zegler, Mintel, sharing trends for the now, next and future of snacking. Learn more about Zegler’s opportunities for the snack category to grow, on Baking Business. Tuesday’s keynote session featured Howard Friedman, CEO, Utz Brands, who shared his perspective on leadership style, Utz’s priorities for the future, and opportunities for innovation – read more here. Finally, Shane Battier, two-time NBA Champion, shared insights on leadership, teamwork and community involvement – watch recorded session here.

General Session Keynote Sessions

Trends for the Now, Next, and Future of Snacking
Jenny Zegler, Director of Mintel Food & Drink and Global Consumer, outlines plenty of opportunities for the snack category to grow over the next 2-5 years and beyond.
A Fireside Chat with Howard Friedman, CEO, Utz Brands
Howard Friedman, the new CEO of Utz Brands, sat down with Christine Cochran, SNAC International CEO, to discuss growth, snacking and transparency.
The Art of the Intangible
Shane Battier, Two-time NBA Champion and Former Vice President, Analytics and Basketball Development, Miami Heat, inspired the audience with insights on leadership, teamwork and community involvement.

Knowledge Zone Education Sessions

LatAm Report: Human Insights and Snacking Trends in Latin America
Coca-Cola insights leader Alejandro Prieto and NielsenIQ analyst Julian Frenk presented insights and findings from research into Latin American consumer behavior as well as the state of the snack category in the region.

Creating a Sustainable Ecosystem: A Collaboration, Not a Competition
A panel discussion featuring Robert Cotton, PepsiCo, and members of the packaging supply chain stress the importance of collaboration when developing award-winning packaging.
Co-Packing, Grow Snacking: Keys to Successful Co-Manufacturing
A panel of co-manufacturers, product development specialists, operations experts, and a startup founder discuss how to find the right manufacturing partner and build the relationship to succeed together.

How PepsiCo Foods North America is Creating a Better Food System through PepsiCo Positive
Rachael Lawrence, Senior Director Sustainability for PepsiCo Foods North America discussed how the company is creating growth and shared value with sustainability and human capital at the center.

In the Weeds: Legal and Technical State of Cannabis for Food
Consumer interest in the functional properties of cannabis-derived food ingredients continues to grow, so cannabis legal and regulatory expert Steven Schain joined us to explore what this could mean for the snack food category.

Regulatory Crunch: Policy Update for Snack Foods
Martin Hahn, SNAC International general counsel, Hogan Lovells partner, and a SNAXPO favorite, led a lively discussion of regulatory and policy issues facing the snack food industry in 2023.

Thanks to all the sponsors for their generous support in making SNAXPO 2023 possible. We hope everyone who took part had a wonderful experience, and we look forward to seeing you all again at SNX24 in Dallas, April 14-16, 2024