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I want to say I’ve seen it all. Maybe that’s true.

I read today that Hostess is now making caffeine infused donuts. What’s wrong with a donut AND a coffee to go along with it? Was there really such a call to combine the two? And then you read that this is only the latest product to add caffeine, joining potato chips, sunflower seeds, maple syrup, beef jerky, chocolate and even Cracker Jack! Really? Cracker Jack?

Based on these statements, you might think I’m against these products. Actually, not at all. They’re just not for me. I must admit that while I do not find the concept very appetizing, I love the fact that I live in a country, and work in an industry, where this is possible.

I’m actually glad that product development professionals in the food and beverage industry are always on the lookout for that next big product. After all, what might seem strange to me as a consumer today might be my go-to snack a year from now.

Of course, if you work in the food industry, none of this comes as a surprise when you consider that on average 20,000 new food and beverage products are launched every year. Some will be hits, some will be successful enough to survive but most will fail, and that’s ok. They’ll be replaced next year with other innovations that will get their shot.

Whether these products are successful or not, I’m fascinated at the brain-power that goes into them (both in terms of creativity and the engineering needed to make a finished product), as well as the ability for these companies to take risks year after year. There truly is no other industry quite as diverse as the food and beverage industry!

Later this month, FPSA will be bringing together much of that brain-power at the FPSA Annual Conference (March 22-24 at the La Cantera Resort in San Antonio), for a long awaited face-to-face gathering of suppliers and food processors. With a great program that focuses on the latest developments in major segments of the industry, as well as technical issues such as Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security, this year’s Conference will not only educate our attendees but also serve as a great networking event for industry leaders.

Registration for the three-day Conference is still open, even if you’re not a member. Feel free to join us and see how your company can take advantage of the assembled expertise and a great spread. Just don’t expect you’ll be eating your caffeine there!

 

Andy Drennan, FPSA SVP