Our board comprises senior players specialised in the bakery and snack sectors around the world who will share their insights and expertise on a regular basis to keep our readers informed of the latest industry developments.
Director General, European Snacks Association (ESA)
Sebastian has been ESA’s lead since 2012, representing over 200 members from the manufacturing and supplying side as well as national trade associations in the European snacks industry. In his daily work he ensures that members’ interests are considered in the European policy-making process.
His main objective is the further understanding and promotion of the savoury snacks sector through collaboration with EU institutions, NGOs and media.
He also chairs FoodDrinkEurope’s (European FDF) Nutrition and Health Working Group, as well as the Food Taxation Taskforce.
“Working for the savoury snacks industry is a wonderful opportunity to help members in bringing products on the market that bring joy and fun to consumers all over the world,” Emig told BakeryandSnacks.
“Of course, it is a challenge to make policymakers, NGO and critical voices understand that snacks do provide only a very small amount of salt and fat and perfectly fit into a balanced and healthy diet. Therefore, we have written on our flags the motto of sensible snacking (you can find us for example on twitter regularly posting with the hashtag #sensiblesnacking).”
Business Director, Warburtons Gluten Free
Chris has worked in gluten free food area for over 30 years – when he first started, gluten free bread came in a tin! – establishing a number of businesses over that time.
He was one of the pioneers of Free From, founding Nutrition Point in 1997 and launching the original Dietary Specials range into UK retail. This business was acquired by Dr Schar in 2010.
He joined Warburtons in 2012 and is responsible for the continuing growth and development of the Warburtons Free From business initially with the Newburn Bakehouse brand then the Warburtons Gluten Free brand – which launched in January 2018.
His passion is providing really good quality baked products.
“When I look back on the journey I've been on over the last 30 odd years and see what’s available, we’ve come very far,” said Hook, noting there are still some really poor quality products on the market that don’t deliver from an eating and enjoyment proposition for consumers.
“I think it’s really important that we focus on delivering the best quality products no matter what they are. [The path to] really good bread is one of the perennial challenges. It has been a massive challenge trying to produce gluten-free bread that tastes as good as well as conventional bread. I think that’s an ongoing challenge. I’m passionate about is making sure that we do that.”
President & CEO of the American Bakers Association (ABA)
Robb has headed the ABA since 2006, acting as the baking industry’s chief advocate and spokesperson and overseeing all aspects of the administration and operations of the trade association representing the interests of nearly 800,000 skilled employees of the $153bn commercial baking industry.
He also serves as the co-chair of the Food and Beverage Issues Alliance, a facilitator of the food and beverage association CEOs forum, the vice-chair of the National Association of Manufacturers Council of Manufacturing Associations; and provides strategic guidance as a member of the Kansas State University Grain Sciences and Industry Advisory Committee.
According to MacKie, what makes the baking industry so unique is the people.
“These are the ultimate entrepreneurs and whether they’re a smaller family, independent company or some of our largest members, at their core is their entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.
“[The baking industry] is a low margin business, so they’re out there competing in the marketplace every single day. They’re creating new products, devising new ways to get to market. So, it really is about the people.”
Dirk Van Ham
Secretary General, Fedima
Dirk has more than 25 years of experience in the food and drinks industry, covering various roles at Danone, Scottish & Newcastle and Diageo, before joining Lobco, an Antwerp-based consultancy agency, in 2019 as managing partner.
In January 2020, he took up the Secretary General role for Fedima, the Federation of European Manufacturers and Suppliers of Ingredients to the Bakery, Confectionary and Patisseries Industries.
He is very committed to corporate social responsibility as president of Vinum et Spiritus, the Belgian trade association for wine and spirits, and was a former board member of STIVA, the Dutch foundation for responsible drinking.
“I would describe my leadership style as collaborative. It is important to focus on both facilitating and coaching, as well as challenging with positive intent and with an open mindset if needed,” Van Ham told this site.
“While I am new to the baking ingredients industry, I do see a lot of common ground with my previous field of expertise. Similar challenges arose around our license to operate and around sustainability, albeit at a different level. As such, from my perspective, I believe I can already add value by sharing my experience and ideas, but I do intend to become a Jedi-master on bakery ingredients soon. A hands-on approach to sharing my experience is very much part of my purpose in this role.”
Look out for the individual indepth interviews with each of our members.