The Independent Bakers Association (IBA) held its winter meeting in Boca Raton, Fla. last month.
Speakers covered a variety of topics pertinent to the wholesale baking industry, although much of the discussion focused on the current wheat supply/demand crisis that has significantly impacted bakers.
Commissioner Michael Dunn and economist David Kass of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) explained some of the fundamentals involved in futures trading. In addition, they described the current status of futures for wheat in comparison to historical data.
Jim Hess of Horizon Milling, Wayzata, Minn., countered the CFTC's viewpoint with his perspective as a supplier of wheat flour. Hess cited several reasons for the current crisis and suggested that bakers probably shouldn't expect to see any relief until September of this year.
Other topics of interest included Nancy Gaddy's presentation on bakery aisle trends. Gaddy, vice president, deli and bakery for Winn-Dixie Stores, Jacksonville, Fla., gave some staggering statistics on the percent increase in health and wellness claims that have appeared on products during the past year. Chief among these health and wellness claims are those pertaining to probiotics.
Discussion also focused on the political climate in this presidential election year. Robert Watson, Ph.D., professor of American studies at Lynn University, Boca Raton, provided insight on the possible outcome of the presidential election and cited many interesting historical facts on past U.S. presidents.
Participants look forward to IBA's 34th annual convention in Washington, D.C., June 18-20, 2008.