Attendees at BEMA’s Winter Summit, March 3 and 4, at the Marriott Downtown in Chicago, came away with plenty of baking information, industry research, association history and insight into new trends. Marjorie Toxel Hellmer, president of Cypress Research Associates, along with Dave Hipenbacker, director of network strategy and project engineering at the Kroger Co., summarized the results of a survey about the future of commercial bakery equipment conduced in late 2011/early 2012. Toxel Hellmer stated, “The survey revealed a great deal of parity between baker and supplier perceptions of the value of implementing 25 proposed equipment innovations.
In 17 of the 25 cases, there were no statistically significant differences between how bakers and suppliers valued the equipment solutions.”

A Trends in Baking panel discussed things like the gluten-free “trend” being more of a disease for the millions of people with Celiac while consumer and institutional demand for healthier product profiles for crusts is having a significant impact on growth areas for AK Crust. Food safety was also on the agenda, as Keith Sammons of Franz’s Bakery presented information on Franz’s newest bakery built with sanitation and safety in mind.

Beth Z, Saturday’s business IQ speaker, guided attendees to a wealth of inexpensive online tools and applications that can help them run their business effectively and make life on the road easier.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement award winner is Don Ivey of Burford Corp. Ivey was recognized on Sunday, March 4, as this year’s recipient. He was known as “Mr. BEMA,” and dedicated himself to making things happen for the association. Ivey was officially presented the award in December at Burford’s holiday party.