Breathing Life into Snaxpo2021

Posted August 29, 2021 by Alyssa Stahr

If anyone knows me, they know there is one thing I love more than almost anything else: travel. I love tradeshows; I love airports; I even love airline food (how I miss the days of the cute little divided compartments of chicken or pasta offerings). For me, the pride of global entry, knowing packing hacks and the countless number of airport bar conversations I’ve had all signify movement, change and life.

Even though Snaxpo21 may not have been the show where attendees were banging the doors down to get in, there were diamonds in the rough — or salt on the chips if we will? — that I will remember from this, only my second tradeshow back since the pandemic.

Quality time

Since it was not a well-attended show, vendors had a larger opportunity to connect with each other, chatting longer about their products and services and sharing stories about missing travel and seeing humans face-to-face. For some, it had been 18 long months since this occurrence, and there was an undercurrent of joy in being back, even through the uncertainty of trade shows in the future.

The need to connect.

I sat in on Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight at Mintel Market Research’s Education Session: “Flavor Experimentation — A Key Growth Area for Snacks.” One of the first things she said was that snacks provide a need to connect. Some products are openly marketed as not what, but when. Enjoy them during the game, movie night, etc. Yes, vendors at Snaxpo21 were there to problem solve and make sales, but the need to connect and the joy in doing so again was a definite vibe.

The joy of food

Snaxpo is a show predominantly focused on packaging and manufacturing. However, show runners had a way of tugging at our heartstrings through our stomachs. The “human” side of the show definitely shone through with great complimentary lunches, happy hours, an opening NASCAR reception and a sweet and savory Flavor Pavilion taste test. Attendees (yours truly included) voted on their favorite sweet flavor of the year and favorite salty flavor of the year. Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery announced the winners at the #SNAXPO21 Closing Reception: 

Savory Flavor of the Year: Spicy Pho, by Gamay Food Ingredients

Sweet Flavor of the Year: Mocha Latte, by Elite Spice

Next year’s SNX, working in partnership with SNAXPO organizers, is slated for Phoenix in the spring, with a show format in place. Through collaboration kiosks, engagement areas and “snac bites,” 20-minute educational presentations, the format is designed for optimum collaboration outside of the traditional trade show setting. Hopefully the new setting will breathe even more life into the human side of shows just like consumers who try new snacks on the market — pairing the familiar with something that’s a little bit different.

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