Snackex 2015
Snackex 2017
About Snackex 2017 Exhibitors Visitors Conference Delegates Snackex 2017 European Snacks Association Snackex 2017
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The Event
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Snackex 2015
Snackex 2015

SNACKEX 2017 – Discovering tomorrow's snacking

Snackex 2013


VIENNA was in the grip of a heat wave during Snackex 2017 and that proved to be a good analogy for an event brimming with hot new developments and information about the latest sizzling savoury snack trends. Some 155 trade fair exhibitors were showing novel solutions to help snack manufacturers meet consumer demand for the latest snacking must-haves, while conference delegates left armed with the knowledge to help them understand how snack consumers will develop in the next few years.


Having an event so focused on the savoury snacks sector was a big advantage, according to visitors at the fair and to conference delegates.


“As a visitor it was really good because we could see everyone we wanted to. It’s a tightly focused exhibition so you can see everyone, including manufacturers, equipment suppliers and ingredient suppliers. They’re all here,” said Vera Kasics, production manager for snacks at Bischofszell, which manufactures private label snacks for parent company, Swiss retailer Migros.


“I represent one of the biggest polish spices blending companies. This is the first time I attended SNACKEX. I found really great value in most of [the] conference sessions. It was very interesting to get know most recent trends in the snack industry,” said Pawel Swierkula, managing director of Promar. “SNACKEX is a perfect platform for networking within the snack business.”

 

 

 
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Some of the 48 first-time exhibitors in particular attracted a lot of attention on the show floor. “We’ve had a wonderful show, with about 40 very good leads,” said Mark Carlson, sales engineer for Filsorb, which offers an oil cleaning technology that is already well established in the Americas and was approved for use in Europe at the end of last year.


Similarly, recent ESA member Polar Systems also enjoyed a warm first-time reception. “We had a very busy and successful show, our new patent pending gas kettle [for popcorn] and newest flavour system were well received,” said technical sales specialist Adrian Gamble.

Conference speakers highlighted some more of the reasons that an event focusing on savoury snacks is so successful. Euromonitor senior analyst Pinar Hosafci explained that savoury snacks have been outperforming packaged food globally since 2011 and that’s expected to continue until at least 2021: “Savoury snacks have outperformed meals and staple foods throughout the whole period… on average growing at 3% in contrast to 1% growth in ready meals.”

Mintel’s Marcia Mogelonski noted that part of the reason is that we’re not just using snacks to keep us going until the next meal anymore, as was traditionally the case: “We still snack between meals, but we also are using snacks to stand in for meals or as meal accompaniments. In the UK and France, 10% of snackers eat snacks to replace a meal, as do 13% of Italian snackers. And for 23% of Spaniards, any time of day is good for a snack.”

And it’s not just meals that are falling by the wayside in the face of increasing snacks consumption. Hosafci noted that savoury snacks in particular are increasing their ‘stomach share’ over time compared to other snacks too. The increasing demonisation of sugar is one reason for the shift, along with a general trend in favour of healthier snacking options. This sees her predicting that vegetable, pulse and bread chips will enjoy the fastest growth in savoury snacks going forward.

 
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Healthier snacking was a certainly a theme reflected in many of the innovations on the exhibition floor, but conference delegates heard that ‘better-for-you’ has moved well beyond ‘low-fat’ and ‘low-sugar’ claims to mean a multitude of different things. “21% of snacks launched in the past year in Europe were ‘low/no/reduced allergen’. This was the top claim overall,” said Mogelonski. “20% of new snack product launches were gluten-free and 18% claimed no additives or preservatives.” She also notes that ‘organic’, ‘vegetarian’ and ‘vegan’ badged launches massively outstripped more generic ‘all natural’ claims.


Ciara McCabe, consumer insights manager with Kerry, highlighted the company’s recent research that unearthed three distinct themes that the all-important millennials want their snacks can address – authenticity, health and wellness and adventure. Authenticity is all about simple ingredients and provenance, health could be delivered via attributes such as ‘fuller for longer’ and adventure is about bold flavours and sweet and savoury combinations.


A matter of taste
So it was no surprise that when it comes to flavours, natural and clean label featured strongly among suppliers such as Kerry, Intertaste and Frutarom, among others, as did flavour innovation. For instance, Hügli introduced its range of snack oils, which are designed to combine with base and seasoning flavours to create a 3D sensation, as product developer Fabio Sarasso explained: “You spray oil on the base and then add seasoning to give something very special. You can also use this approach to make opposites [combinations of contrasting flavours], say a strawberry oil and add pepper or chocolate oil and add salt.”

 

 

 
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A firm base
Base materials too were on show in abundance – often with some form of healthier snacking in mind. For instance, Swedish Oat Fiber’s ultrafine-ground oat flours offer a chance to make oat-based extruded snacks featuring beta-glucans, which is one of the exclusive club of cereal fibres to win European approval for healthy heart labelling.


“It’s very unique,” said export sales manager Anders Nilback. “We haven’t seen it in Europe and probably not in the world. Never in snacks like this.”


The European pellet manufacturers were out in force again, focusing in particular on health-associated attributes such as gluten-free or organic and featuring a range of materials such as pulses and ancient grains. There were also pellet manufacturers from further afield, whose offerings in the more traditional materials of potato, corn, rice and wheat primarily aim to target the rapidly growing markets of Africa and the Middle East. Lebanon’s Bach Snacks and India’s Noble Agro Foods and Grainspan Nutrients were all good examples.
Importers and origin countries from around the world were also well represented, such as the Almond Board of California, France’s maize companies Kalizea and Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients and peanuts specialists including Brazil’s Coplana, Argentina’s Aceitera General Deheza and the Argentine Peanut Chamber.


Get kitted up
Snackex is always supported by a wide range of process and packaging equipment suppliers, and this year’s fair was no exception. Time and again, the trends being discussed at the conference were reflected in the new developments on the show floor.


For example, UVA Packaging’s range of specialist bags ensure that premium products pack an on-shelf punch. “The show went very well, with a lot of interest in the speciality bags, which is what we’re focusing on, rather than the typical pillow bags,” said sales manager Michel Levels. “We see a lot of interest from end users in bags with the four corner seal, doy pouch or push pop. You see more and more that high-end suppliers with a premium product are focusing on that kind of packaging.”


Similarly, popped products are on the rise thanks to their healthier image. Both Re Pietro and Incomec Cerex were on hand with their popping machines. When they first appeared, these technologies focused almost exclusively on popping micropellets, but this time Incomec Cerex was highlighting the ability of its equipment to handle raw materials without any pregelatinisation, such as broken white rice and pulses.


“In what we’re showing here the raw materials are more visible,” said production manager Johan van de Vijver. That makes this approach a promising one in developed markets where consumers are seeking simple ingredients and ‘authenticity’.


It’s also good news for manufacturers working on a tight budget in the developing markets, since broken white rice is up to four time cheaper per kilo than pregelatinised pellets. “It brings raw ingredients to another price level,” he adds.


Private label and digital prospects
Other important conference discussions included Kantar Worldpanel’s Fraser McKevitt’s examination of the dynamics driving private label development. While pricing is important for private label, Kantar’s panel research shows that the fastest growth in UK stores is in fact in premium private label (growing a 17%, compared with 7% for value private label). And, while consumers increasingly force retailers to price match on their branded products, private label gives them some real scope to differentiate their stores from the competition.
This also tied in with Sebastiaan Schreijen’s assessment of the impact of digital, online grocery over the coming years. A senior analyst at Rabobank, Schreijen believes the impact of digital will rival that of the arrival of self-service supermarkets or private label. He suggested that snack firms should expect to help online stores differentiate, and prevent unfettered price comparisons from driving down margins, by providing a different range of exclusive products to different retailers.

 

 
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Future shock
Savoury snacks in Europe is a tremendous success story, despite being one of the most highly regulated markets on Earth. However, Dr David Zaruk of the University Saint-Louis Bruxelles, warned that bigger challenges may lie ahead, as a new breed of NGOs and pressure groups look to find new issues on which to campaign and fundraise. He said that the food industry could provide a soft target for groups looking to stir up public fears about ‘big business’.


This fascinating presentation spelled out just how difficult it can be to counter a fear campaign once it’s in full swing, suggesting that it’s ultimately more fruitful to create a positive story around products, rather than trying to engage with fear-mongering campaigns directly. After all, many people are actually willing to inject botulinum toxin straight into their faces because they believe that the benefits outweigh the risks!


Fount of knowledge
As the ‘broad brush’ developments were being discussed in the conference room, those with more immediate, practical processing were well served down in the Show Floor Knowledge Centre, with presentations on a range of technical solutions designed to boost production.


These included the lowdown on snack fryers from Rosenqvists’ Roland Haraldsson, managing snack food waste with Buhler Aeroglide’s Dvijal Patel, corn processing for tortilla chip production with Heat and Control’s Bobby Kane, driving overall equipment effectiveness with Mike Bradley of Mettler Toledo Safeline, popcorn production with C Cretors’ John Concannon and oil filtration with Neil McLeod of Filtercorp. ESA’s own regulatory affairs expert, Andrew Curtis, was on also hand with the latest advice on legislation for process contaminants such as acrylamide.




See you next time
You can find more details about Snackex 2017 in the next issue of the Snacks Magazine.


In the meantime, ESA is pleased to announce that Snackex 2019 will be returning to a city that last hosted our industry in 2011. Here’s looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Barcelona on 27-28 June 2019.

 

For details and stand booking please contact veronica@esasnacks.eu


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Snackex 2015

Reflections of SNACKEX

“We had a very busy and successful show"

Adrian Gamble, technical sales specialist, Polar Systems

 

“SNACKEX is a perfect platform for networking within the snack business.”

Pawel Swierkula, managing director, Promar

“We’ve had a wonderful show, with about 40 very good leads,”

Mark Carlson, sales engineer, Filsorb

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snackex 2015
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