The National Association of Flour Distributors held its 89th annual convention in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico last month. The historically high commodities prices were the center of discussion during informal conversations among bakery distributors and during business sessions that featured an economist and commodities trend experts.
“We're under the highest flour price index in 60 years,” said speaker Alan Beaulieu, an economist from the Institute of Trend Research, Concord, N.H.
Speaker Scott Custard of Moving Parts, Omaha, Neb. offered three major factors that are driving commodity prices today. 1.) Global economic growth. “This has been the most rapid decade of growth on record,” Custard said. 2.) Food crops being used for fuel. “In 2007, the United States harvested the largest corn crop in its history, and 20 percent of that is federally mandated for ethanol.” 3.) Record low value of the U.S. dollar. “The dollar is off by one-third since 2002 with more downside ahead,” he added.
The business sessions concluded with committee reports and the nominations and elections of the 2008 NAFD board. NAFD board members are from left: (first row) Erin Ruhl, George R. Ruhl & Son; Dominic Valente, Valente Yeast Co.; Ted Heim Jr., Inter-County Bakers; (second row) Gary Gardner, B.H. Gardner Co.; Alan Parker, Food Source International; Robert Olender, Dawn Food Products; John Olive, General Mills; (third row) Steve Tardella, Tardella Foods Inc.; Frank Stynes, Ventura Foods; Ernest Brehm Jr., Otto Brehm Inc.; Gerard Burns, Bono Burns Distributors; David Scruggs Sr., H.F. Scruggs Co.; (fourth row) Earl Koerner Jr., John E. Koerner & Co.; Philip Zilka Jr., Zilka & Co. Bakery Supplies; George Rodier, Puratos Corp. Not pictured are Scott Panton, Perkins Co. and NAFD president; and Ted Lentz, Lentz Milling Co.