BEMA held its Convention June 26-30, 2017 at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California, hosting an increasing number of attendees and breaking attendance records for the third year in a row. The attendees benefitted from valuable business sessions including customer panels and BEMA Connect. The customer panels included bakers representing the Canadian baking industry, as well as bakers in the tortilla, flatbread, and organic markets and a case study from Clif Bar. BIF (The Baking Industry Forum) led a demonstration on “What is Clean” to illustrate the every-day issues bakers face for food safety. The panels and presentations were designed to provide customer insight for attendees and nurture the supplier/customer relationship.

In its third year, BEMA Connect, a business “speed dating” concept, has become a significant part of BEMA’s Convention. Sponsored by J&K Ingredients and Sosland Publishing, BEMA Connect gives BEMA members the chance to meet one-on-one in 15-minute sessions with bakers in attendance at the Convention. There were numerous other opportunities to network and connect including several evening networking events, a golf tournament, and group tours.

BEMA’s 2017 Convention also served as a launching point for its year-long 100th anniversary celebration. Allen Wright, BEMA chairman, hosted a “reverse black tie” gala for his chairman’s dinner. For a donation to CROP Hunger Walk, a hunger relief organization supported by industry members, attendees were invited dress casually for the party. Don Osborne, incoming chairman for 2017-2018 year announced the many ways BEMA will celebrate its anniversary in the coming year including more opportunities to give back.