This is my third year as Chairman and has like the other two flown by, sadly as you are all aware we have been unable to undertake any of our usual activities. We had hoped to be able to hold our autumn conference, but once it became clear that we were unable to do so with any certainty we took swift and decisive action to mitigate any costs to the society and postponed the event until Autumn 2022.
At our AGM last year, I mentioned that we were investigating ways in which we could continue promote learning within the baking industry. One of the ways we looked at was via webinars. Immediately following our AGM we held our first webinar – Adam Cohen of ITS told us “how to do business better – now and after Covid!”
Following the success of our first webinar, we have managed to host a series of webinars during the course of the last year.
Our second was with Mintel, Emma Clifford outlined “How Covid-19 is changing the future of bread and baked goods”
We then had two webinars provided by Synergy Flavours, Adam Byrne, gave a presentation on “Reformulating bakery products to reduce calories”. This was followed by Natalie Sheil presenting “Key drivers for Vegan growth.”
Our 5th webinar was from John Ruddock, of Cooplands who shared some of “the key lessons learnt from the pandemic and how this has shaped their plans for the future.” and then Jane Tyler of Cybake walked us through the “the changing landscape of IT in the bakery sector, including a look at the application of artificial intelligence.”
Our final webinar was in September when Fraser Tait of Food Tech Systems gave us useful guidance on the Natasha’s Law & Allergen Labelling Update that came into effect last Friday.
However I am pleased to say that we are pushing ahead with plans for our Spring Conference which will be held at the Tythe Barn near Bicester in April next year. I am really looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible there.
The conferences were not the only casualty of the pandemic, sadly we were unable to hold our annual golf day this year. Keith Houliston is well underway with plans to bounce back in 2022. Thank you Keith.
Predictably I have been unable to represent the society at any of the usual bakery events. Although we have maintained our links with different organisations through invitations to our webinars.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our supporters, you will have seen their logos being displayed ahead of the proceedings today. The BSB is a not for profit organisation dedicated to promoting learning within the baking industry. Their generosity is very much appreciated, and their support enables us to achieve this aim.
The committee has been working tirelessly in the background. We now have more regular but shorter meetings via Zoom. Going forward we will look to introduce a couple of face to face committee meetings each year.
Behind the scenes a lot of work has been going on. You may well have noticed changes to the website. This is very much a work in progress we are giving the website a makeover and bring it up to date. I would like to thank Natalie for taking this on.
One of the challenges facing the society has been succession planning. At one stage we were having to look at outsourcing our conference organisation. We have made significant steps forwards. We have recruited new committee members who have been very active in the Society and we now are back to organising webinars & conferences inhouse. Following this AGM we will welcome Daren Roots to the committee.
I am also pleased to say that the position of Chairman looks to be covered for the next few years.
We did have a set back with our plan for a replacement Treasurer, in that David Hall had to resign from the committee for personal reasons. I would like to thank David for the support and work he did for the BSB. I am pleased to say that later in the meeting we will be looking to appoint John Gelley as honorary treasurer.
Finally I would like to thank the committee for their support not just during the last year, but also over the last three years. We have faced some very challenging times, we have had to make some difficult decisions and at times we have had some robust discussions. But above all we have remained a well-functioning committee and going forward you can be assured that the BSB is in good hands.
5th October 2021