This is the third course to be held by Ignace Debruyne & Associates, Snack Food Consulting and Filtration and Membrane World LLC and will take place from the 13 to 14 October . Topics include consumer trends, using starch ingredients in snacks, flavour coating techniques and low fat potato chips manufacturing technology. "The programme looks at the major snack foods markets, such as potato chips, extruded specialty snacks, baked snacks," said the organisers. "It offers a great opportunity for those who are experienced to meet experts in the field and discuss their current problems to enhance their plant operations." Looking at key trends The range of topics covered in the course includes prevalent areas regarding the snacks industry, concerning both technical issues and consumer trends. Current trends identified by analysts in the snacks market include healthy yet indulgent products and convenient snacks. Earlier this year, Datamonitor's consumer products database identified an increased demand for cereal bars as alternatives to unhealthy snacks. The analysts predicted that energy bars and breakfast replacement bars will grow at an annual rate of 12 per cent. Additionally, the group found that consumption of healthy snacks is expected to rise by 9 per cent by 2011 as government efforts to combat global obesity help more people becoming aware of health and nutrition. Publicised research into the side effects of artificial colours and flavourings and the health risks resulting from consumption of trans fats has also seen companies reformulate to meet consumer demands for healthier snacks. Technical issues The course will provide insight into technical issues, such as using starch ingredients like rice based products to snacks, which will be introduced Drew Mansbridge from chemicals company Kreglinger Europe. Other technical issues the course will cover are the manufacturing of co-extruded snacks and bars and crispy flat bread, optical sorting systems in snack food manufacturing, To apply for the course, visit www.smartshortcourses.com.