Anyone entering the 2012 meeting and food expo of the Institute of Food Technologists in Las Vegas was immediately struck by the energy pulsing through the gathering. Even as many food companies have struggled through difficult years, the vitality of food ingredient innovation appeared undiminished. By contrast, many educational sessions conducted as part of the I.F.T. featured sober topics dealing with the range of challenges facing the food industry today.

One that may resonate with baking had the provocative title, “Food processing and the dinosaur: Are their fates one and the same?” Focusing on the poor image of processed foods in 2012, the panel offered a reminder that bakers are not alone in struggling with a public badly misinformed about its products.

One speaker offered the view that the model layout of the center of supermarket stores, where processed foods mostly reside, has not changed in decades and this is not helping the cause. The observation is one most bakers would agree describes the fading look of the supermarket bread aisle.

The panelists unanimously agreed the food industry needs a clearer voice in communicating the healthfulness of its products to the public and debunking criticisms. This view was succinctly summarized by Jon Entine, a former television network producer specializing in health issues: “Attack back with science, facts and context. Relentlessly!”