HOT SPRINGS, VA. — BEMA’s 79th Annual Meeting, being held June 22-25, 2016, at the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, is one of its largest ever with more than 40% more member companies attending over recent years, and 30 representatives from snack producers and baking companies, an increase from 19 in 2015. In addition, BEMA will welcome 33 first-time attendees to the meeting, a 50% increase from recent years.
The snack producers and baking companies in attendance include both established companies and up-and-comers allowing members to network with a variety of producers from across the industry. The bakers are from around the globe, including Jonathan Warburton, chairman of Warburtons, Bolton, U.K., and Jesper Albertsen, corporate project manager, Lantmannen-Unibake, Copenhagen, Denmark. Companies from Latin America such as Carozzi, Santiago, Chile, and Productos Ramo, Bogotá, Colombia, are also represented alongside Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga.; General Mills, Minneapolis; and many others from the United States.
Kerwin Brown, president and chief executive officer of BEMA, attributed the meeting’s growth to several factors, including hosting more bakers and establishing quality networking events like BEMA-Connect (one-on-one meetings between bakers and vendors).
|Kerwin Brown, president and c.e.o. of BEMA|
“Our culture makes the difference,” Mr. Brown said. “We have developed an event that creates connections and fulfills the needs of members and bakers. The industry values this.”
In addition to business networking events like BEMA Connect and small group dinners, members benefit from the insight provided in five baker/snack producer panel presentations.
An interactive panel on niche baking in the Northeast asks for questions via mobile app from the audience. The panel includes John Mulloy, 151 Foods, Bellmawr, N.J.; Ralph Pallotta, Tate’s Bake Shop, Southampton, N.Y.; and Greg Toufayan, Toufayan Baking Co., Ridgefield, N.J. Brandon Heiser, Roskam, and Scott Carpenter, Savor Street Foods, Reading, Pa., share their experience and insight along with an update on trends in the snack sector.
Two additional panels provide insight on doing business in bakeries in Latin America and the E.U. Juan Carlos Paiz, PaniFresh, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Enrique Viquez, Musmanni, San José, Costa Rica; Alejandro Molano Parra, Productos Ramo; and Alberto Hormaechea, Carozzi; are presenting as part of the Latin American Baking Industry Panel. Jonathan Warburton, Warburtons, and Jesper Albertsen, Lantmännen-Unibake, are presenting their unique experiences as members of the European Baking Industry panel. Jonathan Warburton also will address BEMA members and their families as the keynote speaker at the BEMA Family Breakfast on June 25.
The Baking Industry Forum (BIF), a group of bakers and suppliers that comes together to address industry issues, will present information on the Food Safety and Modernization Act and help BEMA members understand how it will impact their customers when it takes effect this September.Attendees may learn more about the meeting and register at www.bema.org.