Technological innovation, international competition, fruition in the marketplace, sustainability and social media were all key trends at the Australian Society of Baking (ASB) national conference, held on the Gold Coast in May.
Spanning two days, the gathering was kick-started with an industry tour, which, as always, proved to be exciting and informative. The bus-tour visited five key baking facilities on the Gold Coast and Brisbane:
• Allied Mills Flour Mill at Tennyson: The group was given a comprehensive tour of the state-of-the-art mill, which uses the Bühler milling system from Switzerland;
• Wild Breads at Darra: Participants were given the rare opportunity to see inside the day-to-day operations of a medium-size bakery business with a special niche in artisan, organic and gluten-free bread. The company has also secured a slice of the very demanding, but lucrative, East Asian market;
• National Baking Industry Association (NBIA) training centre at Morningside: Visitors were taken for a guided tour of the brand new, purposed-built training facility and were treated to a scrumptious lunch prepared by the staff;
• Yatala Pie Shop at Yatala: The bus pulled into this iconic baking facility for a quick look at the products. Despite the freeway being re-routed years ago, the baking business is still doing a roaring trade and remains a popular tourist destination; and
• Flour Bakery (located inside Ferry Road Market) at Southport: Exceptionally well-presented gateaux, novelty pastries and artisan breads were nestled among specialist food retail outlets, including an artisan cheese retailer and an upmarket organic green grocers, which compliments Flour’s offering seamlessly.
On behalf of ASB, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank these businesses for giving their valuable time and sharing their knowledge with the tour participants. It was very inspiring for all on board the bus to be able to visit so many diverse baking businesses and appreciated the ‘niche’ they have created for their organisations.
At the conference, which was held at the Crowne Plaza, ASB committee members secured a number of outstanding speakers – and judging on feedback from attendees, the topics were relevant and well received.
To get the presentations underway, NBIA general manager Janet Blythman spoke on behalf of Terry Yuke, the winner of the 2013 Arthur Denison award. Terry had described his study tour to Europain, which underscored the high quality and commitment of Parisian bakers and pastry chefs. Jim Cross from Sandvik Process Systems then spoke about oven band technology, special innovation in maintenance and cleaning of steel band.
Following Jim, Brett Noy from Uncle Bobs Bakery took to the stage. As always, Brett spoke very passionately about his journey to the World Bakery Masters and the huge effort and time he put in to represent Australia in one of the most prestigious international baking competitions.
The help and support he received from Lesaffre and Puratos during his preparation in Europe was nothing short of remarkable. The key message from Brett was, in Europe, the baking industry firmly believes education is the key to its success.
Shar Moore also gave a rousing speech about how to start a successful businesses. Her persistent approach to continual personal and professional development, in the face of significant challenges, is inspirational – as are her plans to build an orphanage in Thailand for under-privileged girls.
Mike Whitton, who spoke about innovation and how to manage ideas to fruition in the marketplace, discussed the “stage gate funnel” and how it can support ideas to commercial products/services. He also explained how to select the best ideas, as well how to execute a project effectively.
David Lane from Integro then went on to discuss the hot topic of the moment; palm oil and how the industry can move forward in a sustainable manner. Finally, Russell Moore spoke about the power of social media in today’s business environment, and how mastering social media can be an extremely powerful tool.
Many thanks to those who kindly donated their time and knowledge. The October conference, to be held in Melbourne on October 29, 2014 will similarly cover a range of on-trend topics, including organic flour, salt and sugar reduction, global baking trends and social media.