Professionalism, camaraderie and optimism are consistent hallmarks of the annual meeting of the American Bakers Association, so perhaps it is no surprise that such a spirit prevailed at the well attended and successful gathering just completed in Phoenix. Still, stepping back and considering everything confronting the industry offers an important and different perspective.

The weak volume trends affecting baking and the diverse collection of causes contributing to this challenge were forthrightly addressed at the meeting and were very much on the minds of everyone in attendance. Major changes among the largest baking companies in the industry and uncertainty about the future could be the source of considerable additional anxiety.

Topping this list of issues was the need to approve a significant dues increase, necessitated in part by the loss of major members. That a positive tone and a true sense of unity could prevail at the A.B.A. meeting amid such difficulties is a testament to the leadership of the outgoing chairman, Allen L. Shiver, and the group’s capable staff, led by Robb MacKie. The upbeat attitude also reflects the optimism that is a constant of baking, as well as the unshakeable confidence of industry executives in the enduring goodness of its products.