A busy summer brings plenty of baking and snack activities, says Editor-in-Chief Lauren R. Hartman. Take a load off and flip through this issue to find out what the baking and snack industries have up their smocks. 

Ahh, summer. It’s so fleeting, and it’s hard to believe that it’s August already. After completing our two-issue State of the Industry reports on baking (June 2011) and snacks (July 2011), we’re coming down to earth and going back to our regular feature format. This month, we’re presenting Ruiz Foods, a Dinuba, Calif., manufacturer that processes more than 200 retail and foodservice items in three facilities. No small feat.

Ruiz is a powerhouse on the West coast, boasting an estimated $450 million in sales. So successful is this third-generation, family-owned company that it’s launching a host of snack products and starting up new packaging lines.  

We take a look at how Ruiz does it all, and manages to keep pace with its customers through a view of its 260,000-sq.-ft. plant.

We’re also featuring our semi-annualTortilla Trends supplement in this issue, filled with important new tortilla product developments, trends, takes on the industry and consumer demands from some of the industry’s key manufacturers. The special report also includes a rundown of the most current details about this year’s TIA Convention, Sept. 12-13 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Hosted by the Tortilla Industry Association (TIA), Arlington, Va., the TIA Convention is expected to be a hit, as it is the most important event for tortilla and flatbread manufacturers, producers, suppliers, consumers and others involved in this growing industry. The TIA Convention will spotlight equipment, materials, ingredients, packaging and services all in one place.

The conference registration includes educational sessions, lunches, a welcome reception, an entertainment banquet and entrance into the exhibit hall. Additional tickets may be purchased for guests, the welcome reception, the entertainment banquet and golf during the registration process.

Speaking of Las Vegas, I am incredibly familiar with all things Pack Expo, and this year’s show, also held in Las Vegas Sept. 26-28, again promises to meet everyone’s expectations in terms of new packaging technology, machinery, materials, design and more. I covered this huge packaging show top to bottom during my 27 years as an editor atPackaging Digest, so I can safely say that it is probably the most important show in North American manufacturing, if not one of the most important in the world. It boasts 1,600 exhibitors, more than 25,000 attendees, an enhanced conference program hosted by key industry professionals, dedicated specialty pavilions and plenty of state-of-the-art equipment and systems around.

This year’s Pack Expo is especially significant, as PMMI, Reston, Va., is partnering with the Snack Food Association, Arlington, Va., to launch a baking and snack break lounge, an industry-specific meeting place for the baking and snack industry professionals to connect with suppliers and partners. Kliklok-Woodman, Decatur, Mich., will be its first corporate sponsor. So be sure to check out our action-packed Pack Expo Show Guide in this issue.

If that’s not enough, take a look at our special issue 2011 Hot Products Guide, filled with a variety of new finished products, equipment and ingredients to whet your appetite for the months ahead. And that’s just for starters, not to mention an artisan bread update in our Market Trends section and hot topics from our columnists.

So enjoy a bit of summer reading here, and don’t forget to contact me at hartmanl@bnpmedia.com to keep us posted on breaking news.