The Independent Bakers Association’s (IBA) annual winter meeting was held Feb. 13-16 at the Breakers Resort, Palm Beach, Fla.
Commodity prices were of particular concern to attendees. Jim Hess, Horizon Milling, covered the state of the crop and factors affecting price, while Brian Stevenson, commodities consultant for B. Stevenson and Associates, discussed purchasing strategies. They concluded that while variables such as weather, acreage devoted to wheat and the price of corn are liable to make prices volatile, stronger wheat supplies make 2011 less gloomy than the “perfect storm” of 2008. “We can grow ourselves out of it, but it’s a combination of acreage and weather,” Hess said. “And it’s not just wheat on its own [determining price], it’s other grains–corn and soy. ”
Stevenson offered cautious optimism with a procurement strategy that suggested–controlling for weather and acreage–wheat prices were high at the moment and may be destined to go down. “It’s really time to get to pricing,” he said.