CHARLOTTE, NC — In response to the association’s decision to cancel its 2020 SNAXPO conference originally scheduled for March 22-24 in Charlotte, SNAC International pushed its equipment trade show to 2021 and the new SNX Education and Collaboration Forum, originally slated for 2021, to the following year.

The new date for SNAXPO is set for March 28-30, 2021, in Charlotte, and SNX will be moved to March 27-29, 2022, in Phoenix.

“We recognize the gravity of having to cancel SNAXPO,” said Fritz Kohmann, chief financial officer, Shearer’s Foods, and SNAC International immediate past board chairman, in a conference call with SNAC International’s associate members. “We know that SNAXPO is as critical an event to our supplier members as it is to snack producers and SNAC International.”

On March 5, SNAC International announced the show was to be canceled or postponed due to a dramatic drop in attendance relating to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19). While a decision such as this isn’t easy or simple, he said, it was made with the best interest of all members.

“The association is in a position of strength to navigate through it,” Mr. Kohmann said. “Our members’ best interest is our No. 1 priority. We believe in the long run that doing the right things by our members today, in this unprecedented time, will ultimately strengthen our association — and its relationships with all members.”

Although the rapid spread of COVID-19 provided a short window in which to make its decision, SNAC International did not enter into it lightly.

“SNAC spent a lot of time trying to facilitate the best decision, and the executive committee was deeply involved and was forced to move quickly to secure space because there are hundreds of other organizations who found themselves in this same scramble,” said Sean Shanley, vice president of sales, Bryce Corp., and SNAC’s Associate Executive Council immediate past president.

Elizabeth Avery, president and chief executive officer of SNAC International, emphasized the significance of the decision to reschedule the two events, including the complications that come with venue contracts that were finalized several years in advance.

“We weren’t making a decision about this one show,” she said. “We had to make decisions about multiple shows because anything we decided would impact other contracts.”

After considering several options — including canceling SNAXPO and moving forward with the education-focused SNX in 2021 — the association wanted associate members to have the best opportunity to exhibit on SNAXPO’s large trade show floor.

Traditionally, SNAXPO alternated years for its equipment displays, and the previous equipment show was in 2018, and the association sought to avoid putting three years between them.

SNAC also evaluated options to keep the show in Charlotte during 2020, but the few available options created conflicts with other fall shows where members exhibit.

“After considering several iterations, we jumped on the opportunity to reschedule in Charlotte for next year,” Ms. Avery said.

For 2020, SNAC is in the process of refunding registration fees in full as well as giving exhibitors and sponsors the opportunity to roll over their fees to SNAXPO 2021 or to take a full refund. The SNAC staff reached out to exhibitors and attendees individually to manage the process.

“We are so grateful to our Diamond sponsors, whom you will see recognized throughout the year,” she said. 

Ms. Avery noted that this plan was the least disruptive and took best advantage of the planning already in place for both events.

“It was heartbreaking to cancel it,” she said, “but it’s the least of our worries at this time as we focus our concerns on the virus and people’s safety.”