With the theme “The Art of Consistent Baking,” the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers’ Association (BCMA)’s 87th annual Technical Conference will draw cookie and cracker manufacturers from all over the world to Atlanta, GA, May 20-23.

Alberto Hoyos, president, cookies and crackers division, Grupo Nutresa, Medellin, Colombia, will present this year’s “State of the Industry” address, focusing on the global perspective of the cookie and cracker industry from Latin America. Keynote Speaker Oscar Garrison, division director, Georgia Department of Agriculture, will present “A State Perspective on the Food Safety Modernization Act.”

The conference also features sessions on topics such as continuous mixing, continuous laytime, process control, coatings and enrobing, food safety, gluten-free products, sodium reduction and employee engagement. “In the enrobing session, I will be paired with a manufacturer of compound coating products,” said BCMA Technical Adviser Dennis Loalbo. “My discussion will focus on the basics of formulating, mixing and application of compound coating coupled with the attributes and application of compound coating products. The combined enrobing and compound coating presentations will be an excellent complement to each other.”

As part of BCMA’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, it has added a fourth track on sustainable issues this year, covering topics such as oven heat exhaust recovery, cost savings in compressed air systems and sustainable funding. There will also be a single “Ask the Expert” Production Panel; where participants engage industry veterans with challenging questions; a tabletop exhibition specifically focused on the cookie and cracker industry; and a special reception for women in the industry.

“From when I attended my first Technical Conference in 1985, I have seen the cross-sectional growth of the conference whereby associates from all areas of the business learn and network,” said Cynthia Maksym, director, research and development, Bremner Food Group Canada Ltd., Toronto, ON, and member of the BCMA Education Committee.

“In recent years, the increase in international representation as well as women in the industry brings a new avenue for technical, business and personal growth,” she continued. “I personally enjoy my work with the Education Committee knowing that the work done by the committee through the conference, webinar and continuing education will help those in various technical areas new to the business develop their careers.”

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour Cavanna Packaging USA, Inc., Duluth, GA, on the last day of the conference. The 21,000-sq-ft facility opened this past October and includes space for engineering, manufacturing, and parts and service support.

“We will give participants a look at a variety of innovative packaging equipment in various stages of manufacture and operation, and answer questions concerning operation, functionality, performance parameters, sanitary design and overall sustainable impact,” said Charles Haley, managing director, Cavanna Packaging USA.

BCMA offers educational programs throughout the year in addition to its annual Technical Conference and convention events. “BCMA is a not only a great social network for our industry, but is the premier place for the educational focus of the cookie and cracker industry," Mr. Loalbo said. "Not only does it have its existing programs like the Correspondence Course and Entry Level Training Program, but it is adding more programs. With its high level of interaction with the student, it is a better and better resource for our industry. The BCMA adds more value, particularly when training is such a big issue for bakeries in the industry.”

For more information, go towww.thebcma.org or contact Kerry Kurowski at (443) 545-1645 orkkurowski@thebcma.org.