January 2012/Prepared Foods -- One of the great things in life is constant change, but you need not look far for a foundation of stability and familiarity. Digital media offers ever more efficient and inexpensive methods of communications, yet Prepared Foods in print (originally Canner/Packer) is entering its 117th year as strong as ever. Virtual trade shows have risen in popularity, yet in-person events remain in demand. For example, the recent 2011 Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) boasted a 20% increase in pre-registration and 19% increase in first day registration over the previous FiE event. The main complaint was “too crowded aisles.”

The supplier community has changed, with China entering the world market. Dennis Seisun, IMR International, notes that the presence of Chinese exhibitors at FiE continues to grow. However, he adds, “Concern about quality and safety of Chinese food ingredients has spawned a rapidly growing service sector to audit and test the quality of Chinese suppliers.” The need for reliable ingredient quality is unchanged and will eventually drive up the costs of economy suppliers wanting to compete in a global market.

My career is marked by change as well. I first worked in R&D for International Multifoods; the ownership of the processed meat line on which I worked has been changed to Oberto Sausage Company. I was then director of R&D/QC for Alex Foods, which became Don Miguel, which is now a joint venture between MegaMex Foods and Hormel Foods. I was then director QC/QA for Orval Kent Foods….whose ownership just changed to Reser’s Fine Foods.
My career then took a major shift, as I jumped to technology writing for Prepared Foods magazine…then became chief editor. Now, once again I’m changing direction: I’m leaving Prepared Foods to consult. (Or, as I put it, “to do other people’s work that they don’t have time to do.”) The foundation of editorial stability remains, however. Editors William (Billy) Roberts, Barbara Nessinger and now David Feder will “hold down the fort.” If David’s name sounds familiar, he’s a veteran in the publication industry, including Food Processing magazine.

I’ve never used this column for personal messages. However, permit me this one. To my father, David Dziuk. I love you and am proud of you. Thank you for your unwavering life-long confidence that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. 

Now to misquote the movie character Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story: “To the Future and Beyond.” pf