The first day at Snackex has left us with plenty of food for thought.
The conference sessions were provocative, prompting snack makers to think twice about tough decisions in the battle against private label and what they should really be doing to appeal to the ever-complicated consumer. Show stands glistened with new machinery and were packed out with tasty treats, showcasing some of the latest developments available to snack makers.
Key conference take-aways
David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel, said price followed by flavor is what makes consumers tick, not health and low-sodium/low-fat claims. Jago also said there are core opportunities to be had in glancing away from the on-trend Millenial and towards consumers aged 65 and over.
Sebastiaan Schreijen, analyst at Rabobank, warned industry about the risks in battling private label. Schreijen said a 'dual tracking' strategy where manufacturers operate in private label and branded is extremely risky because of the knowledge retailers can gain on business, but that it can work if executive well.
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. Lahouasnia said snack makers had the advantage of brand loyalty and broad shopping occasions (including food service and convenience stores) in the fight against private label.
Voice of industry
BakeryandSnacks.com also caught up with director general of the European Snack Association (ESA) Sebastian Emig to find out how industry feels about the constant backlash from NGOs, consumer groups and government on nutrition. Emig said communication is key - that industry must sit round a table and openly discuss what action it is taking on sodium reduction, cutting fat and improving health with these stakeholders, something it is actively working on.
The Snack Food Association (SFA) told us that when it comes to sustainable packaging, industry isn't heading up marketing efforts with communication on this. There's plenty being done, but much like sodium-reduction and fat-reduction, this is being done covertly, rather than overtly because it's taste, flavor and fun that's important to the consumer.
Sodium replacement specialist Nu-Tek said it's European business is booming (we got an exclusive… but we'll save that one for later). DSM told us how it is actively participating in the move to reduce acrylamide with its enzyme offerings. Codrico said its non-GMO corn ingredients positioning was proving especially relevant in the current market.
TNA launched a new fully-integrated seasoning line at the trade show today. Its MD Michael Green coined it as 'dead sexy' - with plenty of clean lines and compact, integrated systems.
Keep posted for full cover of all this and much, much more...