Business Briefs

The Independent Bakers Association (IBA) reported the passing of longtime IBA vice chairman Mort Pechter. During his career in the baking industry, Pechter served as president of the Harrison Baking Co. in Harrison, N.J., then later as chairman of the Pechter Baking Group. He served as an IBA vice chairman and chairman of the National Affairs Committee for many years. Most recently, he served as chairman of the IBA’s Smith-Shaus-Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund. An informal memorial tribute to Pechter will be held during IBA’s Winter Membership Meeting at The Breakers, Palm Beach, Fla. The memorial will take place Sunday, Feb. 13, in the Flagler Board Room at 4:00 p.m.
It goes to show that you just can’t keep a great man out of retirement. Irwin Steinberg, who had retired from the Addison, Texas-based Tortilla Industry Association after running it since its founding in 1990, will return as executive director and resume management of the association. Additionally, TIA announced that its management and operations headquarters have moved to 4287 Beltline Road, Addison, TX 75001. Call 972-418-0838 for more information.
Sen, Zell Miller (D.-Ga.), who spoke at last year’s Republican convention, will be the speaker at the American Bakers PAC dinner. That event is being held in conjunction with the American Bakers Association annual convention, which is scheduled for March 20-23 in Orlando, Fla. At the convention, Richard Teerlink, former chairman of Harley-Davidson will talk about creating an opening participative culture. A panel of industry experts will also address a number of issues ranging from environment and distribution issues to safety, human resource and food regulatory topics. Call 202-789-0300 to register.
The Canadian government has approved erythritol for use in certain foods, opening another growing market for Cargill’s Eridex erythritol, a no calorie, natural bulk sweetener produced by Cargill Food & Pharma Specialties-North America. The Canadian government approved six food uses for erythritol. Among them are use in low- or reduced-calorie beverages, dietetic cookies, soft candies, hard candies, chewing gum and as a tabletop sweetener. Erythritol is non-cariogenic and does not contribute to a spike in blood sugar levels once consumed.
The Food Products Division of National Starch and Chemical Co. has changed its name and identity. As of Jan. 1, the Food Products Division became known as National Starch Food Innovation. National Starch stresses that the new name continues to establish its reputation with its future direction. With more than 50 years of inventions benefiting the processed foods industry, the company is moving from producing only specialty starches into texture modification, natural and wholesome labeling and nutritional fortification, which includes “better-for-you” carbs. Additionally, National Starch has expanded with the construction of a state-of-the-art facility in Shanghai, China. The 73,000-sq.-ft. plant is producing specialty food starch ingredients from corn, tapioca, potatoes and rice and more.
Minneapolis-based Bemis Co., Inc., acquired majority ownership of Dixie Toga, one of the largest packaging companies in South America. Headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Dixie Toga recorded annual net sales in excess of $300 million in 2004. Bemis acquired the voting common stock and 43% of the outstanding, non-voting preferred stock of Dixie Toga for a total price of approximately $250 million. Bemis and Dixie Toga have operated a flexible packaging joint venture in Brazil since 1998. This venture, known as Itap/Bemis, represents about one third of Dixie Toga’s annual net sales. Bemis owns 45% of the joint venture and will account for it on an equity basis for the year 2004.
Wilmington, Del.-based Emulsion Technology, Inc., announces the death of their founder and president, William H. Knightly on Nov. 22, 2004. Knightly was considered one of the world’s leading experts in the field of surfactant chemistry and in the use of emulsifiers for the food industry. He had published more than 30 papers on the use of surfactants in foods and was granted eight patents relative to food emulsions. Most recently, Knightly’s patented emulsification technologies have been used in the complex reformulation work related to low-carbohydrate, extended shelf life, and the development of trans fat-free baked good products.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the signing of its 100th partner in the SmartWay Transport Partnership at the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) annual meeting. SmartWay is a national voluntary program developed by EPA and freight industry representatives to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution promoting cleaner, more efficient ground freight transportation. By 2012, the group aims to reduce as much as 33 million to 66 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and up to 200,000 tons of nitrogen oxides emissions annually. Visit for more info.
Canada-based Pizzey’s Milling, a supplier of flaxseed products, has opened an office and warehouse facility in Gurnee, Ill. Pizzey’s other facilities are in St. Joseph, Mo., Buffalo, N.Y., and Sylmar, Calif.
After binging over the holidays, are consumers resolving to return to low-carb dieting? In a random telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, conducted during the week of Jan. 10, the Cambridge, Mass.-based Opinion Dynamics Corp. found that 15% of respondents noted that they were on a low-carb regimen. That’s double the percentage in December and the highest number reported by the company since the survey began 15 months ago.