BEMA panel discusses clean labels other challenges

by Josh Sosland
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SOUTHAMPTON, BERMUDA — Managing the need for product consistency against a growing desire for “clean labels” represents one of the largest challenges facing baking companies today, said speakers at the recent annual meeting of BEMA.

The comments were made during the Family Owned Bakeries panel during the 2014 annual meeting held June 19-24 at the Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda.

Participants in the panel included Joe Turano, Turano Baking Co., Berwyn, Ill.; Lenny Amoroso, Amoroso Baking Co., Philadelphia; and Michael Morabito, Morabito Baking Co., Norristown, Pa. The panel was moderated by Damian Morabito, Topos Mondial Corp., Pottstown, Pa. In addition to discussing labeling and formulation challenges, the panel discussed issues unique to family-owned bakeries that have been in business for three or more generations. While agreeing that the baking businesses represented a core part of their families and vice versa, the group also emphasized the value of having family members begin their careers at other companies and even in other fields as a key factor to ultimately successful integration into the family business.

A second panel discussion at the annual meeting, the Sweets, Snacks and Co-Pack panel, was moderated by Tim Cook, Shick USA, Kansas City, and featured questions from BEMA members submitted via email.  Dave Watson, Pepperidge Farm, Inc., Norwalk, Conn.; Tom Howe, Baptista’s Bakery, Franklin, Wis.; and John Macy, John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks, Elmwood Park, N.J., served on the panel. Topics discussed by the panel included the central importance of innovation and the value of equipment manufacturers in making this aspect of their business a success.

Other presenters at the BEMA annual meeting included Jeff Dearduff of Aryzta N.A., Northlake, Ill., who offered an overview of the complex of certifications and audits currently faced by baking companies. The presentation was part of BIF, the Baking Industry Forum. BIF has created a guide to these certifications that may be found at www.bema.org/bif.

A theoretical “ideal baking project” was presented in a project lifecycle discussion that included Jeff Teasdale, Pepperidge Farm, Inc., Norwalk; Pat Wilkens, Schwebel Baking Co., Youngstown, Ohio; Mike Fronczak, Dawn Food Products, Jackson, Mich.; and Mike Day, Banner-Day, Saginaw, Mich.

Presenters emphasized the need for clear, honest communication at each point in the project lifecycle as well as the value of keeping key people in place from start to finish on a project.

BIF also included a follow-up to a 2012 presentation on safety, offering a safety checklist that has been finalized and may be found at www.bema.org/bif.

BEMA said wholesale baking companies accounted for 20% of the attendance at the 2014 annual meeting, a figure the group said has risen steadily in recent years.
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