TIA Convention
The convention's session topics were chosen from survey responses from TIA members.

PALM SPRINGS, CALIF. — It’s a fresh, golden year for the Tortilla Industry Association (TIA) as it cooks up its annual convention in California and welcomes seven new companies as exhibitors. This year’s event, held June 1-2 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, Palm Springs, Calif., strives to give tortilla producers and suppliers networking opportunities and the latest information about tortilla products, services and technology.

Jim Kabbani, chief executive officer of TIA, emphasized the value of meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends at this annual event.

“TIA, because it’s relatively small — 500 to 600 attendees — and because of the nature of the Latino culture, feels more like a reunion than just a normal convention or trade show. It’s a nice atmosphere, and we all look forward to that.”

TIA members will return to California to discuss the news and trends of the industry.

By moving the location each year, TIA gives members the chance to visit other parts of the country and limits the expense and time commitment for some. Notably, southern California contains a large percentage of the country’s tortilla manufacturers, Mr. Kabbani said.

In the future, TIA plans to rotate among Las Vegas, Southern California and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

This year’s destination, the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, was chosen because TIA was able to negotiate the room rate down from about $300 a night to $159 a night.

“We felt it would make it possible for (attendees) to give themselves and their families a nice resort experience for a moderate price,” Mr. Kabbani said.

When looking for a place to hold the convention, TIA also checks the hall’s size for the trade show, food quality and golf course for the annual tournament.

The TIA Golf Tournament will take place on May 31 at 10:30 a.m., with the welcome reception kicking off the convention that evening. The two days that follow consist of educational sessions in the mornings, the trade show in the evenings and the annual banquet, which includes entertainment, food and TIA Awards, at 7 p.m. on June 1.

Session topics were chosen from survey responses from TIA members and will be taught by some of the most qualified speakers in the industry. Members indicated some recurring themes they wanted to hear about, including the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

“The rules from year to year are fine-tuned when new things are phased in, so there’s pretty much always a FSMA topic,” Mr. Kabbani said.

Another session at this year’s convention will cover forecasting commodity prices, also a theme consistently highlighted in the survey. Additional educational session topics will give TIA members insight into the latest trends of the tortilla industry, such as non-G.M.O. or gluten-free products.

For more information and to register for the convention, visit www.tortilla-info.com.