View past opinions and commentary on issues affecting the baking industry.
What are suppliers hearing from bakers coping with the current economic climate?
President/CEO at BEMA, Baking Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds
Bakers are being hit from every direction. Their hourly labor and commodities costs continue to increase. They have more and more audit requirements. A few years ago when commodity prices exploded, bakers did all they could to reduce cost. But with this latest round of cost increases, they realized they needed to do more to stay competitive and often that leads them further reduce cost through increased automation, reducing errors, reducing cleaning and reducing other cost. These cost reduction strategies are most often tied to equipment purchases.
We continue to hear the same request from the bakers, "Help me reduce my cost, be more efficient, reduce my downtime, reduce the change-over time, and make the equipment easier to maintain."
The clear message from the economy, the government and the baking community at large is, that the issues for the bakers are more long-term than short-term.
At this time, the school meals and marketing to children proposals are just that–proposals. The industry has written comments for the school meals to allow enriched grains their place in the programs. After all, the Dietary Guidelines state that half of your grains should be whole – not all of them – and schools are supposed to abide by the Guidelines. We are in the process of writing comments regarding the marketing to children (under the age of 17) proposal, which is due in mid-June. Again, we want to make sure that nutrient-rich, enriched grains can be marketed to children for the numerous nutritional benefits they provide."