In a whirlwind of a convention, nearly 500 baking industry leaders participated in four jam-packed days of meetings, sessions, and networking events in Naples, FL from April 7-10, 2019. Here’s a quick look at what happened.
The bakery category continues to be a top driver of consumer grocery store trips, which is one of the findings from the exclusive report “Power of Bakery” which debuted at Convention. Produced in partnership with the Food Marketing Institute and sponsored by Corbion, ABA is certain this study is valuable to the baking and retail businesses.
The powerful customer segments of Millennials and Gen Y/Z have compelling perceptions of the bakery category. ABA unveiled the findings of the largest ever industry-wide consumer package goods survey done specifically in these generational brackets. Check it out.
The sessions focused on how the baking industry can prepare for the challenges of doing business in an evolving world: whether it’s consumer trends, regulatory changes, or technologies to help make our food supply chain safe. Convention attendees received updates on the following:
- ABA Business with Erin Sharp, Robb MacKie, Brian LeComte and Joe Turano
- Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) Update, Christine Cochran
- Kansas State University (KSU) Update, Gordon Smith
- ABA Policy Panel with Brad Alexander, Lee Sanders, Rasma Zvaners, Kelly Knowles, Mike Goscinski and Jack Detiveaux
Tackling an Evolving World
The sessions kicked off with the ATBI Breakfast featuring the dynamic Carey Lorhenz – the Navy’s first female fighter pilot. She encouraged attendees to be a catalyst for change, be tenacious, be committed to excellence, and be resilient.
Technologies for Growth and Food Safety
Taking a step beyond the Power of Bakery study, an expert customer panel took to the stage to discuss how the baking industry can partner with retail grocery, food service, and e-commerce segments to drive growth for all. That session capped off with an in-depth presentation on Blockchain – and why it could matter to the baking industry.
A Shifting Political Landscape
During the All Membership meeting, ABA’s Government Relations team held a discussion on how they tackle industry challenges through federal and state advocacy. They outlined ABA’s advantages while detailing the goals of ABA’s Member Policy groups: HR & Safety, Logistics, Food Technical Regulatory Affairs, Commodities and Agricultural Policy, and Energy & Environment.
Engaging in the Political Process
The American Bakers PAC, the nation’s largest food processing PAC, hosted former Speaker of the House John Boehner for the PAC Townhall discussion as well as the PAC Dinner. Mr. Boehner’s unique perspective on American politics gave PAC Contributors plenty to discuss.
ABA Convention Scope
Of course, pulling off a convention of this scope takes a big team – ABA staff, ABA’s Board and Executive Committee, and generous sponsors who help make it happen.
This year’s Convention provided an array of exciting networking and social events, including the annual Paul Abenante PEC Golf Tournament, the Tennis Tournament, and the always fun Farewell Party.