The snack food industry is made up of manufacturers and suppliers of snack foods. These snack foods are generally understood to be foods that do not make up a component of a main, necessary meal. In addition to foods, the manufacture of drinks such as soda and energy drinks also fall under the umbrella of the snack food industry.
The snack food industry is a worldwide organization of manufacturers and suppliers. Products created by these companies include everything from potato chips and peanuts to fruit snacks, cookies, cakes, dried meat products, and candy, and vary greatly by country. Snack foods can come in a variety of forms, including frozen foods, dried products, and even liquids.
The industry is a large one, and includes everyone involved in the process of making and distributing these foods. From individuals who develop new types of food to manufacturing plants, distributors, and those who supply the raw ingredients, the snack food industry contains many individuals and a wide variety of occupations. The industry is regulated by a number of government organizations, also depending on which country the businesses are located in.
Many companies in the industry have a number of subsidiaries. One company can have different branches that make candy, cookies, crackers, or soft drinks. Highly competitive, members of the snack food industry rely heavily on marketing and advertising because their products are often more of an impulse purchase than a necessary one.
As the snack food industry involves many different elements, it is typically regulated not only by government organizations that maintain food standards, but also those who monitor trade, labor, and agriculture. Within the industry, there are other organizations that help monitor itself. These organizations typically help in the creation of healthier snacks, as well as promoting awareness about the dangers of consuming too much of an unhealthy thing. The social responsibility of the snack food industry has become an important concern.
The industry typically keeps an eye on how foods are trending in order to determine the most effective way to market its products and self. What the market desires often fluctuates; while cookies and candy can be popular one year, the following year may show more of a trend toward healthier snacks such as granola, yogurt, and dried fruits. Trends also vary among age groups, and the snack food industry can cater to the tastes and snack habits of children and adults.