Women In Snacks to Hold First In-Person Event

SNAC International’s Annual Report Highlights Industry Trends

Women In Snacks to Hold First In-Person Event
Digital Exclusive

Since the Women in Snacks (WinS) forum was created nearly six years ago, participation in the group for female executives in the snack industry has continually increased, leading to the first in-person event planned for next week.

“The snack industry has long recognized the need to identify rising stars and support their success, which has led to industry growth,” writes Christine M. Cochran, president and CEO of SNAC International, in the Official State of the Industry report released in spring 2024. “But we also recognize the need to champion professional development opportunities for female snack industry leaders.”

That thinking led SNAC International to create WinS to “showcase female leaders and build community.” In 2023, there was a 43% increase in female attendance at SNAC International’s Executive Leadership Forum over 2022, Cochran notes. And that was a 110% increase over 2021.

Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The effort has been such a success that the in-person event for the group is scheduled for June 12–13, 2024. The forum starts Wednesday evening with a networking reception and dinner, followed by programming on Thursday, when Cochran is scheduled to give opening remarks.

One of the morning sessions will be led by Claire Shipman, a writer and former television news reporter. Her session is titled Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success, according tothe agenda.

Other panels include one titled Moving Up and Showing Up: How the Snack Industry Supports Female Leaders, which will be moderated by Rachel Pacheco from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business in Washington, D.C. The panelists will include Maura Goll, director of national accounts at Printpack, which is a longtime member of the Flexible Packaging Association.

“Award-winning author and management professor Rachel Pacheco will lead this panel of snack industry executives through a thought-provoking conversation about their own paths to leadership, what challenges women still face at work, and what they are trying to do within their own companies to create an environment where female leaders emerge and ascend to leadership positions,” according to the description in the agenda. “The intention is to focus on specific tactics that women have used in their own careers and how male allies can prioritize the development and promotion of female colleagues.”

Other sessions include Power Your Voice for Meaningful Connection and Critical Conversations for Leadership & Development Workshop.

More about the State of the Industry

SNAC International’s 2024 Official State of the Industry report delves into consumer trends and preferences surrounding snacking and the influences that shape consumers’ decisions and buying tendencies. According to SNAC International, some of the key findings include:

  • Interest in spicy foods grew in the first half of 2023.
  • Consumers are increasing adding sweet and savory snacks as a key ingredient to their no-prep dinners.
  • More than 50% of millennials and Gen Z consider themselves savory snackers.
  • Near 40% of salty snack consumers would purchase healthier versions if they were more available.
  • More than 7 in 10 parents and millennials say they seek snacks to supply energy.

The organization also noted that potato chips led the salty snack category with $8.6 billion in sales. Tortilla chip sales increased by 9.5%.

“Salty snacks have bucked the trends with continued growth driven by tortilla chips,” said Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader of client insights at Circana, a market research company that helped produce the report, in a news release. She adds that tortilla chips are a favorite of younger generations because of innovations with products.

The pretzel category experienced 2.2% growth in unit sales, with an 8.7% increase in dollar sales, the organization also says. “This year’s State of the Industry report takes a detailed look not just into what snacks people are buying, but why they are buying them,” Cochran said.

Thomas A. Barstow is senior editor of FlexPack VOICE®.