From ABA President & CEO Robb MacKie:
The recent editorial in Milling and Baking News regarding declining sales of bread and rolls has certainly grabbed the attention of the baking industry. While one can argue as to the exact extent to which sales have softened, it is clear from conversations with bakers and millers that they are soft. What also is clear is figuring out what is driving consumer behavior is more challenging than ever.
A case in point is the data from recent earnings statements of traditional baking industry customers such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Kroger and Safeway; newer players such as Dollar General; and high-end outlets such as Whole Foods and Bristol Farms. The data is no less confusing on the foodservice side. Pooling all of this data and making sense of it has become extremely challenging.
To assist the industry in sorting out the data and more importantly help develop successful strategies to appeal to a very segmented and dichotomous consumer environment, the ABA Convention will feature several key experts. Recognized consumer analyst Todd Hale of Nielsen will present the results of extensive research from across multiple outlets into what is driving consumer purchasing decisions on grain foods. He will be joined in a panel discussion by key retailers providing their perspectives on the results and strategies. David Orgel of Supermarket News will direct the conversation to allow ABA Convention attendees to walk out with valuable insights to take back to their companies.
ABA also is particularly fortunate to have one of the top experts in the world on in-store product placement and promotion joining us for the meeting. Robert Hill, chairman of Acosta, will share his expertise with the industry in a can’t-miss business session.
While I can’t guarantee immediate solutions to address the soft marketplace, I can guarantee that ABA Convention attendees will leave Arizona with a wealth of actionable information.