Baking Management’s 2010 influential 20
Recognizing the men and women who impacted the baking industry this year.
Corn Refiners Association, President
Consumers spent 2010 creating a ruckus about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and as president of the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), Audrae Erickson found herself front and center in the sweetener debate.
The CRA launched a major effort to educate consumers about the true nature of HFCS and petitioned the FDA to change the sweetener’s name to the more accurate corn sugar. Erickson argues that bakeries should push back against consumer pressure. “Baking brands that have switched from HFCS to sugar have faced significant cost increases in ingredients and other manufacturing process areas,” she points out, “yet sales data show that these reformulations have failed to influence consumer purchasing decisions.” The CRA’s efforts may be paying off: the government has made no move to review the sweetener’s role, indicating it does not buy into the consumer vilification of HFCS.
American Bakers Association, President and C.E.O.
Robb MacKie, president and C.E.O., American Bakers Association (ABA), is a known leader in Washington, D.C., where he advocates for the baking industry and its interests. In light of impending changes to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Food Guide Pyramid, MacKie and the ABA most recently helped to create unified grain chain nutrition policy recommendations, based on sound science, to protect whole grains and enriched grains as the base of a healthy lifestyle. “Two years ago, ABA defined success as keeping onerous government regulation at bay. By and large, ABA has succeeded in those efforts,” he says.
Dunbar Systems, Founder and C.E.O.
With almost half a century spent supplying equipment to bakeries, George Dunbar is a man who truly understands the needs of the baking community. And although he admits 2011 will see him passing more responsibility to his sons, he’s still keeping an eye on the future of the industry.
“The challenges of the future are improving product quality for both baked products and equipment,” he explains. “We also must continue to supply more energy-efficient equipment while reducing labor. As always, our mission is to assist our customers in achieving their vision by providing premier system solutions for their production needs.”
Caravan Ingredients, C.E.O.
When Bill McGowan joined Caravan Ingredients, Lenexa, Kan., in July as its new C.E.O., he brought with him the requisite decades of food processing experience, management expertise and industry insight. But although his gleaming resume sounds like the work of just another company man, it’s his most recent position that makes McGowan one of the most informed C.E.O.s in the baking industry. His time as C.O.O. of Feeding America, the nation’s biggest non-profit hunger relief organization, gives him rare insight, enabling him to see beyond accounting spreadsheets and productivity reports. “I saw firsthand the challenges many face just to get basic nutrition,” he explains. “This country is fortunate that baking industry plays a significant role in the U.S. diet, and Caravan Ingredients is no exception. Our vision is to improve the quality and sustainability of life.”
Independent Bakers Association, President
Nick Pyle serves as president of the Independent Bakers Association (IBA), a Washington, D.C. -based national trade association of more than 400 mostly family-owned wholesale bakeries and allied industry trades. Pyle has a finger on the pulse of the baking industry’s interests in Washington, and acts as an industry organizer to effect change. “This past summer and fall we actively pursued a below-cost selling/predatory pricing action against two major national bakers,” Pyle says. “Before we could take action with the FTC, the practice of heavy retail discounting stopped and prices stabilized in several markets. Clearly, the fact we were collecting data in the marketplace speaking about an unfair trade practices action caused these two bad actors to stop selling bread and rolls below cost.”
Oldways (Whole Grains Council), Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies
Cynthia Harriman has likely affected millions of consumers’ food purchasing habits— yet they have no idea. Under Harriman’s leadership, the Whole Grains Council introduced its Whole Grain Stamp program more than five years ago, and the graphic is now present on more than 4,500 products in 21 countries. Harriman works to benefit both consumers and bakeries, ensuring the former are sufficiently educated on the importance of whole grains that a robust market exists for the latter. Her hard work will likely be validated early next year with the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which many expect to contain the most aggressive promotion of whole grains yet seen in the governmental report.
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