CHICAGO — During the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech 2019, held Feb. 24-26 in Chicago, the association gave attendees a glimpse into the future through a series of keynote presentations and educational sessions.

Keynote speaker Morgaine Gaye, Ph.D. and food futurologist, led attendees through a presentation on cutting-edge trends that have been shaped by macro-level societal shifts and discussed tactics for creating products based on these developments.

Tom Gumpel, founder and chief executive officer of MDJ Baking, Inc. and former vice-president, bakery research and development for Panera Bread, also gave a keynote presentation, confronting the need for innovation in commercial baking. He advised attendees to look to independent bakers for inspiration. He also challenged bakers to educate themselves on baking processes and ingredients so they can clearly promote their products to consumers.


Taking BakingTech showgoers on an intergalactic ride, Sebastian Marcu, founder and c.e.o. of Bake In Space GmbH, outlined how his company is attempting to replace astronauts’ typical fare of canned goods, freeze-dried snacks with oven-baked bread and rolls.

A slew of education sessions helped industry members discover methods for tackling sustainability, food safety and packaging challenges.

Carole Widmayer, senior vice-president of sales and marketing for the Coffee Cherry Co. and Dan Kurzrock, co-founder of ReGrained, outlined how upcycled ingredients have a “triple bottom line.”  At another session, Robert Burgh, president, Nexcor Food Safety Technologies, explained how blockchain systems can aid food safety efforts. Craig Souser, chairman and c.e.o. of JLS Automation, eased fears about robotics at his talk on automated packaging systems.


Per tradition, the A.S.B. honored members of the industry during the Baking Hall of Fame ceremony. Celebrated for their dedication to the industry, this year’s inductees included Arthur Trausch Sr., Arthur Trausch Jr., and Arlen Don Lummus. In addition, Theresa Cogswell, past chairman of the A.S.B. and industry mentor, received the Robert A. Fischer Distinguished Service Award that recognizes the outstanding service and leadership an individual has contributed to the A.S.B.

All three days of the conference ended with MarketPlace Table Tops. Nearly 175 suppliers were present to discuss equipment, ingredients, staffing services, software and more.


The event concluded with the Changing of the Guard. Paul Rainey, director of manufacturing support and integration, Flowers Foods, passed his A.S.B. chairman title to John Mulloy, vice-president of operations at 151 Foods, while Jay Hardy, national sales director, was named BakingTech 2020 program chair.