Joseph Street reports on the work of the AIBI and plans for this year’s congress in Manchester in May.

The Association Internationale de la Boulangerie Industrielle (AIBI) – also known as the International Association of Plant Bakers – was founded in Paris in 1956.

Based in Brussels, the association works with other European bakery supply chain associations and has a key task of representing its members’ interests, especially to European institutions (EU Commission, European Council and European Parliament).

An important part of AIBI’s work is the promotion of the baking industry, and the highlight of this activity is the biennial congress. For the first time since 1993, the congress will this year be held in the UK, in Manchester.

Attendance is not restricted to members of AIBI, but is open to all bakers and supply chain partners.

This year’s congress will be hosted by Cyrille Filott, global strategist for consumer foods at food and agribusiness bank Rabobank, and the importance of the event is reflected in the prestigious line-up of speakers:

  • Jonathan Warburton, overseer of Warburtons’ transition from a local family business to the UK’s leading bakery brand
  • Sir John Timpson, chairman of Timpson’s, the 900-store shoe repair and key cutting chain, and a weekly columnist in the Daily Telegraph, who will share how his radical management thinking can benefit the bakery sector
  • Robb MacKie, president and CEO of the American Bakers Association (ABA) will give an update on the latest trends in the US
  • Sebastian Marcu – founder of Bake in Space, which seeks to address the challenges relating to the production of fresh food in space
  • Jimmy Griffin, head of a four-generation Irish family business and coach of the Ireland team, which won gold in the European Bakery Championships.

Panel discussions will enable audience participation, making this year’s event an opportunity for the whole industry – large and small bakers right through to the supply chain, including millers and ingredients manufacturers – to network and discuss the key issues facing bakery.

During the congress, there will also be an interesting and varied delegate partner programme, in addition to three evening events culminating in the gala dinner at the acclaimed Gorton Monastery.

Manchester has a rich industrial heritage, including the food industry, and we look forward to welcoming delegates from the UK, Europe and the US.