CHARLOTTE, NC — Amid the bustle of SNAXPO21 held Aug 22-24 in Charlotte, NC, Elizabeth Avery, president and chief executive officer of SNAC International, shared her vision for the association’s new education and collaboration event slated for March 27-29, 2022, in Phoenix.

SNX (pronounced “snacks”) will be focused on making new connections and networking in the industry. It will be held on alternate years from SNAXPO, which centers on an equipment expo and brings in customers who are ready to buy. SNAC has traditionally held a SNAXPO every year, with alternate years that did not include the equipment-centric exhibit hall, but the organization hopes that the new SNX event will differentiate it from SNAXPO, which is next slated for 2023.

“SNX, which we’re calling the education and networking forum, will have three primary components, all in the name of increasing the opportunities for meaningful engagement and dialogue,” Ms. Avery said. “The first component is supplier suites. Suppliers to the industry — in order to participate — will purchase a suite. Seven hours of the conference will be reserved for one-on-one meetings. And the second component will be participation in what we’re calling the Experience Zone.”

The Experience Zone will take attendees through the snack manufacturing process and feature  supplier kiosks representative of the different stages of production beginning with the ingredient zone, then move through processing, flavor, packaging and market zones. This experience will provide more organic opportunities for snack manufacturers to meet with suppliers they may not have connected with before.

“In addition to kiosks there will be engagement opportunities for fun things like the flavor pavilion where people can interact with hands-on activities,” Ms. Avery said. “The third portion of the event is the education arena, where we’ll have great keynote speakers, and we’re also bringing back the Snack Tank competition.”

This is a competition that works like the TV show “Shark Tank” in which entrepreneurs pitch ideas in a contest. Ms. Avery says the entire event should provide great opportunities for entrepreneurs who can learn from the industry veterans.

What else is she hoping comes from SNX?

“Certainly much deeper connections among some current industry partners, and a groundswell of new contacts being made within the industry with a focus on the newer entrants to the category.”