Pasta association hopes to build off ‘one of more active years’

by Eric Schroeder
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PALM BEACH, FLA. – Almost 150 representatives of the pasta industry were on hand for the kick-off of the National Pasta Association’s annual meeting held April 9 at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach hotel in Palm Beach. The number of participants was near a 10-year high for the association, said Pat Regan, chairman of the N.P.A.

“I think it’s a sign and indication of how vibrant our organization is and we’re continuing to see growth both in membership and involvement and that’s why we’re here,” said Mr. Regan, who also is vice-president, president of Ralcorp Italia, and vice-president of Ralcorp Food Service and International. “We’re here to help advance our industry.”

Mr. Regan described 2012 as “one of the more active years” for the N.P.A. in the past few years. That activity included several accomplishments, highlighted by the development of a strategic plan.

The strategic plan included a reworking of the N.P.A.’s mission statement. The statement now reads, “To increase the consumption of pasta, to promote the development of sound public policy, and to act as a center of knowledge for the industry and the consumer.”

“These mission statements at times can be a little bit flowery,” Mr. Regan said. “But I think this one is perfect. It’s very clear, it’s very to the point and it helps us figure out where the N.P.A. is going to spend its time.”

The N.P.A. also last year set out to achieve several three-year objectives: to promote pasta to consumers, grow N.P.A. membership, and protect the industry’s durum wheat supply.

“We had a session with the board yesterday, talked about our progress on these three goals in the first year, and we feel like from a promotion standpoint and a membership standpoint we’ve done a very good job,” Mr. Regan said. “We’ve got good progress. In terms of industry protecting the supply of durum wheat I think we have more work to do.”

Another accomplishment in 2012 was ensuring the health of a financially sound, vibrant N.P.A., Mr. Regan said. The association currently has 38 members, near a 10-year high, and dues are at a 10-year high, he said.

“Those of you coming to this meeting for a very long time, you know that the N.P.A. has had its ups and downs,” Mr. Regan said. “There were times when the organization was loaded with members and had plenty of cash and more or less could do whatever it needed to. And there were times when we didn’t have that. So making sure that we keep our eye on the organization and its health and the involvement of its members is an important accomplishment.”

Other areas of accomplishment during 2012 included education on the moisture loss petition, review of the Food Safety Modernization Act, defense of the pasta category as it related to fad diets, advocating on behalf of the pasta industry, participation in the Sulfuryl Flouride Ag Coalition and the development of an enhanced pasta promotion plan.
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