ABA Convention
ABA Convention returns to an attendee favorite, The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ.

As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. Last year, the American Bakers Association (ABA) and Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers’ Association came together as one. This year they take the “Stronger Together” theme to the next level by promoting collaboration across the entire industry.

Over the past few months, ABA and industry leaders have been strategizing ways to better align the association’s objectives and resources with positive business outcomes. The theme that emerged — and the theme behind the 2018 ABA Convention — is “Innovate. Cultivate. Invigorate. Planting the seeds for growth.” The convention will be held April 14-18 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ.

Robb MacKie, ABA president and CEO, said the theme is intended to unite the industry and focus on one of the most important things to bakers: growing the industry and identifying strategies to compete in an environment that is changing at an increasing velocity. As he explained, these three words — innovate, cultivate and invigorate — can change the industry. Through innovation, companies can discover emerging ideas and trends that will shape the future. Through cultivation, bakers can lay the groundwork for strategies to promote products that enrich lives. And through invigoration, they can redefine how people think about baked foods.

Dick Cheney
Former vice-president Dick Cheney will keynote the American Bakers Political Action Committee Dinner during the 2018 ABA Convention. 
This year’s speaker lineup will shed light on how rapidly changing demographics are shifting values with which consumers approach food. They will also share insight on how bakers can better connect with these new consumer values. “Buzzwords today, especially with millennials, are ‘storytelling,’ ‘narrative’ and ‘source,’ just to name a few,” Mr. MacKie said. “The goal of the convention is to put these buzzwords at the center of the agenda and share how companies can leverage their history and characteristics to shape the narrative that consumers are demanding.”

Attendees will walk away from the convention equipped with insights from noted global innovation experts on why the industry is at the center of change and how to project growth, Mr. MacKie added. Additionally, attendees will get a fresh look at some very traditional bakery products that also could recapture the imagination and interest of consumers.

The convention kicks off with a state of the industry conversation with Mr. MacKie and Fred Penny, ABA chairman, and a review of the ABA Strategic Plan at the all member meeting on April 15. This will be followed by a NextGenBaker reception, new attendee reception and a welcome reception. At the ATBI Leadership Breakfast on April 16, Jonathan Warburton, chairman of the UK-based Warburtons Family Bakery, will give his keynote “Leading with Purpose and Passion.” The customer panel discussion, “Leveraging the Power of Bakery to Drive Growth,” later that day will be lead by Todd Hale, principal, Todd Hale, LLC. Other featured speakers include David Donnan, senior partner, food and beverage sector, with AT Kearney, Inc., Francisco Migoya, head chef of Modernist Cuisine and co-author of Modernist Bread, and Jim Stengel, global marketing officer, Procter & Gamble, and author of Unleashing the Innovators: How Mature Companies Find New Life with Startups and Grow.

The convention positions world experts in front of attendees to give them the mindset and tools to think about traditional products in fresh and unconventional ways and then harness that innovation and communicate that to their customers, Mr. MacKie said.

For more information on the convention and to register, visitwww.americanbakers.org.