Leaders from across the snack food industry will convene at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston March 19-22 to build new business, hear from expert speakers and have a little fun at the 79th Annual SNAXPO Exhibition and Conference.

Sponsored by the Snack Food Association (SFA), SNAXPO is the only trade show dedicated to the international snack-food industry. SNAXPO highlights the three pillars of SFA: advocacy, networking and education.

“SNAXPO is SFA’s premier event,” said SFA President and CEO Tom Dempsey. “As always, it will bring together leaders from across the snack industry to make new contacts and learn from our educational programs.” An estimated 1,500 industry professionals — and 150 exhibitors — from around the world are expected to attend SNAXPO 2016. The show attracts leading manufacturers and suppliers from all areas of the snack-food industry, including companies both large and small. The event also includes the installation of SFA’s officers on March 22.

The trade show, which is the centerpiece of SNAXPO, will open at 11:15 a.m. on March 20. A variety of equipment, ingredients, products and services are available to attendees on the trade show floor, and attendees will discover the latest innovations, products and services demonstrated inside the exhibit hall.

The open, friendly environment helps suppliers meet new contacts face-to-face to explore future business opportunities and makes first-time attendees feel welcome. “SNAXPO is unique from an international perspective,” noted Greg Strauss, senior vice-president, specialty products, AB Mauri North America, St. Louis. “We do a lot of international business, and we have connected with people from Germany, Jamaica, Argentina and Korea, to name a few.”

After the 2015 show in Orlando, FL, Theresa Stigler, Freeline Organic Food, Westport, CT, said, “This was our first SNAXPO, and we liked the fact that attendees are mostly manufacturers rather than retailers. We have made at least 15 quality contacts.” Attendees and exhibitors will also have the opportunity to visit with old friends and make new ones at receptions, dinner events and the annual golf tournament.

On March 20 and 21, a diverse lineup of speakers will share insights that will provide a competitive advantage in a rapidly changing business environment. Former Congressman Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, will share his no-holds-barred political commentary. Pulling from his experience as an influential player in Republican politics, Mr. Scarborough will candidly discuss important issues facing America today.

Attendees will also hear from Jim Donald, who will share his experience as past CEO of Starbucks, Haggen Food and Pharmacy, Extended Stay Hotels and two East Coast supermarket chains. He was named one of the “Top 25 CEOs in the World” by the Best Practice Institute and one of Business Travel News’ “25 Most Influential Business Travel Executives of 2013.”

Mr. Donald will discuss his role as a leader focused on innovation, quality, service, strong relationships within the community and risk-taking with the freedom to fail.

SNAXPO will also feature the stellar educational programming that attendees have come to expect. Euromonitor International, London, will provide a report on “The State of Snacking,” and McCormick & Co., Sparks, MD, will give a “2016 Flavor Forecast.” The NPD Group, Port Washington, NY, will share insights into the evolving snack customer. SFA’s government, regulatory affairs and legal teams will provide food law updates and discuss the actions to watch in Washington, DC, that could impact snack producers. The Latin America program will feature two sessions presented in Spanish.

“There is more take-home value at this SNAXPO than I have seen in 25 years,” Jeff Higgins, president, Savor Seasonings, Batavia, OH, said of last year’s event. “There is so much new information, in fact, that if you are in the snack industry and are not here, you are now behind the curve.”          

For registration and exhibitor information, contact Meegan Smith at msmith@sfa.org or visit www.snaxpo.com.