The event, organised by the Association of Bakery Ingredient Manufactures (ABIM), will examine sustainability issues in the environmental, social and economic sectors. According to ABIM executive secretary Anne Boyd, the half-day conference - Building a Sustainable Bakery Industry - is designed to help the industry become more competitive in the context of today's market demands. The event, which is open to all industry members free of charge, will involve a networking lunch followed by a number of presentations. The skills challenge "If the industry is to maintain its competitiveness, we need a skilled workforce," Boyd told BakeryAndSnacks.com. "Our conference will look at various opportunities towards improving skills in the industry." Speakers on this topic will include Matthew May, from the Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees. May will examine the perspective of bakery students and trainees, as well as the industry's future needs for education and training. In addition, Derek Williams, development director of Improve, a food industry skills body, will discuss the current skills challenges and opportunities for the bakery industry, and what can the industry do to address skills gaps. Healthy consumer The event will also provide an overview of the consumer trends and demands currently affecting the bakery industry. Ed Garner, from market research firm TNS, will discuss how many UK consumers are making conscious health choices and what are they are buying. He will also provide insights on what the future might hold for the bakery industry. Indeed, the trend for healthy and functional bakery products is expected to continue to dominate the bakery market this year, resulting in yet still more space for innovation in this area, according to a recent report from another market researcher. Euromonitor's report 'Bakery Products: top trends for 2008 and beyond', indicates that consumers of all ages will continue to lean towards bakery products they view as healthy or nutritious, driven by governmental pressure to eat well along with a growing obsession with body image. One of the priorities for manufacturers of bakery ingredients and finished goods is therefore to tailor their products to meet this consumer demand for products that both boost their nutritional input and flatter their vanity. Reformulation In light of the greater move towards health, industry is also faced with the need to reformulate products, in order to meet new government initiatives to cut salt, fat and sugar from processed foods. The UK Food Standards Agency's Alette Addison will speak to attendees about the current reformulation challenges in the European and UK policy contexts. She will also discuss what can be expected on the horizon, and how industry can respond. Environmental sustainability Another issue to be examined is environmental sustainability. Dr Wayne Martindale, from the Food Innovation Centre at Sheffield Hallam University will discuss the challenges and opportunities for environmentally sustainable and innovative business in the bakery sector. More info The event will take place on 6 June 2008 at the Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel, Bolton Abbey, Skipton. Registrations close 22 May 2008.