Tortilla & Flatbread Panel – BEMA Convention

FoodTools hosted the Tortilla & Flatbread Panel discussion during the 2017 BEMA Convention in Southern California. Sergio Caballero moderated the conversation with representatives from two leading tortilla and flatbread manufacturers. Tom McCarthy, Chief Operating Officer for Aladdin Bakers, and German Chavez, Vice President of Manufacturing at Mission Foods, gave BEMA attendees an inside look at the current trends and future trajectory of the flatbread and tortilla industry.

Sergio Caballero of FoodTools | German Chavez of Mission Foods | Tom McCarthy of Aladdin Bakers

Consumers are focused on living healthier lifestyles, how do you play a role in this?

The leading trend in making food healthier is using more organic ingredients, and food manufacturers across the board are doing this. Changing and improving ingredients also leads to new and innovative flavors. Tom reported that “Aladdin is working closely with customers to develop and release unique product lines.”

How does product changeover impact your production line?

Tom from Aladdin Bakers said “When you are a smaller organization producing a lot of your own stuff, but also some private label products, changeover is a fact of life and can’t be avoided. We try to be quick and efficient because there’s not as much money in changeover as you might think!” German from Mission Foods answered “How much time do we spend on changeover? Too much time.” He added “We’re fortunate that we have 20 different plants and can run fully dedicated lines to minimize changeover time.”

How has the Food Safety Modernization Act impacted your business?

Both Aladdin Bakers and Mission Foods have created teams whose responsibility is to ensure that all lines and facilities are FSMA compliant. Tom mentioned that the new regulations have actually made Aladdin Bakers more efficient through the use of newer technologies. German acknowledged that Mission Foods is spending “a lot more money” because of the new regulations, but now they can validate that clean is clean. German also said “We need help from you, the equipment manufacturers. We need equipment that is easy to clean, easy to disassemble, and easy to put back together again.”

What is you biggest challenge? What keeps you up at night?

Both Tom and German agreed that employee safety is their number one concern. German said “We are constantly training our employees to make sure there are no injuries in the workplace.” Tom emphasized “Training is always being done. You cannot over train for worker safety!”

Sergio closed the panel by thanking both German and Tom for offering their insights and lightened the mood with a short film titled A Day In The Life Of Chip The Tortilla. Bakery equipment manufacturers take food safety serious, but now and then we gotta let loose and laugh a little! Enjoy!

A Day In The Life Of Chip The Tortilla

Produced by Chris ‘Tarzan’ Clemens


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