The global vegetable oil market continues to grow at a rapid pace thanks to consumer expectations for usage of higher nutritional value ingredients and increased awareness on the benefits of healthy alternatives. The snack industry, in an effort to stay abreast of current trends, has followed the lead. SNaC International, a leading international trade association consisting of representatives of snack producers and suppliers, has had the foresight to provide ongoing training to facilitate information sharing to its members.
I recently attended an Oil Management Workshop at SNaC headquarters in Arlington, VA. The workshop goal was to identify and educate on the best current practices within the industry. Many leaders of the snack world were in attendance. SNaC, which stands for snacking, nutrition and convenience, was founded in 1937 and has over 400 member companies worldwide. This course was the first of its kind combining intellectual powerhouses in the industry who brainstormed and identified content that would be most beneficial to operations personnel, folks in quality assurance, and R&D department staff.
The agenda started out strong with an introduction to the chemistry of healthier alternative oils and fats. It provided a solid review for those already in the know with a better than basic knowledge and an excellent presentation of the breakdown of the composition and properties of oils to others that are new to the industry. The agenda moved quickly along describing the protocol for effective manufacturing processes and proper handling of edible oils. With the occasional necessary break, and intermittent attendee question, the day progressed without a hitch.
After a brief lunch break, new topics were discussed such as an in-depth look lipid oxidation, frying oil chemistry, and oil analysis. No one walked out of there without thoroughly understanding the need for fatty acid composition and peroxide value testing, as well as the importance of managing oxidation.
Prevalent frying equipment information and management was covered, followed by a delivery of innovative industry oil filtration options. The end of the workshop, which ran fluently from 8:30am to 5:00pm, engaged attendees with an informal gathering of the presenters who opened themselves up to a forum discussion of industry trends. A healthy and informative dialogue developed.
At Spack International, we strive to stay abreast and educated in all aspects of the organic vegetable oil industry. It is our goal to provide ongoing training to our staff so that we are experts on the ingredients we produce and supply. Workshops like these, as well as affiliations with trade associations, allow us to maintain relevant resources and provide valuable connections. SNaC International is to be commended for recognizing a need to create and provide resources within the edible oil industry for continuing education, as well as a valuable venue for networking and sharing.