Jim Lacey Featured on LeadersCorner

Jim Lacey, a consumer product expert and entrepreneur, was recently featured on the popular blog LeadersCorneras he embarks on his latest journey with the natural sleep aid Berry Sleepy. His most recent venture, Healthy Ventures LLC, is what brings him to Berry Sleepy. He acts as the lead Managing Partner, reshaping products and rebranding products across a variety of industries including snack foods, consumer goods, and now sleep.

This weekend, starting today March 10, 2017, he will be representing the company at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim CA. The expo marks the largest natural product convention in the greater United States. Berry Sleepy is thrilled to have James on the team with his 25 years of experience in consumer goods.

Snack Food Industry Predictions

snack-foods

In Thousand Oaks, James Lacey, a California-based business leader and entrepreneur built a snack food giant. As an expert in the consumer packaged goods industry, Jim has studied industry trends for many years. He has worked closely with several nutritional and snack food companies over his long career, and Jim Lacey knows that prevailing consumer trends can shape the direction of the industry at large.

Industry experts predict that by 2020, the global snack food industry will exceed $630 billion in sales. One of the most interesting trends seen in recent years comes directly from consumer demand. Snack food consumers have been seeking more healthy choices, such as products with added protein, so-called “superfood” ingredients, organically-derived ingredients, and snacks free of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Smart consumer products companies have responded to these consumer demands, resulting in healthier products and increased sales. There has been an explosion in healthy snack food products on store shelves; in just a few short years, hundreds of new products have been brought to market.

Another trend is based on consumer habits. Grazing, or replacing traditional meals with smaller, on-the-go foods, has taken the industry by storm over the past five years. Grazing has given rise to several smaller snack food distribution outfits, some of which have grown exponentially. Disruptive innovation by these smaller companies has shaken up many of the bigger players, who are only now playing catch-up to regain market share in the snack food category. Eating snacks to replace meals has also been influenced by the healthy foods trend; with so many preservative-free and nutritionally-enhanced products on the current market, consumers have more choice than ever.

Regional trends are also important to keep track of. European countries represent the largest snack food market in the world, while Asian-Pacific countries like China, India, Japan, and others are the fastest-growing global snack foods market. Mobile lifestyles, the pressures of long workweeks, and growing affluence are some of the factors that have pushed snack foods to the forefront of consumer purchasing habits worldwide. It is a great time to be part of the industry, with sales records being broken on a seemingly weekly basis. New products, increasing demands, and innovative thinking will continue to shape the future of this constantly-growing consumer packaged goods industry.

Jim Lacey, Crunchies Natural Food Company Co-Founder, Discusses Food Industry Trends

Crunchies Jim Lacey

Lacey speaking at a Natural Food Convention.

Over his lengthy career in the snack foods industry, James Lacey, a Westlake Village entrepreneur and business leader, has seen many trends come and go.  From his experience as the founder and CEO of Crunchies Natural Food Company in Westlake Village, California, Jim knows that consumers are demanding natural products more than ever before.

Prepared foods manufacturers, particularly in the baked goods and snack foods markets, have reacted to the demands of consumers for more natural ingredients.  Industry buzzwords like “locally sourced”, “organic”, and “healthy nutrition” have captivated the snack foods industry over the past five years, and experts are predicting that these product labels will continue to have a greater impact in 2017.

Consumers around the world have been clamoring for natural ingredients, and snack foods producers have begun to explore the addition of these ingredients into existing product lines as well as in launching new products.  This is especially true in the snacks targeted towards consumers engaged in healthy lifestyles.  Nutritional supplements products like protein bars and nutrient-rich foods have enjoyed explosive growth in recent years.  Athletes and people interested in leading healthier, more active lives have shied away from artificial ingredients and colors. As a reaction, snack foods manufacturers have begun to source natural alternatives.

Organic ingredients, in particular, have achieved mainstream market penetration in the snack foods business.  These natural ingredients are free of harmful pesticide and artificial fertilizer residues and add a new dimension of flavor to many products. As a sales and product development expert, Jim Lacey has seen organic ingredients come to the forefront of consumer awareness in recent years. He says that consumer demand has spurred the addition of these ingredients in everything from prepared meals to snacks on-the-go.

The local sourcing movement has also had a tremendous impact on the food preparation industry, even in the snack foods market niche.  No longer are consumers content with ingredients sourced from foreign countries with questionable food hygiene standards; ingredients grown locally to food manufacturing facilities are in high demand. This interest in locally- grown and processed ingredients is a natural offshoot to the “farm to table” trend, and the quality of ingredients has improved across the board. James Lacey says that by raising ingredients locally, transportation costs are slashed, handling and damage of ingredients is reduced, and the nutritional values have increased.

Finally, flavor has taken center stage.  A 2014 study by a food industry trends group indicated that consumers’ palates have become more sophisticated in the past several years.  Ingredient flavors like almonds, berries, and coconut have increased market share in nutritional snack products like energy bars, drink mixes, and snack packages.  Nuts represent a sustainable protein source, while berries and other dried fruits add critical antioxidants to the mix while boosting flavor.   Exotic flavors like spice and herbs have also rejuvenated existing brands, and many new product lines have been introduced that showcase these flavors from around the world.

James Lacey, Crunchies Natural Food Company co-founder and consumer packaged goods industry expert, knows that the snack food industry cannot rest on its laurels.  It must respond to consumer demand and ensure that healthy, sustainable, and flavorful ingredients must be part of food production initiatives.

Food Production Industry Spotlight: The Art of Freeze Drying

James Lacey's favorite berry.

According to recent studies, freeze dried snacks have taken the world by storm and emerged as one of the most popular food items. These nutritious snacks have been produced by a natural freeze-drying process which incorporates premium reagents such as organic fruits and vegetables. By partnering with local farms, producers of these trending commodities are able to create sustainable sources of consumable goods.

What constitutes the entire process of freeze drying?

  • Pre-treatment
  • Freezing
  • Primary Drying
  • Secondary Drying

Where are some additional resources located?

Fortunately, Jim is an expert in state of the art freeze-drying technology. Over the years, he has learned to refine the overall process of this production method. In 2015, he took his talents to the world renowned corporation known as Sunkist.

Sunkist is one of the most revered brands in the entire world. They have been the epicenter of innovation and quality service. It will be a pleasure to collaborate with such a wonderful company.

As mentioned by Jessica Donnel, James was at the helm of a major snack producer for over 9 years. In his new position at Snack It Forward, he will presume a unique role as Chief Officer of Fruits & Snacks. Who can honestly say that have that title? Only the one and only Jim Lacey of Westlake Village, California.

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How can consumers learn more about the snack industry?

First off, almost anyone can follow social media influences within the growing industry. It is the best-kept secret in keeping up with the news in any given market segment. As demonstrated below, learning more about the emerging food industry is now easier than ever. To discover more about recent endeavors, visit here.

Recent Ventures of Westlake Village’s James Lacey

James Lacey, Westlake Village resident, serves as Chief Snack Officer at Snack It Forward. During the previous three months, Jim has implemented a complete overhaul of packaging of Sunkist freeze-dried snacks. He has also been successful in negotiating contract terms with Walmart for nine items within the product line. These snack food items will be shipped in October.

Westlake Village's James Lacey

For more information regarding James, continue to https://about.me/james.lacey.